This isn't the new year for me--that happened on Oct. 31--but it is the night of the annual changing of the calendars and what most people consider New Year's Eve. So for one of my last acts for the year 2010, I have made another short story submission. I will not be crossing my fingers until I hear back; I need them for typing.
Until dinner is ready, I intend to work on one of my current works-in-progress. And I promised Stef that I'd have her novel critiqued in time for our next Moxie meeting, so I also need to work on that.
It seems that in wrapping up my 2010, the focus is all on keeping promises I made, and continuing to make progress on things that need to move steadily forward. Looking ahead is appropriate for a year-change, but in working on things like the past-life memoir, it occurs to me that in order to move forward, I also have to look back.
Roby James and Vera Nazarian, thank you for making 2010 the year I was finally published.
All of my friends and loved ones--thank you for all your words, your ears, and your open minds and open hearts. 2010 was a year of great change for me--complete, profound, and life-affirming change. You walked through it with me in a state of grace, and I am humbled by your friendship.
If this was what 2010 was like, then in 2011, there should be nothing we cannot accomplish together.
Friday, December 31, 2010
This isn't the new year for me--that happened on Oct. 31--but it is the night of the annual changing of the calendars and what most people consider New Year's Eve. So for one of my last acts for the year 2010, I have made another short story submission. I will not be crossing my fingers until I hear back; I need them for typing.
Posted by KHurley at 5:43 PM
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Long time no post, I know. Usually, when it comes down to a choice between posting and writing on works in progress, I choose the writing. I have several thousand words written on one nonfiction book, have almost finished another, and could easily finish up a novella by January if I really set my mind to it. But as it happens, what I really need right now is a new short story or some flash fiction. Calling all muses....
It's been a busy few weeks on the non-writing front as well. Our dog has been to the vet twice in the last three weeks, for two different issues. First, she had an eye infection. Then she developed an infection in a salivary gland. This last visit, plus antibiotics, came to $90.00. Ouch. But we're just glad she's otherwise in good health, because it could have been something so much worse than a couple of infections, which are treatable. We're hugging our dog and counting our blessings.
I'm debating putting out a couple of my older short stories that I've published in mini book form for Pookatales Press as downloadable e-stories. I could post a teaser of the first part of a story, then offer the whole thing for download for a small fee via PayPal. This might just help pay for the vet bill. I also have a retold faerytale in novella form that I could offer that way as well. It's called "Name of Power," and is a fantasy romance retelling of "Rumplestiltskin," with a twist.
I haven't made a decision yet, but it's a thought....
Posted by KHurley at 3:20 AM
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
You never know what might happen next in this life; that's for sure. Just when you think it's as good as it's going to get....
We--and by "we" I mean the contributors to Warrior Wisewoman 3--are eligible to be nominated for the Nebula Award, voting to be done by SFWA members on the SFWA website. We've been asked for permission for our stories to be posted there for that purpose.
Win or no, it's an honor just to be considered.
Posted by KHurley at 12:40 PM
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Monday, November 08, 2010
I'm editing for a website, working on a past-life memoir, and nearly finished with the spiritual nonfiction project I've mentioned before. I've also been reading a lot of nonfiction, from books on how to write nonfiction proposals to books on how memory works and why we forget the things we forget. It all adds up to a lot of nonfiction.
I have to admit, there was a time when I thought I'd never write nonfiction. At that point, it held no interest for me. I fell into the first project gradually, one journal entry at a time, and before I knew it I found that I had amassed a lot of information on a subject that people might care about. It was one of those synergistic things where I wrote all the information regardless and didn't realize it could be a book until later.
The past-life memoir is different. I started out intending it to be read, so it reads a lot like a novel and not a dry recitation of history. Being an extremely ancient past life, it cannot be proven or disproven by me or anyone else, but despite my inability to prove it's true, I can't call it fiction. I've read one or two past-life memoirs written by other people, and they also read like fiction, especially the ones in which the person claims they used to be a person whom many people think didn't exist. I speak here of the book "Guenevere" by Laurel Phelan. Fascinating book, and a window into Guenevere's life that most people won't have ever considered. I'm also aware that there are biographies out there for lives lived so long ago that there is no way we can be sure the biographer got all the details right, as they had to reconstruct the story from history and archeology. But they all make fascinating reads, in any case.
Posted by KHurley at 4:02 PM
Sunday, October 31, 2010
Today is Samhain; that's Halloween to those who don't "do" Gaeilge (Gaelic). Enjoy the costumes and candy and fun; it should be a day for celebration. It's a sacred day to my ancestors. This is the equivalent of the New Year, a turning point and a day when, even now, people use the phrase "the veil is thin."
What does that mean, though? That on this day in particular, we're on the verge of something deeper, more powerful, more mysterious than most of us realize? That on this day, a whole new and magical realm of possibilities open up? I should say so, if this is a day when people truly allow themselves to dream, and perhaps to touch something elusive.
Blessed Samhain. Happy Halloween.
Posted by KHurley at 11:47 AM
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
I just put a link to Amazon through the cover picture on this blog. I'm not sure why I didn't think to do that before, but it's done now. If you click on the Warrior Wisewoman 3 pic, it will take you straight to the page on Amazon. Convenience is a beautiful thing.
Now I'm going to the dollar theater to see Eat, Pray, Love. I'm expecting a soul-feeding experience; we'll see how it stacks up.
Posted by KHurley at 5:27 PM
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
...use a dustmop. Apparently, I've discovered a new grieving response that I never had before. I've begun cleaning everything. My office floor, my kitchen, the spice rack, cabinets that I hadn't given more than a cursory glance at for several...well, for a long time. A beloved significant other told me once that in the absence of the ability to change larger events, I should change small things over which I really do have control. Like my spice rack, apparently.
My office still feels too empty right now without Moonshadow in it, so I'm not writing a lot yet--hence, the cleaning and my non-typical hanging out in the other parts of my house. I will get back to it as soon as I can. Right now, I'm still catching myself listening for the sounds he made as he navigated his way through the upstairs, and I'm still being careful where I step when the lights are out, as though I might trip over him.
