Coffee and Conversation: Writing Process Blog Tour

 

Grab a cuppa and a comfy seat, and let’s chat a while.

It’s Monday again - time for Coffee and Conversation.

When I was six, my familywas driving on a highway late at night. Streaks of headlights and taillights painted the dark. For the first time, I realized that each car held people living lives as important to them as mine was to me.

I wanted to know what those lives were, and to share my own…

This week, I’ve got something different, because my WANA friend Gretchen Wing tapped me for the Writing Process Blog Tour. I highly recommend Gretchen’s blog, Wing’s World – it’s full of travel and life observations offered in a slightly quirky, upbeat way.

Thanks, Gretchen! This was fun, and I learned some things about me!

1. What am I currently engaged with?

  • I’ve been writing Star Trek fan fiction since my early teens. It’s evolved with me; now there’s a strong original fantasy element. I ‘m writing a fanfition/fantasy double series, Trueborn. Each stands alone, but there’s a richer story when read together.
  • I also blog regularly, and have poetry and short stories in various stages of development.

 

No, this is not how I write …but she’s definitely inspirational!

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

  • For me, writing is delicious play. I think that makes my writing different – the more I embrace the notion of writing as play, the more individual my writing becomes.

  • I tend to see things differently than many people do, and that perspective appears in my writing. Children in my stories are independent and capable; many, like my own children, do not go to school. They don’t have much need or patience for adults who interfere in their lives. The life I live with my family isn’t a parents-as-bosses-of-children model, and neither are many of the families I write about. Even when the parents think they are in control, the children have their own definite goals, and ideas on how to go about achieving them.
  • Oh, and there are Vulcans(even though sometimes well-hidden). I do love my Vulcans!

3. Why do I write what I do?

  • I write what I write for simple reasons -it’s what I love, what compels me, drives me nuts, makes me laugh, cry, ponder, or seethe.

  • It’s what fires my imagination…

  • I write to touch you, know you, share myself with you, and invite you to share, too!

  • To make statements about things that fall under a code of silence that break and shatter lives.

  • I find strength and healing in honesty.

  • I write the people who populate my mind, the places I imagine between the scenes in shows and movies, the threads my fancy weaves between disparate things, the things I’ve noticed and discovered in myself and others.

  • I write the journey of my life, and how it connects to the wider world. It’s my breadth and my depths, and how I live…
  • I write what I write because it’s who I am – as a writer, and a human.

 

Creative process…writing and editing.

4. How does my writing process work?

  • I like to noodle around for a while before writing. Many ideas come while I’m doing unrelated things, especially taking a hot shower, driving, hometending, being with my family, playing games…you know, living.
  • I often jot notes and random snips of what I’m thinking of before I begin planning.
  • I use Rock Your Plot, to develop ideas. It’s open-ended, so the story can go where it will, and structured enough that I don’t wander around aimlessly, waiting for something -anything! – interesting to happen
  • I like 750 Words for my initial writing – it’s an expanse of plain white screen, with no containment field. It’s a playground for my raw ideas.
  • I move the rough draft to my word processing program, and mark it up with color-coded highlighters – bright, playful and useful. After a rest, I start revising, and continue until I’m pleased with the result.
  • Larger projects – anything that might become book-length – move to Scrivener, where I can develop them in subsequent drafts.
  • I enjoy participating in writing challenges. I like the stretching, and use these to advance projects and ideas I’m toying with. This month, I’m advancing WIPs that have been waiting for CampNaNoWriMo, and giving shape and substance to Kifo Island, a locale that’s been tickling my imagination for a year.
  • Overarching all other challenges is ROW80. I arrange my writing projects around the four 80 day rounds. Twice-weekly updates keep my focused on my goals, so that I have something to report. It is also a wonderful community of writers, at all levels of ability.

LIfeWriting. =D

For next week, I’ve tapped my just-about lifelong best friend, and partner-in-crime for those first fanfics, Eden Mabee. Here’s a bit about her, but, trust me, she’s way more than this!

