Two Years Ago Today …

… I blogged for the first time, right here!

This is how that first post looked. (I’ve added a few bells and whistles since then) It’s a lovely little story about the possibilities of flight.

These years of being a blographer, have been a wonderful flight through the soaring updrafts, and near-earth collisions of my becoming a published author; have chronicled my move from being an urban Vancouverite to an island in the middle of Widderlake dwelling country gal; have offered me the great privilege of making some wonderful frogs. (friends on blogs)

Thank you all for being there and listening, and engaging.

While I’m in a ‘thankyou-ing’ frame of mind …

To Audrey Shaffer (of The Writers Chatroom fame) for her fabulous introductory course in how to build your author brand and platform. That was what kickstarted me into this blog in the first place.

To my wife, Mrs Widdershins, with whom (as I stated on the dedication page of Mortal Instinct) all things are possible.

The best thing though, has been finding my writerly voice. Posting something meaningful once a week (on and off) has been a challenging adventure that I wouldn’t’ve missed for quids.

Tomorrow a new cycle begins, with Episode 1 of my blogserial, Identical. I hope you enjoy the ride.

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“Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words” Plautus – 254-184 BC, Roman playwright.

 

Widdershins Writerly News

I have a guest post at The Writers Chatroom  blog, titled, ‘Losing your W.O.O.’ . Where, not only do I wax eloquent, I also have a book giveaway. If you leave a comment you’ll go into a draw for a paperback copy of Mortal Instinct’. To be drawn in the Writers Chatroom chat on Wednesday 3rd November.

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I’ve finished Episode 1 of my blog serial, ‘Identical’. All that’s left to do is a line edit (or two, or five) then I’ll post it next Friday, 28th.

All comments welcome.

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And … a spot of World Writerly News:

Registration closes on 30th September for the free Muse Online Writers Conference. Which runs from 8th to the 14th October.

I pitched my novel to my publisher at the conference a couple of years ago, and look at me now!

There are forums, workshops, pitch sessions, and chats galore.

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“it would be a bitter cosmic joke if we destroy ourselves due to atrophy of the imagination” Martha Gellhorn, 1908-1998 – journalist and novelist.

 

Images

I love how inspiration strikes when I’m not particularly looking for it. I was ambling through my emails yesterday and came across a link in one of the newsletters I subscribe to called ‘Earthfuture’.  It’s a fabulous resource and what’s on primarily targeted at Vancouver Islandistas

*waves to London Mabel*.

The link was to Ariana Shar’s Facebook ‘wall’ of pictures. (click on any of the images and scroll through – you don’t have to have an account or anything) I’m a sucker for starscapes  and fantasy imagery, so I swiftly disappeared into the images, only to be recalled to this reality by the Widdercat chewing on my ear ‘cos she was hungry. With almost every image I could feel my brain ticking over; constructing scenes and dialogue and characters and … and … backstory … and … everything. I was in writerly bliss.

One of them also gave me a final image to connect the dots in the overall story arc for my serial. The first draft of episode 1 is now done, complete with the obligatory cliffhanger. I’m about to go back through it and insert a whole bunch of hints, clues, allusions and red herrings that I’ll run with in future episodes – or not! (messing with your mind)

Mrs Widdershins suggested I take a gander at ‘Twin Peaks’  just for the cliffhanger endings.

I remember all the brouhaha when it hit the TV airwaves in 1990 and thought the premise sounded very silly, but just as I did recently with my Quentin Tarentino movie-fest  I reckon enough time has passed for me to be able to separate the show from the fuss.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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“ I’m always astonished by a forest. It makes me realise that the fantasy of nature is much larger than my own fantasy. I still have things to learn” Günter Grass, German novelist, poet, playwright, illustrator, graphic artist, sculptor.

Addendum VII

I have a guest post on the Book Boost Blog on the subject of M.A.F. and what I want to do with it!

P.S. …  No. I don’t know where that lipstick kiss came from.

 

And now it’s Addendum time:

Cats with thumbs: only a matter of time!

 

Two things …This is one helluva right forearm, and Paganini and Liszt were sadists

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“ My mother was a jazz fanatic and she wanted me to play the piano so I could play jazz tunes. I wish I had learned but I was too busy getting into trouble!”Etta James – died but three days ago.

