Today officially marks the first day of my summer reprieve from school. While initially I tried to keep up with the blog, my novel, and assignments I soon found I had to cut something out for awhile and sadly this little space of blogheaven, for me, was paused.

It is something of a process to begin focusing 75% of my mind on writing again, sadly I’ve been going through monotonous actions defined in the presence of each day for 6 months now. Last week however, I decided I should begin to flex the right side of my brain a bit and attempt to uncover why inspiration appears at only certain points in life or the day. My conclusion: Romance.

When speaking of romance in terms of defining the meaning behind the word and the notions it implies, I began examining not the conventional sense of the word that is attached to tokens of the heart given to a beloved. No romance isn’t the novelty that has placed itself on shelves of drugstores in the beginning of January. Romance is a state of living– of thinking that satisfies ones own heart.

Skewed notions of the word in our modern society have led the masses to associate romance with another person. Romance is finding your chest swelled with air at the sight of morning dew, or the reddening of the face when words you can not hold back flow out of your mouth. It’s standing up for a belief; living each day with a purpose no matter the subject. It is feeling everything and learning to pluck those observations from your experiences and use them for your art. It’s unplugging oneself from the demands of the world and looking towards demands of the mind and soul. The adage that the world has branded upon the word has taken away from the adventure it once promised.   Hemingway once said, “Every man’s life ends the same way. It’s only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from the other.” If ever there was a proverb my life I believe his words will be adopted permanently into my heart.

::Looks around:: ::crickets:: ::Looks in the mirror::

So my friends I have been not only absent lately but apparently off the face of the inter-web Earth. Please, I beg thee allow me to explain….From September to the first week of May I am immersed in school. While the following seems like a fairly lame excuse, I must protest I also have a two year old, a novel to revise, and a family to maintain. So further, I must promise, plead, and beg you stay…. with me here; My journey in my Junior semester is almost over. I promise that intriguing things await.

The tot is an avid fan of the show “Yo Gabba Gabba” and something occurred to me this weekend as I tried to work off the inescapable steam threatening to purge itself from my ears, I needed to get my sillies out (or frustration if you will). My last post was sad and I’m certain I didn’t articulate the monstrosity of anxiety I was feeling to an accurate degree, but suffice to say–it was confusing and held me at the end of a very long stick ,miles away from the carrot dangling on the end.

So what did I do to get the sillies out so to speak? Exercise, cooking, and a bit of Guitar Hero added to the mix. I spent the entirety of Friday and Sunday cleaning, organizing, and scrubbing to such a degree that my fiance thought he had inadvertently done something wrong (meaning I usually clean when we fight). However I wasn’t mad at anyone or anything but myself. I had allowed my motors to run at full gear for about a month without rest or taking care of myself.

My mother came to visit and not only gave me the beautiful confidence only mother’s can bestow, she also took care of my house and family so I could have moments to myself and you know what? All of it worked, yesterday I was sitting outside as the thick grey clouds plaguing our hot southern sky finally broke into a cool  rain. I sat watching the mists hit the sidewalk and trees lining my street and inspiration struck, words began forming; a plan was set in motion for my revision and suddenly it didn’t  seem so daunting. While I don’t believe the barometric pressure had anything to actually do with helping me feel better, it certainly did not hurt.  So today I find myself very calm and realizing I can take on anything Eris may throw my way…I simply require small moments to think and be alone with my thoughts.

It occurs to me often that while I love writing about the emotions of others I find it very difficult to be introspective toward my own and that is a wall that needs to be tackled. As writer’s the human condition is our study and without looking at ourselves we can fall flat, writing insipid words that hold no real meaning to what our characters can possibly feel with a little heart added in. It’s a great lesson I’ve discovered this weekend, now I have to put it into practice and hopefully when I open my draft today I can smile again as I did last night and welcome the process instead of dreading it. How would that be for a happy ending?

So I’ve finally opened my first draft of my last story after a month of letting it cool down in my mind and can I just say, some days I’m not sure why I bother writing. For most, I’m very enthusiastic and can’t wait to put the words to the computer screen, but today for whatever reason,  I’m just an angry mess of a person who is putting her foot down and saying “I can’t do this.”

Of course I know we’ve all been there, if a writer can maintain their confidence at a steady pace all throughout their career I would love to know their method/vice. There has been more to juggle at home with a new semester starting and my son reaching the age of temper tantrums so when I have been able to sit down and try to focus I’ve failed, I’m just anxious. I don’t know if I’ve had a point in my writing up until now where I have physically wanted to just step away, give in to the force and stop trying.