Eden Mabee is slowly making a life out of finding the creative and the enjoyable in everything. She collects feral cats, odd do-dads, historical trivia and lots of books–all of which she uses to build fictional worlds. Her blog Many Worlds From Many Minds follows her creative journey in prose and photography. You can find her pictures on Imgur and Flickr under her Twitter name @Kymele. She lives somewhere in New York State where her husband and son to inspire her almost daily.

How about you? Whether it’s writing or any other goal, how do you approach it? What makes it special to you? Why do you do what you do? Let me pour you a cuppa, and let’s chat!

 

Word, words, words!

 

 

Creative Renaissance: ROW80 Update, 4/9/14

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Well, hello there!

We’re a mere two days into the round; there are 78 days left. =)

I’ve been busy creating. Creating a little more order at home. Creating flash fiction that may grow into something else, at a later time. Ideas are springing up like the first green shoots in my yard.

I’ve also been coughing and sneezing- yup, yet another cold found the Burton family this week.

I’ve got lots of irons in my personal fire. It feels good, and just a little overwhelming, to be at the beginning of the round, still getting used to the pace of challenges and projects, feeling out the vibe of this new season and this new round, with its new, creative theme.

It’s a bit of a whirlwind, but I like it! =D

I could say more, but this creative surge means that I have, somewhat inadvertently, committed myself to four Wednesday posts for the balance of April and May.

Gulp.

Midweek updates are therefore bound to be brief and to the point. I’ll be aiming for efficiency.

That said, let’s get on with it then, shall we?

Note:

I’ll review these goals at the end of each month, adding or adapting goals as indicated throughout the round, and definitely at the beginning of each month. I update only those goals I engaged with during this session.

My main focus, for April, will be on the two challenges I’m involved with this month – April CampNaNoWriMo, and Blogging From A-Z. Other goals will be addressed on a secondary basis. 

 

I’m getting a strong sense of an untold story…one I want to tell.

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits –post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

For April:

Continue posting on my regular schedule.On target.

Complete April A to Z challenge. On target.

  • Currently developing stories through Week 3.

  • 7/26 stories posted.

Prepare for Story-A-Day May posts.On target.

Respond to comments, and return visits. On target.

  • Moving through a small backlog – I never got to this on Saturday, and there are more since A to Z began, which is a good thing! =D

Visit three additional A to Z blogs each day, on average.On target.

  • Monday – 3/3.

  • Tuesday – 2/3.

More ideas…

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

For April:

Complete TBONTB rough draft as a CampNaNo project.On target.

  • Into the final scene, now.

  • Will likely be complete by the 10th, perhaps sooner.

  • NaNo word count: 9,707 /33,333 words.

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Explore Kifo Island Chronicles as my 2014 A to Z April Challenge project.

Plot, create, and edit 26 flash fiction pieces for the challenge.On target.

  • 7/26 Complete.

Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May).

For April:

Complete plotting for 31 stories by April 30.On target.

  • See Blogging, above.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Plan the new coat area.On target.

  • Discussed my basic vision with Jim, so that he can help with the execution.

Continue claiming my study.

For April:

Move bookcases; buy and place new chair. On target.

  • Began clearing/organizing the first of the two bookcases I plan to move.

Set up coffee/refreshment station.On target.

  • I’ve almost got this figured out -and actually brewed myself a cuppa last night! =)

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Open myself to opportunities to spend time with people I enjoy.

For April:

Contact one person from my People I’d Like to Meet list. Target attained!

Tweet during one show per week, using appropriate hashtag.On target.

  • Indirectly. I made one Tweet, via Facebook, with hashtags, during Castle.

Eat salad and/or drink fruit or vegetable smoothies at least 3 times a week.On target.

  • One smoothie – cranberry, cherry, strawberry, and pomegranate.

  • One salad – made by Jim. Many veggies, beans, salmon, and filberts. Protein rich, filled with color, and delicious.

  • 2/3 attained.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

For April:

Choose two playful actions for each day; do several times each.On target.

  • Only one (playful hip twists) on Monday.

  • Tuesday, three (stair stepping; arm curls with 5 pound weights; toe touches) to make up.