Last night the dog was lying reluctantly on the rug in my office, while my daughter and I watched her watching something we couldn't see. Whatever she was looking at, she had the same alert posture that she always had when the cat was coming her way, and she was staring fixedly at the area between where she was lying and my office door. There was no spider on the floor or anything like that--we checked.
I think my dog sees cat ghosts. Would that not be ironically funny if my cat was actually now haunting my dog? Sort of poetic justice for the dog "invading" Moonshadow's home four years ago...and such a very cat thing to do.
Posted by KHurley at 1:25 AM
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Tomorrow I have to say goodbye to my beloved cat, who's been with me for 18 years. His health is failing and we've decided that it's time to let him go before he becomes completely miserable. I'll miss him more than I can say, and I'm writing this post now while I can still hold him, because after tomorrow, I'll probably be a basket case.
He's been there for almost every novel and short story I've written to date, either lying on the floor or a chair nearby, or sometimes on top of my desk next to my computer. I remember how interesting typing could be when he insisted on lying right in front of the monitor, his tail or paws draped down over the keyboard and him batting at my fingers as I tried to type. He's been such a fixture in my life as I grew into myself and became the person I am now, that I'm having trouble imagining life without him. Blessings, Moonshadow, and thank you so much for being my cat. Come haunt me whenever you like; I'll always be here.
Posted by KHurley at 3:45 PM
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thank you to Bruce and Laura of Rediscovered Books in Boise for a wonderful first book signing/book release party. (For those who weren't able to be there--it went very well, and I believe that most of the extra books ordered for the signing for both Val and me went out the door tonight.) I don't know how often an anthology author gets to do a book signing, especially for a print-on-demand book, so tonight meant a lot to me. Thank you for understanding how long I've waited for that moment.
Thanks also to Val, for being the awesome person you are and sharing your spotlight, and for mentioning the Moxie in your book dedication. And thanks as well to Stef, for all your helpful comments and support. Go Moxie, critique group extraordinaire.
Val, you surprised me when you talked about how much you liked my unpublished urban fantasy dragon story; I hadn't realized. Maybe I will have to submit it again, now.
I also wanted to say a heartfelt thank-you to everyone who showed up for this event, especially friends whom I hadn't seen in years. Your willingness to be there for Val and me speaks volumes about what friendship really means.
It was a great evening, and that's putting it too mildly.
Posted by KHurley at 10:34 PM
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Author Thom Rutledge talks about what he calls the myth of singularity, in which people believe that there is only one way to look at things. He points out that this narrow field of view is why we have so many wars and conflicts, when people assume that there is only one "right" way to view something, be that religion, politics or personal preferences. He also states his belief that human consciousness is multiple, not singular, in nature. This falls in with a question that I used to hear asked often years ago on a commercial aired during Saturday morning children's television programming: Why must we be one thing or another? Why can't we be one thing, and another?
This principle ties in with all facets of life, from our beliefs about the nature of the universe to our expectations of genre fiction. Interestingly enough, some of the authors who have succeeded beyond most people's highest expectations have been those whose work was originally so hard to classify, categorize, and stuff into a neat little box. These authors were not afraid to take risks, and they definitely weren't just writing to cater to current trends. These authors were often the ones who eventually went on to create their own wildly popular new genres and subgenres. They were the creators of the current trends. This goes beyond thinking outside the box. This is the process of bursting the box apart altogether.
Posted by KHurley at 10:40 PM
Monday, September 20, 2010
This Friday is the joint book release party for Val Roberts and me, at Rediscovered Books in Boise. Val will read from her science fiction romance, "Blade's Edge," and I will read a snippet from my short story, "The Truth One Sees" in Warrior Wisewoman 3. Activities kick off at 7 pm, and all are welcome.
As always, Amazon reviews of Warrior Wisewoman 3 are welcome. It's amazing how much difference a positive review can make, and it can really encourage people to try new authors and discover new favorites.
Posted by KHurley at 1:49 PM
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Long before I wrote for publication, I wrote for pleasure, for the sheer joy of it. I still write for the joy of it, but with the economy being what it is these days, there is always the pressure to hedge my bets, try to write to a market or the hope of a market. Yet I always come back to a certain truth--my truth. My truth is that if I don't care about something, I choose not to write about it. There are certain tropes and genres that I just don't care to write and never will, because they don't resonate with me. I have to feel my subject and engage with the material on an emotional and intuitive level, or the prose falls flat. While I'm sure this limits me in some respects, I find that it frees me in others. There is a great deal of freedom in the ability to choose what to write or not write, and not be bound by market trends.
I have heard of all sorts of trends in genre fiction to which I could try to write. Vampires, weres, steampunk, apocalyptic...you name it. But none of those work for me, really. I read some of them, but I don't write them.
My good friend and critique partner, Val, recently sent an amused comment to our Moxie group list: "Kathy, you write elfpunk! Who knew?" This was followed by a link to a definition of elfpunk as a subgenre.
So there you have it. Apparently, I write elfpunk. And if I ever actually did decide to write steampunk or apocalyptic, it would be bound to have Sidhe in it somewhere. It's just the way I roll, and there's a freedom in accepting that, too.
Posted by KHurley at 12:39 AM
Monday, September 06, 2010
I have the details of the joint book release party for Val and me.
It will be held on Sept. 24th at 7 pm, at Rediscovered Books on 8th Street in downtown Boise. We will both be signing books and reading a bit from our work, and who knows what other mayhem may ensue? If you're local or close by, stop in and see us!
Posted by KHurley at 12:28 PM
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
I've been reading online about spirit orb photos vs. dust mote photos. I've looked at dozens of pictures to see what was consistent about how dust motes look vs. spirit orbs. Recently, I was in my backyard on a still night, and just started taking pictures at random to see what, if anything, would appear. What I got was very interesting. For starters, yes, I used a digital camera and yes, I used a flash. When I first posted this, I'd thought I hadn't used one, but tonight when I went out to repeat the experiment, I found that without flash, nothing showed up at all--just blackness. There was light behind me coming from a porch light, but otherwise there actually wasn't much light coming from elsewhere. Note that I snapped these pictures in quick succession, one right after the other, so there is a progression.