While the first draft isn’t as horrible as I thought there are certainly scenes written that I can tell were done so on one of my off days, so I think should I just get rid of the scene all together? The Writer’s Codex had a wonderful post a few days ago about asking yourself questions for each scene/dialog you go over and I actually do plan on following his advice, it’s just the thought of doing anything with writing at all today feels wooden, hell it’s felt that way for the past week. So I’m not sure if I should take a weekend off even though it will break my rule of writing everyday or if I should force myself to trudge through the mental fog clouding me and tell the inner critic to take a hike for awhile. Either way I’m having a pity party with cheese AND wine.

What do you think readers? Do you have days where you can’t shut up the inner critic?

I thought I would post a few of the books I’m currently reading and ones that I recently finished. My favorite genres change frequently so please forgive the scatter of content.

1. Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights– I recently reread this for the fifth time, perhaps one day I’ll get around to my Emily Bronte love post. Until then lets just say that if you roll your eyes at the very mention of this book because you deem it chit lit (as my fiance does) then I urge your to take a dip in the pages. Yes there is a love story, but it’s more of a tormented love story full of revenge, hatred, and death. For instance in one chapter Heathcliff (the brooding anti-hero) calls his current wife a slut because she’s so eager to please him first thing in the morning and can never achieve it. The style of story makes the reader literally hang onto every word so you can learn more about the history between the two main characters. The setting of the moors provides a Gothic appeal and while many cite Emily’s sister Charlotte as their favorite Bronte, I have to say that she has nothing on Emily. For a story so shocking for it’s time it’s hard to imagine this girl was a vicar’s daughter.

2. Livy’s Ab Urbe Condita (History of Rome)– I’m still in the throes of reading this one, but for a book written roughly around 27 B.C. the translations enable the story to flow as well as Livy himself most likely wished. It’s filled with Roman mythology and accounts of some of the classic tales and information we use regarding the Ancient Civilization today. Writing my latest WIP in this setting I’ve been overwhelmed by the amount of information available but Livy’s accounts as he lived them and heard them have been essential in piecing together my work.

3. Lilith Saintcrow’s Ironwyrm Affair– I’m currently reading this one and enjoying it immensely. No one creates worlds with so much detail to the senses as Saintcrow. Every novel she’s published sits on my bookshelf due to carefully written smells,sights, and tastes. If you enjoy Steampunk, Victorian London, and sorcery all wrapped up in a detective story then this is for you.

4.  Vicki Pettersson’s The Taken– A Paranormal Fantasy set in present day Las Vegas, there are angels, guardians, and a healthy dose of Rockabilly journalism.  I fell in love with Petterson’s Zodiac series as I am a huge comic book fan and I feel one day I will fall in love with Kit as much as I did Joanna.

5. Gilgamesh– One of the oldest and most interesting pieces of literature to date. I read the Epic of Gilgamesh in high school and just recently went back and read it again, I found I enjoyed it even more the second time. If you’ve never picked it up try it out, it’s easy to read (unlike many historical works) and full of bromance, sex, death, gods, and action. I found myself turning the pages faster and faster, laughing at the flowery sex prose and being inspired by his quest for immortality. It’s a gripping tale of facing death even in our time.

Now for my Liebster nominations, as I’ve only been on WordPress for about two weeks so I’m only going to nominate the three sites I frequent the most and find inspiration from, you have all helped me in some way or another by writing your posts so thank you! Please click over to their blogs and enjoy.

Jesi Lee– One of the first blogs I started following, her posts are inspirational at the heart of a writer. I find myself enjoying her open honesty with every read.

The School of Joe– Science Fiction writer who always has me nodding my head while reading his posts on the writing process. I have yet to read a post of his that I didn’t find helpful in some way.

Northumbrian Light– Breathtaking photography, excellent writing, bit of humor too. Hop over and see if the galleries don’t make you sigh for a moment.

Now for my three questions:

1. What is the meaning of life? No really, quit laughing!

2.What author has influenced your writing the most and why?

3.What’s on your Ipod while writing?

I realize I’ve broken the rules by not listing eleven sites but as I said I’ve only been here three weeks and while I follow many I only frequent few everyday.

Well that’s all for me today, my son just threw hot pink play-doh in my coffee so I think we need a walk. Take care everyone!

Huzzah, I’m grateful to say that Nathan over at The Writer’s Codex has nominated me for a Liebster Award!

Nathan writes about the process of his craft and has an example of his writing titled Demon’s Prison up for viewing, I for one am very excited to read more from him as I was immediately drawn into Tristan’s world. So make sure you hop over and check him out. Liebster is German for favorite, it’s a peer award given to us newcomers who are found pleasing by our readers, so thanks Nathan, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my blog as much as I have yours. So without further adieu here are the questions:

1.What prompted you to start your blog?

I wanted to have a place to share my journey as a writer as well as a community to reach out to others who are currently going through the process. I’ve really enjoyed communicating with other writers and I’m continuously inspired by their posts.
2.What is one life event/decision that you didn’t expect, but made your life what it is today?