Sponsor Visits (and some extras!):

Well, that’s it for me! What does this Wednesday find you engaged with? Have you found your inner spring, or does winter still linger in your soul?

You can check up on the other ROWers, and their plans for Round 2, right here!

And a taste of what Season Three holds….

Blogging From A-Z: G is for Gladys (Kifo Island Chronicles)

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“We need to talk, grandson.”

The little girl only winced at the large, vise-like hand clamped into her flesh, and clenched her teeth and her small fists. No tears; no emotion.Gladys wondered, sometimes, if they’d all been wrung from her.

“Later,” Howard growled, and his hand tightened on Iris’s shoulder. The child drew her breath in quickly, and her eyes glazed over into nothingness. Going into herself, she called it, but, to Gladys, it was a little like a death. The death of all that she cherished in this little girl.

“Not later, Howard. Now. Let Iris go with Donovan, and we can talk over lunch. I don’t have much time left to me; it seems foolish to wait, and you would not want to be taken by surprise when my will is read.”

Howard’s stare shifted to her, and Gladys wondered if he knew that he licked his lips. Since he was a very small boy, himself, that had been the way to catch his attention – through his avarice.

“All right, then. We’ll talk over lunch, and she can go with the freak.” He wasn’t happy just letting go of Iris, though; as he pulled his hand away, he used the other to shove her, so that she had to catch herself sharply on the back of the chair with a grunt. She recovered and slipped away, without a look back. For now, she was safe.

And Gladys knew that she had done the right thing, no matter what Howard thought of it.

Want to learn more about the Kifo Island Chronicles?

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Blogging From A-Z: F is for Francois (Kifo Island Chronicles)

 

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“I didn’t ask for this!”

Francois stared at the tidy stack of research notes, and the blank space on the form; the place where he was intended to record, in specific detail, the circumstances of the death he had witnessed an hour ago.

He hadn’t asked that he be any part in this death, or any other, beyond his role as a clinical observer.

4,987 deaths, before this one. He’d recorded the manner and time of each, faithfully, objectively.

Only 13 deaths left to take account of, including the one fresh in his mind. He’d intended, when he sat down, to update the file, and tick it off his tally. But he couldn’t do it.

Francois squeezed his eyes closed against the tears that were blurring the print on the stack of files – pagesthat held nothing at all of the people they were meant to define.

“No, not define. Reduce. Sterilize.” He startled himself, speaking so vehemently into the utter quiet of his study, where the late afternoon sunlight played with dust motes.

He’d gutted real lives here, leaving nothing but statistics and the particulars that differentiated one from another. He kept only those that applied to his own research, as though they were nothing more than this.

He turned away from those pages, and thought of the old woman in the hospital bed, her breath growing shallow, the sorrow he hadn’t expected to share in. He hunched his shoulders against the pain, the memory – for the first time in his life, Francois truly felt the grief and permanence of death.

He couldn’t pretend she was nothing other than part of the running tab at the head of those notes, in his computer, on his phone… in his mind.

Photo by Jenny Kaczorowski; courtesy WANA Commons at Flickr.

Francois wouldn’t sterilize her that way – he could still feel her struggle to breathe, to say everything she felt needed saying, the worries she carried with her through whatever passage she made, when her breathing stopped -

Worries that he couldn’t ignore, now. Somehow, through no logic this damned useless research could define or quantify, her worries had become his own.

He’d come to Kifo Island for data, to record 5000 deaths, and to find common ground amongst them – the basis of a line of inquiry that had driven him for his entire professorial career. This place was fertile ground, catering as it did to the dying and those who loved them. Kifo was overflowing with exactly the type of data he was seeking; a more perfect scientific fit was unlikely to be found; a diversity of experience, cultural traditions, socioeconomic status, personality types.

He’d thought that she would be just another tick on his list. He hadn’t expected to be drawn into her life, or her concerns.

But something was different, this time, with this death. Or maybe Francois was different.