In the first one, the orb appears very small and near the ground in the middle of the picture, just in the lower foreground of the picnic bench.
In the second picture, it has risen and moved to the left.
In the third, it appears much larger and has risen still higher and moved farther to the left.
There was no breeze, so that same object would not have been able to rise and move left, and then come closer to me, had it been just a dust mote. The reason I believe it is the same orb is because of its shape. This is more of an off-round shape, but far too regular to be a bug. (I looked at bug photos also.) That not-quite-round shape is fairly consistent in each of the pictures. This is not to say that just because it isn't perfectly round that it cannot be a dust mote, but the shape and the positioning makes me believe that this is the same one in all three pictures. Also an article I read states that dust motes tend to be perfect circles with no border. This is not a perfect circle and has an obvious border. It also seems to fit another orb criteria in that it is colored in the "cool" end of the spectrum. When we looked at these photos on magnification, it became apparent that the object was giving off its own light. It has a flaming blue aura around it as well as a ring of white inside that, and there are other colors in the middle. It looks a lot like a scientific picture of plasma that I also saw online.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding orbs and whether they're all dust or can all be explained away. I don't know exactly where I stand on this. I'm not so quick to just explain things away, but I also don't want to automatically assume that every orb is a spirit. So my pictures here may be, or may not be. I don't know for sure. I also have other photos of the same location at the same time frame in which there are no orbs whatsoever. Control shots, if you will.
Had there not been an obvious progression of the location of the orb, I'd have assumed it was just a dust mote. My husband and I have looked at numerous other pictures with known dust motes in them, and mine look decidedly different from that--especially when the magnification reveals more detail like the fiery blue aura around it. There was no moisture either; it was a hot, dry summer night near Boise, ID. However, I will leave you to draw your own conclusions about whether I have a beautiful dust mote picture, or whether I actually caught a picture of someone visiting me that night. If nothing else, we had fun, right?
Posted by KHurley at 2:39 PM
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Looks like our local indie bookstore, Rediscovered Books, is planning a joint book release party for my crit partner Val Roberts and me in September. Val's science fiction romance, "Blade's Edge" was released in ebook version last year and in print this July. So we're going to have a joint party and book-signing. More details to follow when I have them.
Rediscovered Books may well be the only bookstore in Idaho that is actually carrying physical copies of Warrior Wisewoman 3. Two of the first three copies they ordered sold in one miniature stampede on the night our local Speculative Fiction group had their meeting, so they've ordered more. As our friend Bruce told us, "It's good to be the store owner. You can do what you want." Especially when that includes stocking print-on-demand books, which some of the larger bookstores like Borders or Hastings can't even get at all. And as I discovered, an independent store owner can make certain other executive decisions, such as choosing to place a certain science fiction anthology right next to Jim Butcher's latest release on the endcap. Gotta love it.
Word of mouth, folks. And Amazon reviews--lots of them--from those who have read the anthology, always help!
I got my contributor's copy in the mail not too long ago, and after a day of having it sitting next to my computer on my desk, where I kept wanting to pick it up and look at it again, and again, and again...I finally had to go put it on the shelf so I'd stop messing with it and try to get some actual work done.
Posted by KHurley at 3:02 AM
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I'm hooked on the new book by Yasmine Galenorn, called "Night Myst". Her writing has really hit the sweet spot with this one, in terms of her execution (no, not her executions, although there are plenty of those in the plot.)
What I'm hooked on is the relationships between characters, especially the main pair, even though it's got (cough, cough) vampires in it, as too many books seem to have these days. And then she takes it a step further and puts vampiric fae in it, and as her characters even say in the book, that's just so...wrong! And yet, I'm deer in the headlights because her main character is great and I liked her from the get-go, her male lead rocks, even though he's one of the (groan) vampiric fae....
Yeah. Hooked, dang it.
Posted by KHurley at 10:41 PM
Thursday, August 05, 2010
I've had several people tell me they've been looking for Warrior Wisewoman 3 in their local bookstores lately. If it's not already, it should soon be available for your booksellers to order through Ingram. It just needs to finish propagating through all the systems. In the meantime, all the Amazon links are up and working, including the international ones. Barnes and Noble can also get it for you. Since it's a print-on-demand book, you'll need to order it from them online or ask them to order it in for you.
The only store I've spoken to who can't seem to get it is Borders, and apparently Borders can't get print-on-demand books at all, which is why the book doesn't show up in their system.
And thanks, every one of you who has been asking about this book. You (and your reviews of it, posted on Amazon and elsewhere) are what will make this book a wild success for all of us!
Posted by KHurley at 7:01 PM
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Here's the link to the final version of the full cover for Warrior Wisewoman 3.
We also have a link to the page it's on at Norilana Books. Any of your local book retailers should easily be able to order it for you, as they can get it directly through Ingram. Last I checked, Barnes and Noble.com has a functional order page for it, and it should be showing up soon at Amazon.
Posted by KHurley at 2:32 PM
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Five days left until Warrior Wisewoman 3 is released. I've seen the final proof that was to go to the printer, and I have to say that actually seeing my name in print is a bit surreal after all the years I've been waiting for this.
I still have a handful of other short stories that need homes, and I've just picked out the next venue for submission for one of them. The online magazine in question really liked one of my other stories and indicated that they had seriously considered buying it, so there's a very good chance they'll like this one and go for it. The next submission window opens in August, so I have to wait a little. In the meantime, I'm going into the mode of finishing up things that have been "almost done" for a while now.
In the meantime, I'm looking out the window at a very strange day. It can't seem to decide whether to rain or be hot and sunny, so it seems to be trying to split the difference. Every once in a while, thunder rolls out, alternating with a quick rain shower or the sun coming out from behind the clouds. The sky is an odd mix of blue and grey. Crows fly by periodically, cawing, pulling my attention back outside, back to the way the day just seems to be sitting there, waiting like the weather for a decisive move one way or the other.
