Friday, May 28, 2010

Mixed Book Salad

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.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Dream Recall

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....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Gettin' With the Times

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!

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.

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.

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.