He looked at the tidy pile of tabbed folders, one for each death. They weren’t even labeled with names – not here, not in these files. He’d used a code to turn every name into a numerological sequence. It wouldn’t do to use names, to remind those who read his paper that these were actual living beings – dying beings! – and not just statistics and approaches and causes of death.

The files taunted him; the spreadsheet on his computer damned him. He couldn’t look at them; couldn’t be in the same room with them. What point was all this research, bled of any hint of the human experience beneath?

He picked up the single fat manila envelope; intending to take it to the other boxes, the ones that sat ignored in his closet. These were the scraps and detritus of ended lives, the things the dying or the bereaved had insisted he needed to keep, if he was to understand their lives and their sorrows.

But Francois hadn’t wanted to understand them. He pushed them into boxes, and never looked at those bits and pieces. But he hadn’t been able to throw them away, either.

He held the envelope to his chest, and, with his other arm, swept all the files to the floor. He then emptied the envelope onto the table, touching ticket stubs, old photographs, withered flowers, and crumpling pages…the tears flowed, making it hard to see, threatening the fragile artifacts.

How had he gotten so tangled up in their lives?

And why had he never, before? What did that say about him, and his soul, his empathy for his fellow humans?

“Is that the sum of my humanity? That I didn’t throw their things away?”

Blogging From A-Z: E is for Exuberance (Kifo Island Chronicles)

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Exuberance spun out of the twirl. The man was still watching her. She sashayed over to the bar, swishing her skirt, and stood with her bared back to the table where he sat. She felt his stare making suggestions she wasn’t getting enough, these days.

“May I buy you a drink, pretty lady?” He was beside her now, leaning on the fake driftwood bar; a middle-aged man, neatly dressed. He looked like he took good care of himself, other than the broken vessels on his cheeks that said he was a drinking man.

She smiled, and he smiled back.

“I like cosmos.” She let a hand reach out to almost brush his. The man’s eyes followed it, and Exuberance’s smile got wider as he hurried to catch the bartender’s attention. She flipped her hair over her shoulder, as he ordered drinks – her cosmo, and a double scotch, neat, for himself.

They toasted to nothing, and sipped. After a minute or so, he said, “Do you only dance alone, or -”

“Are you asking?”

“Yes. Will you dance with me, -?” He left a space for her to say her name, and he leaned in close. Exuberance just breathed him in for a few breaths. He smelled of good scotch, suntan lotion, and expensive cologne; the smell of easy money and luxury.

Photo by Lynn Kelley Author, courtesy WANA Commons at Flickr.

It had been too long since she’d had either.

“I only give my name to people who give me theirs, first,” she answered, and this time she did touch his hand. He caught it, brought it to his lips. They were soft, and lingered just long enough to tease her. His eyes glittered in the low lighting.

“You can call me Howie,” he said, with a crooked grin that made promises – promises Exuberance thought she might let him keep.

“Hello there, Howie. I’m Exuberance.” She grinned. She hadn’t had a night this exciting in months; maybe longer. Suddenly, she felt alive – even exuberant enough for the name she’d taken. “Yes, I’ll dance with you.”

Howie was smiling, too. He had a nice smile, and that glitter in his eyes got her imagining. “Exuberance. What an unusual – and fitting – name.”

He kept her hand, and led her out onto the dance floor just as the music changed to a hot Latin beat. They nearly ran into another couple; a silver-haired man with a very young girl, maybe not even out of her teens. They clung together, kissing and swaying, as though they didn’t notice that the slow dance was over.

“Shameful,” Howard said, looking back over his shoulder at them. “He must be three times her age, at least.”

“They seem happy.”

He scowled. “It just doesn’t seem right,” he said.

Instead of arguing, she whirled out onto the floor, pulling him along until he wrapped his arms around her, bringing her hard against him before spinning her away.

Howie was a good dancer, and, when the next slow song came on, he pulled her in close, his arm just a little tighter than she liked – but it felt so good to be held by a good-looking man with money that she pretended she was comfortable, and gave herself to touch and motion happily.

They danced until they were breathless, and then headed back to the bar. After one drink, Exuberance excused herself to go “to the powder room” she said, like she was a fancy lady. When she got back, Howie had already ordered another round.