I, too, need a decisive move. Time to get to work.
Posted by KHurley at 10:49 AM
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The bad news is that tires and brakes are expensive, but we already knew that. The good news is that there are two new tires on my car, so now only one out of the four is not new and it still has a decent amount of tread left. So half of the necessary maintenance has now been done on my car. It still needs a rear brake job, though, as soon as possible.
The nonfiction book project has spun off another nonfiction project--a serenity meditation CD. I'll have to do the background music myself; I can't afford to buy permissions or pay royalties to anyone for their music. I'll probably use my harp, Saiorse, as the main instrument, and add in soprano recorder and maybe even bass recorder and synthesizer where needed. After sampling all the possible sounds my synth has to offer, I have the following observation: the sound of a synthesized harp and the sound of a real wire-strung Celtic harp have no resemblance to each other whatsoever. If I can come up with some decent background melodies and we can use my real harp's voice, we might manage to put together a pretty nice meditation CD.
Lest it sound like I've gone all Zen and given up on my fiction, I promise that's not the case. Fiction is happening, too, and I'll keep at it. I'm just having to think more and more outside the box, these days.
Posted by KHurley at 1:03 AM
Tuesday, July 06, 2010
The link to the Publishers Weekly review in my previous post won't work anymore, because of course, that review is no longer on that page. Another week, another set of reviews. But for those who missed seeing it, it was a very nice review that basically stated that the series had "hit its stride" and that there were "a few standouts" and "no obvious clunkers." Always good to know....
It won't be long now; less than a month away from publication. In the meantime, I'm working on the novella, the nonfiction, and still sending out other stories. I have no idea why it seems like this summer is flying past me at full tilt, but it does seem that way. I turn around, blink twice, and another month has gone by. Life in the fast lane, I guess.
Posted by KHurley at 12:28 AM
Monday, June 28, 2010
Friday, June 25, 2010
I sent two more submissions out the door, one yesterday and one this evening. One was for a ten-year-old story, but it fit the guidelines for a certain anthology. The other was to a contest. So we'll see what happens with them.
I have a lot more to do, but at least some of the items on my writing to-do list can be crossed off this month.
Posted by KHurley at 9:02 PM
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
My desktop PC, which, while not technically the oldest computer in the house, is currently the one which has gone the longest without maintenance. I believe it's been with me for longer than the six years we've lived in this house, and by now it's begun to exhibit a few little quirks. The main USB port on the front of the machine doesn't work, so I've had to use a pigtail off the external USB hub for the last couple of years. It's slow, and in the last week it's taken to doing a weird thing; whenever it goes into hibernation mode, it refuses to wake up again when I return and move the mouse or touch the keyboard. The only way to wake it up again is with a hard reboot--not a good sign. So it needs the computer guru Huz to take it apart and see what's going on, plus give it a wipe and reinstall of the OS. So that means I had to save all my important data, and not just the writing backups I normally do.
Thanks to the 8-GIG thumb drive, I've transferred all my important data onto both of the laptops, but since found out that the little red one can't really take the place of my desktop PC, even temporarily. It may have several hours of battery life, but when it runs longer than two hours straight, it gets quite hot underneath. The larger laptop doesn't seem to have this problem, so it has been drafted to be my temporary desktop PC, while the little red one gets to be the grab-and-go mobile computer that it's meant to be.
The tires, however, are not as easily gotten around. Three of them are nearly bald, and the car needs a brake job.
In the midst of this happy chaos, the fridge decided to commit mortality and give up the ghost on Saturday morning. We got it reanimated that same day, but it wasn't cheap.
I say it's time for some major writing success.
Posted by KHurley at 1:33 PM
Saturday, June 12, 2010
I just finished reading a book called Writing to Change the World, by Mary Pipher. She writes about the fact that, no matter whether it's nonfiction or fiction, prose or poetry, music, blogs, or essays, the main motivation for many writers is to make some kind of change in the world. And given the circumstances facing all of us today, from gigantic oil spills to war and global warming, the world badly needs for its humans to make a change. Despite the sobering truths Ms. Pipher points out in her book, the message that shines forth from her pages is a message of hope. She reminds us that with our words, we can all make a difference.
It may start with an audience of only one person, then slowly grow to hundreds. Regardless of the size of its readership, every piece of writing that expresses the need for change while inspiring, educating, and reaching out to connect, is a piece of writing that has the potential to help all of us. In the process of writing about writing for change, Ms. Pipher has provided something that perfectly illustrates her subject. Her book inspires, teaches, and connects, as well as providing an experienced voice of encouragement for any writer who wants to help create something larger than himself. Centuries later, any given writer may have fallen into obscurity, but his words may have grown into a beacon left behind to help light the way for others. I can't remember which writer said the words, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world," but I will remember the words even after my last breath. Surely there isn't any better legacy than that.
Posted by KHurley at 12:22 AM
Friday, June 04, 2010
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Okay, I did it. I finished that new short story I mentioned before--the one that was sort of "Devil Wears Prada" meets Godzilla. Or maybe it was "Working Girl" meets Godzilla. (On Wall Street.) It's been through the gauntlet of my crit group, the Moxie, and come out looking great, so now it's time to pick a venue and start sending it out.
It felt good to create something new just for the enjoyment of it, just because I had a crazy-but-cool dream, just because I wanted to give it a whirl...just because. Yes, I have to try to sell it, but that wasn't what I was thinking as I wrote it. Like "The Truth One Sees," it's a bit different from my usual stuff. Different is good. The last time I tried something different, it sold. In any case, it was fun, and it felt amazing to have that kind of fun again. The last thing I finished was the faery tale novella at the end of January, so it was high time for a new story.