Dratted Nifl’s

The other day I commented on Nicola Morgan’s blog post (A site worth following, I might add) titled: “All Writers Should Self Publish”. 

If you read my comment you might note that it begins thusly: “nifl would also like for …”

Where the hell did ‘nifl’ come from?

I type with both hands engaged on the keyboard, (my little fingers are usually back-ups but they are diligent none-the-less) and for some reason I’ve never got the hang of touch typing. Mrs Widdershins can type like a Gatling gun and never once look down from her screen to check if her fingers are on the right keys. I on the other hand, only look up from the keys at the end of a thought, paragraph or some other appropriate pausing place, (like now) and correct any obvious errors. When I’m on a roll, clangers are rare, mostly it’s a couple of transposed letters.

I tend to be more vigilant when I’m commenting of Frogs blogs. (friends on blogs) because in general  it’s a much faster thought process. I read their post, have a reaction/response, write it in the space provided and move on.

I suspect that I typed my comment and then without checking where my cursor was, typed in the word verification code at the beginning of my comment. I probably wouldn’t’ve noticed if my comment wasn’t rejected because of the wrong code.

Not only have I created another word to go along with ‘Frogs’, I can now lay claim to the admonition to watch your ‘nifl’s’ when typing!

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“To this day, I get rewrite offers where they say: ‘We feel this script needs work with character, dialogue, plot and tone,’ and when you ask what’s left, they say: ‘Well, the typing is very good.’”John Sayles, who wrote and directed, ‘Lianna’

Shaman

“The time has come,” Walrus said.

“Time?” White Rabbit interrupted. “If time had come on time then I wouldn’t be so late! I fear that Time has come and gone.” He consulted his pocket watch and scurried off. “I’m late! I’m late!”

The Walrus harrumphed, and tried again. “The time has come, to blog and … Wait a minute. That wasn’t in the script last time.”

A harried under-assistant to the sub-directors secretary materialised at his elbow… erm … flipper … and flapped a sheaf of closely typewritten pages under his nose. “It’s been edited. She authorised it.” The under-assistant jutted his chin out in the general direction of whoever ‘she’ was.

“In all my years I’ve never heard of such a thing.” Walrus said as he harrumphed mightily and lumbered off … stage left.

(apologies to Lewis Carroll)

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I have dilly-dallied, and shilly-shallied, and enjoyed my time off but it’s time, as the Walrus (why can’t actors just read their lines as written!) tried to say, to get into 2012’s postings.

I began this series of posts expanding on the one-word descriptions I used for my Self on my ‘About me’ page, back in November with ‘Taking the Scenic Route’. Which described my stance as a bicyclist. Now we venture forth into deeper waters.

When I set about world-building for the ‘Gallery’ Series, way back some time last century, (of which Mortal Instinct is but a single stepping stone across a very large and boisterous creek) I wanted to create a magic/spirit system that not only was deeply spiritual, but also worked. There’s nothing worse than getting buried in a beautifully crafted SF/F story only to find that the magi/spirit has flaws so wide you could drive a truck through.

(Joshua Palmatier, over at Magical Words – one of my favourite sites – has a bit more to say on that side of the subject)

So, as this was my first foray into the heart of the dark forest of ‘published author’ I decided to stay with what I know … with a bit of bling and other embellishments so that it blended seamlessly with the other world-building elements of Mortal Instinct.

What I know is the spirit of the Earth. This land we walk upon, either heavily with hobnailed boots, disregarding all the lessons around us, or as lightly as we can, with conscious intent of the consequences of our actions.

My spirituality is tied to the turnings of the Year, the seasons, Solstices and Equinoxes, where the Earth is the Great Mother, First Mother of us all, “from whom all things proceed and unto whom, all things must return.” – from Charge of the Goddess by Doreen Valiente 

I didn’t come by this knowledge easily or at times willingly. I seem to remember being dragged (metaphorically) kicking and screaming all the way down a surprisingly smooth path – smooth, that is, once I got out of my own way!