“Thank you,” she said, as he wrapped an arm around her and kissed her. He tasted of scotch, and his mouth was hungry on hers. She sipped the drink, then let him buy her another, and another, although she had a rule about stopping at two.

Photo by Lynn Kelley Author; courtesy WANA Commons at Flickr.

She was a little giddy when he bent to brush her hair from her ear and whispered, “Would you like to go get something to eat? I know a very nice place, secluded and quiet, up the beach. Very, very classy.”

“I know the place – you mean the Oyster’s Treasure? Howie, that’s the most expensive place on the whole island!”

“I’m thinking it’s going to be worth it.” The glitter in his eyes was brighter now. Was there a shadow in them? No, she decided. It was just the drinks catching up with her.

Exuberance shoved the doubt away, and teased, “And if it isn’t?”

“Then I’ll have to take you again,” he said, and his smile this time said all the things his words didn’t.

Exuberance let Howie lead her to the door.

 

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Embracing Creation: ROW80 Round 2 Intentions

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Well, hello there!

It’s that time again- the eve before the beginning of ROW80 Round 2. That means it’s time to set my intentions for the round to come.

I’ve found it’s easier to focus my goals, and my writing time, when I center them around a theme. So, for Round 2, my theme is….

Creation!

Spring has finally broken, here in upstate New York. My lawn is greening up; there’s beds on my lilac bushes. The birds and rabbits are busy in the yard, and I’ve finally been able to start opening the windows during the warmer hours of the day.

I’ve been in editing mode for most of the year, thus far. I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m feeling a desire to return to the creating of new stories, and moving existing ones along the path to completion. To create more welcoming spaces, new chapters in relationships, new engagement with my physical and spiritual self.

Creation in progress….

I might even create a garden, bringing new and nourishing life into the world.

For certain, I will create some joy and happiness in my life, and I’ll be spreading that around!

Note:

I will be reviewing these goals at the end of each month, and adding or adapting goals as indicated throughout the round, and definitely at the beginning of each month. I’ll be updating only those goals I engaged with during that session. 

My main focus, for April, will be on the two challenges I’m involved with this month – April CampNaNoWriMo, and Blogging From A-Z. Other goals will be addressed on a secondary basis.

Promises of things to come.

2014 Blogging:

Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely.

For April:

  • Continue posting on my regular schedule.

  • Complete April A to Z challenge.

  • Prepare for Story-A-Day May posts.

  • Respond to comments, and return visits.

  • Visit three additional A to Z blogs each day, on average.

2014 Writing:

Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream.

For April:

  • Complete TBONTB as a CampNaNo project.

  • Move The Stars are Fire closer to completion, as the conclusion of my CampNaNo effort.

Looking forward to butterflies…

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

Explore Kifo Island Chronicles as my2014 A to Z April Challenge project.

  • Plot, create, and edit 26 flash fiction pieces for the challenge.

Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May).

For April:

  • Complete plotting for 31 stories by April 30.

  • Prepare Scrivener files for the writing process.

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

For April:

  • Continue revision plan for Chameleon’s Dish, as time and focus permit.

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

Continue the family room reset.

For April:

  • Get the computer desk and moved out of the room.

  • Complete pantry cleanup; move; organize.

  • Plan the new coat area.

Continue claiming my study.

For April:

  • Complete the bulletin board reset.

  • Move bookcases; buy and place new chair.

  • Set up coffee/refreshment station.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity.

For April:

  • Freewrite about what organization and productivity mean to me.

  • Begin considering ways to use this information in my day-to-day life.

Birch trees and ideas in bloom!

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

Select and complete projects from my Play Jar.

For April:

  • Resume picking and completing slips as a playful complement to the more intensive blogging, writing, and editing.

Open myself to opportunities to spend time with people I enjoy.

For April:

  • Attend at least one NaNoWriMo Tuesday Write-In.

  • Attend the Regional Food Bank Charity Dinner.

  • Contact one person from my People I’d Like to Meet list.