Posted by KHurley at 1:05 AM
Friday, May 28, 2010
You should have seen the salad we had for dinner tonight. It had fresh giant spinach, Oak Leaf lettuce and Four Seasons lettuce, lambs' quarters (that's a plant, not mutton), chive flowers, olives, garbonzo beans, feta cheese, and sliced pickled artichoke hearts. All the greens came out of my garden, from plants that volunteer-seeded themselves and just came up for the joy of it. I've still to actually plant the things I intend to plant for this year, though that will be done in the next few days, in between rainstorms. (Boise/Meridian this spring is looking more like Portland, with rain every few days. It's set a record already for the most rain in one day in our semi-arid desert area. I'm unabashedly loving it, for many reasons.)
I'm also sitting here looking at a huge pile of books on my desk, all of which have bookmarks in them. So it's like a big mixed book salad, and I'm trying to get through all of them as able. Titles: Yearning for the Wind; Writing Spirit; The Ghost Hunter's Survival Guide; The Faery Faith; Dreamdark: Blackbringer; Psychic Dreamwalking; A Celtic Odyssey; Channeling; and Ghost. And those are just the ones on my desk at the moment. There are more with bookmarks in them that are not on my desk.
And no, I do not have any trouble keeping track of where I am in any of them. I've always been able to read many books at once with no confusion whatsoever. An odd gift, but a useful one.
Posted by KHurley at 2:18 AM
Friday, May 21, 2010
Update: One of the short stories came back, so it will now go out to a different venue. I've chosen a new venue for the faery tale novella, and it needs to go out in the next couple of days. And one short story is still on submission. The magazine that just rejected the last short story wants to see something else, however. I don't have any more short stories right now; or maybe I do. I had an interesting dream last night that on waking, I remember thinking might make a decent urban fantasy short story. It had a premise and everything. There was this dragon rampaging in the middle of a city, and I swear it wasn't like Godzilla or the monster that ate Tokyo. Really. There was an additional component to the dream sequence that would lend itself well to urban fantasy, provided I can render it the right way. Guess I'll do an initial blurb tonight so I won't forget the important details.
Subconscious recall is amazing. When I started to write this post, I had forgotten the most pertinent details of the dream, and all I remembered was that I'd had a dream that I'd thought would work as a story. With no other details to aid recall, I just noted to myself that I wanted to remember that dream, and in less than two minutes, up it came into conscious memory. I want to practice that trick so I can do it more often, with things other than stories, plots, and characters. It'd be great to have that sort of recall for daily life purposes, too, but with me, it usually only works with fiction.
In other news, the new release date for Warrior Wisewoman 3 is August 1. Onward....
Posted by KHurley at 9:55 PM
Friday, May 14, 2010
I've been waiting for this day for a long time--the day when I can walk into a local department store and see all sorts of eco-friendly products presented in such a way that people might actually decide they're cool.
One of those items became my belated Mothers Day gift to myself. It's a 24-oz BPA-free hard plastic drink cup, designed just like a fast-food drink cup but reusable and able to go into the dishwasher. It comes with a screw-on lid and its own straw. If I had a dollar for every fast-food drink cup I've disposed of for the past five years.... In any case, I've been carrying my own nylon shopping bags into stores for quite some while now, and apparently some of the coffee shops like Moxie Java and Starbucks actually give you a small discount if you bring in your own cup. Looks like we're starting to move in the right direction!
Posted by KHurley at 1:28 AM
Friday, May 07, 2010
How many writers have thought about quitting at some point in their careers? I never thought I'd seriously consider it, but I did...however briefly. I'd just gotten rejected again, by a venue I had hoped would be my second fiction sale. I'd been told, and not for the first time, that an editor had liked my story, liked my writing style, liked my voice, but still decided not to buy it. I'd been doing some soul-searching. If my best fiction was good enough to gain attention from editors, if they had no helpful criticisms to offer, if they seriously waffled about something I wrote but then still decided not to buy, then what was the point in my continuing to try? How long could I live with the "missed it by that much" feeling? Maybe quitting would be letting myself off the hook. Maybe my ego needed a break. Maybe I wasn't one of the lucky ones, and no matter how good I was, maybe no one would ever want what I had to offer. Maybe.
But then I read a short story in a book lent me by one of my critique partners. Most of the stories in this book were dark or depressing, or disturbing on one level or another. This one in particular, the third in the collection, was not. It was a re-visioning of Cinderella, in which the girl was also a storyteller. After a long time of sharing her stories with a limited audience, of doing them just for her sisters, she dared write herself into her own tale. She clothed herself in magic and went to the ball to meet the prince, who quite naturally swept her off her feet. Later, however, in the harsh light of day, she began to doubt herself and began to believe that she wasn't worthy and could never be worthy. That was when he came for her, bringing the glass slipper she'd dropped, carefully reminding her that he needed her to finish the story, that without her, their story--the one they were telling together--could never be finished. It seems that, all the while, she herself was the faery who spun tales the world needed in order to heal, to dream, to believe.
It hit me like a sledgehammer right between the eyes. We are all storytellers in our own individual ways, and the world needs every one of us. How could I think that I could quit writing fiction--that my stories don't matter? This one story written by someone I had never even heard of before, hidden like a bright gem in a collection of other, darker tales, was the reminder I needed to give me a push back in the direction of my own tale. What if, what if, a story I write someday becomes that one story for someone else, like this one was for me? How could I think that I could step away and put down the pen and leave the responsibility to others? How could I think that I would be off the hook that easily? I have these gifts, these tales I've been given, for a reason. No matter what it takes, I have to stand up and be counted with the others. If I make a difference for even one person, I've still made a difference.
Thank you, Faery Godmother. I see that, now.
Posted by KHurley at 7:29 AM
Monday, May 03, 2010
I just read on a newsgroup posting that the first new, replacement shipment of Warrior Wisewoman 3 ARCs has now reached the publisher, so they can be sent out to reviewers. This is very good news. Onward....
My car is officially paid off as of later today. Five years, and it's finally ours. Given the current economic situation, this is also very good news. Every bit helps.