There are many Realms of Awareness beyond this physical one we experience with our five senses, and they are all connected. Imagine a bag of marbles, all sorts of marbles. Different colours, sizes, and shapes, chipped, and brand new. Inside the bag all the marbles touch. Each marble is another realm or world. The ones closest to us here in our physical one are similar. They might be the place we connect with when we dream in our sleep, or what we reach into when we know who is on the other end of the phone, before it rings. And no, I’m not talking about caller ID!

Others are further away and we must step carefully between the worlds to visit them. And we must remember the way back to our physical bodies and to the time and place that our physical bodies inhabit. This is not an easy thing to master.

It was only after a solid year of instruction that my teacher let me venture forth on my own and would not/did not attempt to rescue me. I made it back intact, but it was the scariest thing I’ve done in my life. Scarier even than hanging on by a single hand and foot grip to the side of a cliff-face while a flash-flood created waterfall burst over my head. What? Haven’t I told you that story before? Well … perhaps another time.

A shaman is someone who Journey’s between the worlds to bring back information that has usefulness in this world. I have been a student and a teacher of this path, and I’ve fallen off it and skinned my knees and bloodied my nose, (sometimes not metaphorically speaking) only to get up and place my feet firmly on it yet again. (the afore mentioned kicking and screaming often features heavily at about this point) I have travelled beyond all I have known, to the other side of existence, and come to know my Self. It’s been a helluva ride … and I’m only halfway there!

Oh yeah … and guess what? It’s snowing! At last!

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“I think we have to be careful about what we label as a prerequisite for spirituality. I don’t think you have to know a lot to have a spiritual life, but knowing gives life richness”Olympia Dukakis 

This is for the White Rabbit …

Subversive

But first … a newsflash:

My publisher, Eternal Press is having a sale! Until 1st January you can get 25% off your order. Just Input this coupon code, 12AR0CYRCSTY at the check out. … which, incidentally, would bring the ‘e’ version of my book down to about $5.25

 

… on with the show …

Some song lyrics,

“She tied you to a kitchen chair. She broke your throne and she cut your hair”

And this bit:

“But all I’ve ever learned from love, was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you”

I love my local radio station. They play songs from the 40’s to somewhere in the middle 70’s, with a selection of newer songs thrown into the mix.

They did irk me somewhat when they started playing Christmas carols, that cycled a list of regulars every few hours or so, in the middle of November …

… November? …

Just on principle I switched to CBC. (Canada’s version of Australia’s ABC, or England’s BBC). Along came December and I forgave them.

Today is washing day. I’m up and down the elevator and stairs to the laundry room in the basement. (we live on the third floor – down the stairs, and up in the elevator – it’s easier on the much surgery-ed Widdershins knee that way) I’m also busy on the first draft of Book 2 of my series, so the radio, caroling along, is very much in the background of my consciousness.

Suddenly … I hear this song with the lyrics I copied at the top of this post. It’s a beautiful song by one of my favourite singers. Two hours later I hear it again. Just like the carols.

Curious, I think to myself. Curious says, ‘meh’ and sends me back to work. But the song bugs me, in a good way, ‘cos I like it, then I remember that I’ve been hearing it a whole lot since about … hm-m? … the middle of November.

Then it hits me! Someone thinks it’s a Christmas carol! … just because it has the word ‘hallelujah’ in it!

Have you guessed what it is? Here’s another clue. It was written by Leonard Cohen.

Then another thought hits me. What if the person who’s creating the playlist knows what the song is about and knows that most folk would assume that it’s a carol (because of the ‘hallelujah’ thing, and decides to play it anyway?

How subversive is that?

Art has always been used to send messages that Emperors, Kings and Queens, despots, Prime Ministers, Presidents, and bureaucrats, don’t want the masses to know.

In the 60’s, the folk trio, Peter, Paul, and Mary released a seemingly innocent song called, ‘I Dig Rock-n-Roll Music’, with the very telling lyric, “But if I really say it, the radio won’t play it, unless I lay it between the lines.” – Subversive!

My song is ‘Hallelujah’, sung by k.d.lang – 2005 Juno Awards

and …

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“Look. Art knows no prejudice, art knows no boundaries, art doesn’t really have judgement in it’s purest form. So just go, just go”k. d. lang