  • Tweet during one show per week, using appropriate hashtag.

  • Eat salad and/or drink fruit or vegetable smoothies at least 3 times a week.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

For April:

  • Walk at least 1.5 miles each week; at the track, or measured by pedometer outside.

  • Choose two playful actions for each day; do several times each.

  • Play with the kids outside or at the Y pool at least once each week.

  • Ride my bicycle at least once a week.

  • Get a workout at the Y or with a video at least once a week.

What’s on your agenda for the burgeoning spring season, if it’s spring where you are? And, if it’s autumn, what are you planning for that crisply energetic season? I love hearing what others are up to!

You can check up on the other ROWers, and their plans for Round 2, right here!

Catch the sky!

Blogging from A to Z: D is for Donovan (Kifo Island Chronicles)

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NOTE:  The last line of this piece contains two relatively mild curse words. Those offended by profanity might wish to avoid it.

Donovan went, blinking, into the studio proper, which smelled of damp clay and the fresh flowers Corinne kept scattered around the space. The shades were drawn to create some darker patches, where he could sit out of the sun, and empty except for a tiny elderly woman, delicate, but with a definite air of strength, and a small, painfully thin, dark-skinned little girl.

The woman’s hands trembled as she kneaded her clay with the practiced ease of someone who had spent a lot of time baking from scratch. The girl’s brows creased into a frown as she used sculpting tools on – a slightly lopsided vase. It was tall, fluted, and quite ambitious.

Corinne went over to them, putting a hand on the elderly woman’s shoulder and leaning in. “Gladys, Iris, I’d like you to meet my friend, Donovan.”

“Hello there,” Donovan said, walking to a shadowed table two away from the one where they sat, and reaching at once into the lidded bucket where Corinne kept fresh clay. It was easier to connect with people if he was busy with something of his own; the clay was cool and refreshing in his hands as he rolled a handful into a ball, then squashed it to begin again.

Photo credit: Mennonite Church US; courtesy Flickr Commons.

“You’re an albino, aren’t you?” Her voice was soft, and unusually accented. It wasn’t a question; she was too sure of herself.

“Iris -” started the woman, warningly.

“Yes, I am.” Donovan said. “Most people your age don’t know that.”

“I read a lot, and watch things.”

“Iris!”

I don’t mind, and I’d rather answer questions than just be stared at.”

“Me too,” said the child,, and she came halfway round the table, watching him. “You’re blinking a lot. Does the sun hurt your eyes, even in here?”

“Yes,” he told her, simply, kneading the clay. She was silent as he rolled another ball, then took up a knife and sliced it in half before rolling out a snake. “Why don’t you put your sunglasses on, then?”

“I wanted you to be able to see my eyes. People sometimes get nervous, when they can’t, and I’m hoping we can be friends.”

“You can put them down, if you want. I’ve seen your eyes, now.” She pulled out a chair across the table, and rested a knee on it. Donovan wondered what made her so cautious, and put that shadow in her eyes. Experience and instinct said that it was something deeply rooted, and nothing to do with the woman she was with.

Photo credit: The British Library; courtesy Flickr Commons.

“Can you still see your clay?” Now she looked directly at him; the sunglasses seemed to offer her as much protection as they did him. Not a child who enjoyed being the subject of adult scrutiny, then.

“Well enough. I’ve had dark lenses since I was a baby; I’m used to them.”

Donovan noodled with the clay, rolling and coiling, making something that might be a basket, a bowl, or a cup. Corinne went to sit with the old woman, and they chatted quietly.

“Did you know that ‘kifo’ means ‘death’, in Swahili?”

“Yes, I did.” Donovan kept his eyes on the clay. He could feel her working up to something, testing him with it.

“My grandma Gladys came here to die. She’s very old – ninety-nine! – and she has Parkinson’s disease.”

“I can’t think of a more beautiful place to die, or to be with someone who is.”

“I’m going to need some friends,” Iris said, very quietly, reaching to place her dark hand on his pale one. “I think you might do.”

Donovan smiled, and put his other hand on hers. It was bony, but strong and sure, sandwiched between his own. “With honor,” he told her.