Posted by KHurley at 4:11 AM
Saturday, May 01, 2010
Today (or some other calender's equivalent) was known as Beltane to the ancient Irish. It was a seasonal festival, and coincided with the movement of cattle from the lowland pastures to the higher summer pastures. It was a time of feasting and celebration, of beginnings and endings. It was a time to share embers from the communal fire, and re-light all the fires in your home. And given all the connotations of the "lusty month of May," it seems more than one kind of fire might be lit. These and so many other folk customs of so many cultures have been all but forgotten by the modern world. And yet when we draw upon the pool of knowledge from our ancestors to fuel our imaginations and our stories, it is these old folk customs that we draw upon, often without fully remembering them or understanding their significance.
Thoughts to ponder on this May Day, when we consider that there are really no new stories, no new plots, no new concepts in the world. There are only fresh ways of looking at old tales and truths, and the illusion that we have come up with something original. In these modern days of rushing here and there, of getting caught up in the hustle and bustle we call life, we tend to forget where our most basic experiences and truths come from. We are all the jumped-up products of a much earlier model of existence--one that took its cues from the seasons and the land itself. If we take only one moment to ponder anything on this day of ancient celebration, maybe we should ponder whether even now there might be some inspiration we can take from our ancestors and their ways. Even in this fast-paced modern world, surely there is time to re-light the embers of inspiration and reaffirm our connection to whatever we hold sacred.
Posted by KHurley at 10:06 PM
Friday, April 23, 2010
There has been a delay in the production process for Warrior Wisewoman 3, so we will have a new release date. A shipment of ARCs was lost en route from the printer. So in order to allow reviewers a chance to do their jobs before the anthology comes out, we are now looking at a release date of July or August. Realistically, it will probably be August.
Things like this happen, unfortunately. We will persevere regardless, and I will post the new release date when I have it. Remember I mentioned yesterday that Mercury was in retrograde? There may actually be something to that....
Posted by KHurley at 7:43 PM
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Three unsold stories total. Two just went to the post office today. One got rejected tonight. Odd timing, that. It reminds me of the tarot card in the Robin Wood deck where Temperance is juggling three balls in the air at once, one foot on land and one in the water. In the game of publishing, you keep as many stories circulating at a time as you can, and hope one lands in a new home.
Posted by KHurley at 12:02 AM
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I've been trying to work on marketing for the anthology. I've contacted three review bloggers and will look for more after this weekend (which is booked with a prior commitment.) I've dropped off two copies of the arc cover art, complete with ISBN numbers, to the two main indie bookstores in our area, and I'll be scanning the internet and yellow pages next week for any more I might find. I'm going to check on how cheaply I can get postcards or bookmarks or something of that nature, so I can drop them in strategic places around town. And one of the local indie bookstores happens to be owned by friends of mine who want to throw some kind of release party or at least do a table display for the anthology, so things are looking great so far.
It would be nice if artists of various types still had patrons, like they did back in Shakespeare's day. But there seem to be no patrons nowadays, or else the role of patron has been assumed by all of the readers out there, looking for a break from everyday life and willing to be swept away by fiction. So if it takes marketing to reach those readers, then marketing is the order of the day.
Posted by KHurley at 10:59 PM
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I just went back and watched Merlin Season 1, Episode 7, Gates of Avalon, thanks to a heads-up from a friend who wondered what I thought of it. Dear one, I agree with you. Completely. This was a much longer rant, but I edited some of it out in favor of making my point a little more quickly.
Suffice it to say that even in folklore, fae of various ilk are not always the bad guys just by dint of being fae, any more than humans are all bad just by dint of being human. And yet, in so many TV shows and movies, people seem to use the same characters or races as villains time and again. It's the same problem I have with crows typically showing up in scenes with the bad guys, or heralding the arrival of same. What's with the stereotypes? Where's the original thinking? Just once I want to see the crows herald the arrival of the good guys--I dare someone to do this.
People have turned the vampire and werewolf stereotypes on their ears in plenty of TV and movies before now, and suddenly a whole bunch of people think vamps and weres are dead sexy (or in the case of vamps, sometimes dead and sexy.) I'd pay top dollar to see a movie with a human bad guy, a Sidhe hero and/or heroine who saves the day, and a whole flock of crows heralding the arrival of the Sidhe.
Posted by KHurley at 11:49 PM
Friday, April 09, 2010
I love it when that happens. I started writing last night, and then came out of writer's flow/time warp maybe three or so hours and 1400 words later. It felt as though it had only been maybe 45 minutes to an hour, at most, but there were all these words that hadn't been on the page before. Nice.
Posted by KHurley at 9:43 PM
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
I love the "Journey to Wild Divine: Wisdom Quest" game. It's been out for a number of years and I still love it just as much as I did when it first came out. I wish they'd make more like it. I played it for a few hours tonight, completely lost track of time, and was thrilled with my progress. Things I could not do very easily when I first tried to play the game back in 2007, I now can do in moments, even when it's a mixed energy event--which will make no sense to you if you've never played the game, so I guess I'd better explain, now that I've brought this up.
The game comes with a device that measures your heart rate, which of course changes according to your energy level, your breathing, etc. Finger sensors measure your physiological changes and the game responds accordingly. An energy event in the game is an exercise or task that requires you to either calm or raise your energy, and so a mixed energy event is when you must do those things alternately within the same exercise. When you first start out with the game, it can be difficult to manage the various exercises, depending on what your energy is like and how much control you have. The game includes instruction on breathing and meditation and all sorts of other things, and I'd heartily recommend it for anyone who's ever stressed out. Who knows--it might even help with writers' block, because it just loosens you up on several levels. It's amazing. (That, and the world and graphics they've created are simply visually stunning.) It's very fantasy-oriented, so of course I was already prepared to like it even before I actually tried it, at which point it proceeded to impress me like no other game has.
Posted by KHurley at 3:28 AM
Thursday, April 01, 2010
Proofs for Warrior Wisewoman III are here, and I've gone over mine. Very little needed correction--just one detail, in fact. So, for those who haven't gone through this process before, it might be helpful if I mention what a proof is.