Without a single moment of hesitation, the birth of my son. He was an addition I never anticipated but he has infinitely changed the way I not only view the  world but myself as well. It’s amazing what you can find out about yourself when seeing it reflected in a child’s eyes.
3.Do you have any regrets in life? If so, are you doing anything to resolve them?

I try to live with no regrets because everything that happens changes and shapes who we are as people. There are more than a few cringe worthy moments in my life that I hate recalling, but each time I do I trace back what it has taught me.
4.What specific tasks are you doing to achieve your goals right now?

Writing, reading, and observing everyday. I think as a writer, one has to be ready to grow and shift everyday.
5. What one thing do you wish people would remember you for after you’re gone?

I would hope that those closest to me would remember how much I loved them and the memories we made together; the late night drives to the mountains to see the snow, the inside jokes we shared, those are the things that leave imprints on a person after someone is gone.

6. What do you enjoy most in life?

Rain,early jazz along with coffee, good friends, and of course my son’s laughter. Finding a new book to fall in love with also gives me great joy.

7. If you could make one decision that would change your life forever, what would that decision be?

Meeting my fiance earlier, there are so many years of life that we didn’t spend together and I wish I could wind back time and set out to find him 10 years ago.

8. What is it about books that draws you them?

A good excerpt on the back cover, if I’m interested I’ll open up the first few pages to see if it captures me right off, some of my favorites have. There’s nothing worse than dragging through 50 pages of nonsense to find out what the story is really telling you.

9. Describe your favorite movie in terms of what makes you love it so much.

Great cinematography coupled with a sincere story is essential. Raging Bull is one of my favorites, the shots of De Niro in the ring fighting are so captivating. Another favorite of mine is The Fall, I love any movie that can not only look like a piece of moving art but also encompass emotions through the visuals. Tarsem Singh does a great job of capturing the little girl’s imagination incorporated with the world around her.

10. Think of a loved one, what one question do you want to ask that person?

What is the one thing I can do to make you blissfully happy?

11. What would it take for you to make friends with an old enemy?

The only enemies I have, went through a great deal to get there. So I would say selective amnesia would allow me to become friends again.

So there you have it, thanks again for the nomination Nathan! I’ll be back tomorrow for my own nominations and questions, until then Happy Sunday everyone!

So I’ve been away for a few days. A small plague was running rampant through my house, leaving myself and the tot with some pretty nasty head colds that only the end of the summer season could throw at us. My word count has suffered due to my stuffy headed fuzzy feeling but it has given me time to think. So even when I’m not technically working, I’m still working.

During the past few days I’ve found myself envying my main character in my WIP, I was thinking about the things I’ve put her through in the last book and how if I were in her shoes (sandals, what-have-you) I would have thrown my hands up and ran away to the Alban Hills to live peacefully away from the troubles hurled at me. But alas, she never gives up, even writhing in pain after a nasty attack with venom seeping from her wounds, she is still attempting to carry on her revenge and rescue of her brother.

It was this I thought of  as I drank my twentieth cup of tea, cleaning up my tissues, and attempting to keep the tot’s temperature under control. I suppose in a sense I can relate to her perseverance, though my own goal is not to get up and finish off all those who had wronged me but instead I was determined to keep my son comfortable and on his way to tip top health.  Both elements are centered in love, which can just show you how much strength you really have when it comes to those you count as your greatest asset in life.  I may not be fighting through open wounds, but I am fighting through congestion and aches/pains for the little man’s well being, because for me love in itself is a driving strength of character.

An hour ago I found out that Neil Armstrong passed away, that too made me think about the strength and power one can have when fighting towards one’s goals. Here is a man who was willing to work towards a magnificent precedent for his planet and achieved it through hard work and perseverance, though it was dangerous and new.  So today I salute you Mr. Armstrong and your great career that will never be forgotten by this quasi-astronomer.

I have always admired writers who state that they get up before their children do and write for hours in the morning. To them I say, bully for you.

When it comes to my own writing schedule I’ve tried it all: I’ve woken up before my son, waited until he took his nap, tried (ha!) to write while he was awake even. The only thing that I have ever accomplished by getting up before him is writing a slosh of words incorrectly. Just yesterday in fact I woke up at four (gasp!) and I attempted for about an hour to put words to the page, I was left with a slew of incorrect uses of there/they’re, we’re/were, etc. It was only half of the disaster, my characters began going from point a to b without anything happening other than kicking snow off their boots. So to say I am not a morning writer is an understatement.

What does work for me is writing at night, it has nothing to do with mood,setting or anything Gothic as that.  It works because I’m  able to clear my thoughts of the day, which at this time is nearly over.Chores are done, son is in bed, fiance is reading or on the 360, it’s peaceful and I can relax with a glass of wine and let every idea I’ve mulled over for the day hit the page.