The front door jolted open suddenly, and the child crouched into the space beneath the table as Donovan, caught in a shaft of full sunlight, tried to shrink away from the painful assault.

Corinne, her voice kind and unruffled, said “Please close the door quickly -”

A man’s voice cut her off. “Gladys! Where the hell’s that damned stepdaughter of mine?”

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Blogging From A-Z: C is for Corinne (Kifo Island Chronicles)

 

C is for Curious, and “Click the icon”!

Barry kissed her, and Corinne felt him trembling and wounded against her, quivering with simple human need. The need to touch and be touched, to be desired, wanted, valuable…to know that he was alive, even when death had consumed his focus.

She’d felt it when her parents died; Barry felt it now.

“I’m here,” she whispered, between hungry kisses. She tasted the salt of tears – his, her own. They blended into one, and, through the blurring, she watched his face, where desire and grief were at war.

Barry leaned into her for support, clung to her as though he could not go on, without it. They stood there, still swaying, as the music shifted to a faster beat. It took seconds more before Corinne realized it, and that Barry was gesturing toward the door.

“Can we step outside?”

She nodded, and they were silent until the cooling breeze lulled them to the steps that led down to a rocky stretch of beach, resplendent in the twilight.

Photo by Kristin Nador, courtesy of WANA Commons on Flickr.

“I was dead inside, until tonight.” He kissed her again, this time lingeringly. When they were breathless, he broke away, turned to walk a few steps closer to the ocean, and said, softly, “Why me, Corinne? Why now? You’re young, beautiful, smart, and talented – you must have a line of young men your own age just waiting for you to notice them. Like your friend-Donovan, is that his name?”

She snorted, then laughed at his look of surprise. “The ‘men’ my age – well, most of them aren’t even close to men, yet. And Donovan’s not my type.”

“And sixty-year-old men with more baggage than brains are?”

Anger flashed up, flushing her face and clenching her fists. “You aren’t just some collection of labels, and I’m not stupid. Maybe it won’t be comfortable or easy. But do you think it’ll be any easier to try to pretend we don’t feel this?”

He took her hand in his own, and they started walking. Barry didn’t say anything, and, although her mind was racing in tune with the beating of her heart, Corinne kept quiet, too.

They were nearly out to the waning tide when he stopped and turned to her. “What do you want from me, Corinne? What is it you’re looking for, here?” His eyes seemed to catch the fading twilight, and bounce it back to her. There was something clutching and desperate in them, as there had been in his embrace, earlier; his words were almost an accusation.

Photo by Shan Jeniah Burton.

Corinne lifted their joined hands, and placed her other atop his. She tried to catch his gaze, but he wouldn’t meet her eyes.

“I want a man who is passionate, brave, and caring. One who knows what matters to him, and can honor his commitments, and who sometimes makes leaps of faith because he needs them to be fully alive.”

“You see me in a very flattering light, Corinne – but what commitment am I honoring, by being here, with you?”

“The one that says that you get to be alive, and that there are more years behind you than ahead of you.”

“I made another commitment – before you were born.”

“I won’t ask you to break it.”

“What the hell am I going to do, Corinne?” He let go of her, whirled away, and screamed wordlessly at the darkening sky.

Corinne waited, wishing she could ease his pain; afraid she was making it worse. He stood there, and she left him be.

The sky was fading into dusk when he turned and came back to stand just out of arm’s reach, watching her. “I don’t want to love you,” he said, as though she were threatening him. And maybe she was.

He started back, toward the faint music from the club. Halfway to the steps, he stopped, bent, and picked something up. Looking at it, he came back to her, took her hand, and pressed it into her palm. Corinne opened her hand; it was a heart-shaped rock, flat and worn by water, a shade of dark grey flecked with green and blue.

“I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” And he pulled her to him and kissed her almost savagely. He had the look of a drowning man unsure whether she was the thing that would hold him afloat, or drag him to the bottom.

And Corinne wished she knew which she was.

Want to learn more about the Kifo Island Chronicles?