The way I understand it--and I could be a little off base, as this is my first time--the proof is, basically, the equivalent of an ARC, or advanced reader copy. That, or maybe the proof is followed by the ARC, one of the two. It's a non-bound copy of the book as it (mostly) will appear once published, and it's here that we get our last chance to make any necessary corrections before the real thing is produced. This particular proof arrived in the form of a PDF file, and all I have to do to make corrections is send a separate email to my editor to let her know what needs to be done. Actually, I've already done that, so now I just need to verify that she received my email, and...poof! Magic can happen.
So...we have proofs. We have a release date (June 1). We have ISBN numbers I can give to all the buyers at the local bookstores. This is happening. Woohoo!
Posted by KHurley at 3:00 AM
Monday, March 29, 2010
On a philosophical note, I would say that truth, peace and serenity are things we never seem to see enough of in this life. We are given endless advice to seek it, but relatively few instructions for how that can be done. To me, truth, peace and serenity are about coming into a closer connection with oneself. I also think that peace can spread, just as anger and fear can spread. The more people who discover who and what they truly are, and the more people who find their personal bliss and live in that energy, the more peace and serenity we'll have on this planet. And ultimately, it's not about what's outside us, but what's inside us that really matters. What we need are better tools for looking within.
This is one reason I love writing so much, why I can't live without it. Even though words are often inadequate to really express what we mean, what we feel, what we know, it is also through words that we try to communicate with others, words that we use to define our world and give form to things that are otherwise intangible. Language is limited, and unfortunately, it can be easily misunderstood. But it can also be a tool by which we come to truly know ourselves. People say that life is a journey for which we have no map. I disagree. I think we all know far more than we believe we know. I have read back through some of my earlier novels and stories and find myself struck by all the things I apparently knew on a much deeper level than my conscious mind could comprehend at the time of the writing. The symbology and resonances for things that I've only recently begun to recognize were all right there in my writing, the whole time, for years and years. Truth, I'm finding, is far more amazing than anything I once thought was fiction.
Posted by KHurley at 1:48 AM
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Yay, spring! We did have one interesting day in which we had rain, hail, and sunshine all in one day, not to mention a rainbow that I apparently missed. This is why they say that if you don't like the weather in Boise, you should wait five minutes. (I have to admit, however, that this doesn't really apply in the summertime.) But enough about the whacky weather.
The forecast for the new novella is equally promising. It's urban fantasy, 1st person POV, and going pretty well so far. If I had to make a guess, I'd say I'm more than halfway through the planned story arc, and I have a word count budget of 40,000 words to play with. Right now we're sitting at close to 12,000 words. The minimum necessary is around 17,500, so we'll see how that plays out. The last novella I wrote came out at around 25,000.
The thing I'm liking most about this new novella is the main character's voice. I sometimes have a little difficulty getting the female lead's voice right at first, and they usually require some rewriting, but this time, it's coming through loud and clear. That's a good sign.
Posted by KHurley at 1:02 AM
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The Boise Speculative Fiction writers have declared March "no excuses writing" month, or NEW. This means we who are participating post to the loop every day with our page totals, whether that's editing or fresh pages, and if our total is zero, it's zero, and we don't get to say why. I'm actually pretty happy with my totals so far, and of course it means I'll have pages to present to the Moxie this weekend at our crit group meeting.
The only hairy thing that happens is when you write something and then find out you have to scrap part or all of it because it isn't working for the plot. Take this new novella I'm working on. Two pages into the third chapter, I had a conversation with the Huz that involved the fact that a large paranormal conference would probably not be held in Boise, ID. His contention was that Boise is not a conference destination. Hmph. How many urban fantasy writers write stories set in their home cities? Many. I could name at least five or six right off the top of my head, right now. But they all live in bigger cities, and my poor little city just isn't quite big enough for the situation I wanted to describe. (C'mon, Boise, prove me wrong. Hold a big conference here, I dare you!) So I had to lose most of my first two pages for this chapter and take my characters out of town to a bigger city for the conference. The Huz suggested Sin City. Ultimately, I decided on something still bigger than Boise but a little closer to home. Now I'm back on track. But I hate having to scrap pages based on the fact that my home city doesn't quite measure up to size.
If Boise ever decides to host a decent-sized paranormal conference in the future, I'll expect the Huz to eat his words....
Posted by KHurley at 5:44 PM
Sunday, March 07, 2010
I just read an opinion that made me think, and you'll see the irony of that in a moment. The opinion I read was about how so many fantasy authors nowadays are recycling old folk and fairy tales in their fiction. Well, okay. Yes, we are. However, the contention was that such things are entertaining but do not make a reader think. That made me think. Why is it that fantasy is so often perceived as being for entertainment only? Why do people assume that none of it is real? People who have had encounters with ghosts or other paranormal phenomena would argue that it is very real! Some of it has even been documented, with evidence that cannot be explained in any other way. We have so many paranormal research teams out there now proving and gathering evidence in a scientific manner that I'm surprised that so many people can still think it's all just a bunch of hooey. We trust entirely too much to our limited five senses. We make assumptions. We feel safe and grounded in reality. And then, sooner or later, something happens that, hopefully, makes us think "what if."
And indeed, what if? Not what if vampires and werewolves do exist, per se, but what if there really is more out there than "meets the eye?" Notice the use of one of those limited five senses again. There's more to sight than looking through your peepers. If you read my blog posts from November, you can see where I stated that I could feel that something was about to happen with my writing, and also in October about how I felt the "rightness" of my submission to a particular market. The market I referred to then is the market that bought my first story, and so here online is an example of precognition, in real time. Or one could choose to believe that I'm just a good guesser. No biggie either way; the world's not going to end if I'm wrong. But what if I'm right?
I write primarily fantasy. And I do indeed recycle old folk and faery tales. But when I write, I mine them for the grain of truth (or maybe the huge nugget of truth) in them. I take that and I polish it, and I hold it up so it can hopefully be a mirror in which readers can maybe see themselves, if they choose. I try to touch on the deeper human emotions, on the human condition, on how our lives intersect with wonder and with the divine. Never, ever, is my fiction just about entertainment only. It never has been. I hope it entertains. If it doesn't entertain, I haven't done my job. But if it only entertains and doesn't make you think, then I haven't done my job either. Warning to those who might read my stuff in the future: it's not fluff. Look at it again in a different light and see whether some of it doesn't put chills down your spine. It did mine. Not bad, for a bit of recycling, and very Green.