In other words the hamster is on the wheel and it’s turning, by this I mean I have bribed him with food and coffee (little bugger doesn’t enjoy that sun shining over the hills in the morning anymore than I do). He comes out of his nicely nested hole in the back of my brain and slogs over after taking his time to stretch about and get his bearings in the world.  When he and I both are able to think without mumbling and ample amounts of caffeine are in our systems, he climbs up on the wheel and slowly begins to pick up the pace. By now it’s probably noon, and he’s in full gear, I begin scribbling ideas on random pieces of paper, scenes open up and I get the thrill of knowing I have X amount of hours before my actual writing time begins.

As a writer you have to know what works for you and use it, much like life. If you can’t write after five in the afternoon because you’re tired from the day, then by all means do it earlier. The point is to get it done, sit yourself in the chair and write, because if you don’t make time it’s not going to do it for you.

When is the “golden hour” of writing for you? Are you a morning, noon, or night writer?

This past week I did something very dreadful, I rewrote the beginning of  my new WIP. I’m letting my last manuscript sit in the shadows until I can prevent myself from hissing at it, so I set to work on the next book in the series. I had hoped the first would be a stand alone, but it seems my characters came up with new adventures and hopefully I can wrap it up in a trilogy. Back to my little deleted darling, the horrifying fact is that I had the flash of this new manuscript’s first scene in my head towards the end of my last one. I was instantly excited about the idea of putting it on paper. When I sat down to begin, for reasons still unbeknownst to me, something else came out entirely and my it was booooring.

I’m usually a pantser, I always have been. I’ve tried outlines and they just do not do it for me. I tend to write with instinct rather than logic, it’s a great lesson my father gave me on one of those nights of gazing at constellations, as we did when I was younger. He said, “Always always trust your intuition. If you feel odd about going to a party or uncomfortable around a certain person don’t ignore it. Defy logic and listen to your inner voice.” I can not count the times where this advice has not only helped me in my life but with my writing as well. If a story doesn’t click or feels wrong don’t be afraid to kill your darling, you don’t actually have to delete it, send it to a file specifically for all of your dead pieces, perhaps one day you can use it for something else.

When I sat down and began writing the opening sequence as I originally imagined it the story clicked and even though it was painful to remove 8,000 words from the file, the new one was fresh, exciting, and rang true to my characters personality. The original wasn’t horrible, it was just to mundane and full of fluff that didn’t settle well. As each word hit the page it felt like my character was dragging her feet yelling,”Wait wait wait! This is not how things happened!” So I listened and now having completed the first chapter I feel better and more hopeful of the continuance.

Pantsing works for me because it allows me to take stock of my emotions, never knowing what is going to happen next until it does helps me stay in the moment with my character. If my heart races while she’s mid-battle wielding a sword or if I cry when someone close to her dies, I know that I am doing her a great service in my work. So listen to that little voice whether you call her your muse, your intuition, or the nag that won’t shut up and see how it effects your work.

What about you: Do you fear the delete button? Do you listen to your intuition ,or gag it and tell it to shut up?

It’s the weekend, so this will be short. I have pages waiting to be written and a word count goal that I have to accomplish before tomorrow night. It’s sunny and beautiful here in the Scenic City and I should be out at the river park or having an adventure with my family, instead I’ll be hooked up to some Unkle and pounding furiously at my keyboard.

Without further adieu here is your Saturday Link Soup:

Maria Popova discusses Goethe’s Theory of Colors, it’s an interesting concept considering the focus in today’s obsession with style. A lot is to be said about a person’s favorite color and how it effects their mood, I know many who are naturalist that own more green in their wardrobe than I could ever hope to have and they are some of the most peaceful, even-tempered people in my life.

If you stare at the kitchen with fear and dread you should check out SmittenKitchen.com, Deb is masterful at making cooking easy and delicious. The credit I receive for my excellent dishes all goes to her, so sorry to any of my friends if you believed me to be a master chef! The recipe I linked to is one of my favorites, it’s light, fairly healthy, and a star in my house.

I spoke yesterday about my love of lexicons and A.Word.A.Day is a frequent stop in my daily meandering on the web. I can guarantee that no matter your vocabulary, you will find something there you have never heard of before.

If you enjoy ‘Star Trek’, especially Next Generation, you will enjoy this. Enough said.

Lastly, to inspire the greatest fear on your pages take a stumble over to this HR Giger gallery. If I’m ever writing a scene that is stagnant or bland I can look at his work and it makes hitting those horrific notes just that much easier.

I hope everyone has a great weekend filled with wonderful adventures!

Feel free to leave links of any websites you would like to share, I’m always interested in stumbling on something new and fascinating.

Words on the Page

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