Posted by KHurley at 3:53 PM
Sunday, February 28, 2010
It's now been since fall/winter of 2008 that I rewrote the Brenna book, "The Ninth Wave," the last time. In its current form, it's been being marketed for a year now. When I left off to work on shorter fiction last year, I had about a third of the second Brenna book, "Brigid's Forge," written, but in working on all my new projects, including the nonfiction, I left BF alone for a while. This morning I wrote a new scene for it for the first time in quite a while. Once I got going, it wasn't too hard; I still have the sense of Brenna's voice. It's good to be writing her again, as though she were an old friend with whom I'm reconnecting.
I also have this new novella taking form in my head; time to make an outline (yes, outline--gasp!) and see just where this character arc wants to go. I'm thinking the novella could be the opener to a novel series, again Urban Fantasy, but in 1st person POV this time. As with most of what I write, it involves Sidhe characters, but this time the narrator is...well...I can't tell you.
Posted by KHurley at 9:53 PM
Monday, February 22, 2010
I've said it before, and I'll say it again; it's all about connections. Every author, no matter how well known, depends on connections and word-of-mouth in order to gain an audience. Publishers depend on this as well. Without people reading books and spreading the news about them, there would be no bestsellers, much less any kind of sales whatsoever. Add to that the tight financial situation with which our economy is still struggling, and it takes more than the most valiant effort for those less well known to make it. But make it we can, through connections. One to one, two to four, four to eight, and onward into infinity. Let's spread some word and build some connections, so not just one of us, but all of us can not only survive, but thrive.
Posted by KHurley at 5:40 PM
Saturday, February 20, 2010
I don't know how we got from the 12th to the 21st so quickly. This month has seemed to fly by. I mentioned that edits for the short story that will be in the anthology are finished. On the first of the month, I also submitted a romantic fairytale novella, a retelling of Rumplestiltskin, to a different anthology. It didn't make that anthology, but I received word that it may be considered further on its own, so that's a perfectly good outcome at this stage of the game.
Now I'm working on a new novella and I'm also continuing work on the second Brenna Callahan novel. Tomorrow is the first day I've had in a while where I didn't have any specific commitments, so I'm hoping to spend the time getting in some good hands-to-keyboard time.
Posted by KHurley at 11:16 PM
Friday, February 12, 2010
I've spent enough time trying to figure out what to write next that I have decided not to choose. I have some short stories I can finish. I have about a third of the second Brenna Callahan urban fantasy finished and would love to pick up where I left off. I have over 45,000 words written on the nonfiction project, and I add to that whenever the time feels right for addressing the various subjects in it. I have the seed of another novella-length urban fantasy that I think will be a lot of fun. I have no way to know which to work on based purely on what I think might sell, so I'm not going to choose. I'm going to work on all of it, whenever and however I feel like doing, until I finish one of the projects. Then I'll keep doing the same thing with the others. If a new idea strikes me in the meantime, I'll explore that option as well.
The only thing likely to change this plan is if a publisher makes an offer on one of the novels, and then my attention will of course go to that, and to its sequels.
In other news, I've received edits for the soon-to-be-published short story and done the necessary tweaking. It's great to know that careful editing is being done; that's what ensures a quality work.
Posted by KHurley at 10:36 PM
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I got the email yesterday, and six words into it, I knew. "We are pleased to inform you...". That was about the point at which I stopped reading and started screaming. I knew eventually the odds had to turn in my favor, and that day has finally come.
I could tell you about how I started whooping and yelling, then ran downstairs to tell my family what had happened. I could tell you about how my jumping up and down and screaming alarmed the dog so much that she alternated between barking at me and licking my face. I could tell you how my knees gave out and I sat down on the kitchen floor, then burst into tears. But none of that would be adequate to explain just what it feels like to be able to say the following, finally, after 26 years of trying, hoping, and waiting:
One of my short stories, "The Truth One Sees," has been accepted for publication. It will appear in the Warrior Wisewoman III anthology, to be released this spring. I'll post a release date and any other pertinent info when I have it.
Posted by KHurley at 8:46 PM
Saturday, January 23, 2010
I sent a short story off to an online magazine and have been watching it move up the queue. It's something to do while waiting to hear from another submission that's been in play for a long time now. The first venue might still take a while to get back to me, although it could happen at any time, while this latest one will get back to me very, very quickly. As in less than 24 hours. I have no idea what will be decided regarding this more recent submission/venue, but checking the submissions tracker gives me something else to be excited or worried about while waiting for the results of the previous submission.
In other words, if I keep enough irons in the fire at the same time, I can spread my nervous anticipation around between them, instead of feeling like everything's riding on just one person, just one decision. I knew there was a really good reason I have three short stories on the market at the same time. This way, I can't sell my only cow for a handful of magic beans. Instead, I could potentially get three handfuls....
Posted by KHurley at 3:02 AM
Saturday, January 09, 2010
I got it for Christmas, and it's awesome. It weighs less than 2 pounds and fits perfectly into the little laptop bag I found at Ross for $12.99. It isn't technically new, but it's close to new and more importantly, it's exactly what I wanted. In the past couple of weeks, I've found that I love its grab-and-go portability, so much easier than my other laptop, which weighs as much as a newborn child and is a lot less convenient to carry. The little red one also has an amazing feature--it has about six hours of battery power before it needs to be recharged, which makes it perfect for me while I'm running errands or taking children to their various away-from-home activities. It's been to the YMCA, a local coffee shop, a bookstore, and my last Moxie meeting. It's no more inconvenient to carry than a purse, and weighs so little that I can hang the purse and the laptop case from the same shoulder and not feel like my arm's going to come off.
I splurged and ordered an ergo travel keyboard for it, and this Kat is still on the hunt for the perfect mouse. Otherwise, all systems are definitely go--or at least, on the go.
Posted by KHurley at 5:05 AM