Find more A to Z posts here!

WIPpet Wednesday: Ava’s Story

Hi there! Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday -K.L. Schwengel’s weekly blog hop which encourages writers to move their WIPs (works-in-progress) to publication by posting excerpts related to the date.

For the last several weeks, I’ve been sharing Henry and Tisira’s story, from my WIP, Chameleon’s Dish. I know several are you are eager to know what’s going on with them, but here’s the thing…

Henry, Tisira, and Nockatee have vanished! They were at the Globe – and then, they weren’t! They didn’t give any warning…they were just gone!

So, in their absence, I had to scramble to find something else to offer up for WIPpet Wednesday. Fortunately, I happen to be participating in the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge. So, today, please allow me to introduce the first of my Kifo Island Chronicles characters….

Let’s all give a big WIPeteer welcome to Ava Garcia!

Ava is twelve, and she is dying. She’s come to Kifo to live her life away from the hospitals and treatment and parental control that have filled the last three years of her life. She had to take legal action to get that right…and now her parents have appeared on her doorstep…

And now, on to the WIPpeting!

WIPpet Math:

Today is April 2, 2014.

  • Today’s math is pretty simple…
  • (for the date) + 4 (for the month)=6; 6+7 (for the digits of the year, added)=13; 13+1 (because this is excerpted from my first A to Z post) =14; 14 +1(for Ava)=15
  • Voila! 15 sentences! See, Siiiiiimmmmppppplllleeeeee! =D

“Ava!” Mom’s voice sounded like she was in the middle of a horror movie. She smiled; it looked more like a grimace. “Let me help you, sweetie.”

She reached out, and Ava backed away a step. She wanted to close the door in their faces. She was too tired to deal with them, and with their clutching attempts to control her. But it was too late; Dad got a shoulder in, making room for Mom with a grunt that might have been a greeting.

“Come on in,” Ava said, as though there’d been a choice. Dad scowled at her, then sent his glare traveling around her tidy and inviting living room, where pools of sunlight splashed against clean wood and jewel tones.

“You’re not here all by yourself, are you?”

“Tom, can’t you at least wait until we’re past the door?” Mom’s voice was peevish and whining, and any hope that anything had changed between them evaporated.

“I’m not alone. I have Mustafa.”

What will happen next? Will Ava keep her freedom? Will her parents’ arrival turn out to be a good thing, or a threat to the life -and death – Ava wants to have? And just who is Mustafa, anyway?

If you want to know more about Ava; the full A to Z post is here. These posts are the seeds of a project that will germinate over the next months, so input is especially valuable. No need to feel shy; I’m a friendly sort, and will keep my talons sheathed…for the most part.

Want more WIPpets?

I leave you with this sweet little song that, to me, captures Ava’s mood…

 

 

 

 

Playful Pause: ROW80 Round 1 Review

Curious? Click the icon!

Hi, there!

No, you’re not just seeing things, and I do know this is a ROW80 break!

But, since I set annual goals for 2014, I thought I’d take this opportunity to give myself a little break from my A to Z plotting, and evaluate how far ROW80 Round 1 carried me toward my goals.

I made considerable forward progress, especially in the editing and blogging arenas. I’ve started most of my larger projects, and have a couple of things crossed off the list.

A few things will be bowing out in Round 2, to return later in the year, and a few will be given more intensive focus, as I shift more toward writing and planning new material, this round.

All in all, I’m very happy with the progress I’ve made…and I’m enjoying a bit of a slower and more focused pace, now, as I gear up for my April challenges…

I’ll be posting my Round 2 intentions next Sunday….until then, may you have peace, passion, and beauty in your lives! =)

My life is rich in blogging inspiration!

2014 Blogging:

  • Focus on layout and design aspects of my Blogging Action Plan. Setting aside, awaiting Kristen Lamb’s Jedi touch later this spring.
  • Add all useful bits, templates, links, etc, for each feature to Master Resource File. A success!
  • Build positive blogging habits – post regularly, build queues, answer comments, and share diversely. Becoming a habit, keeping for Round 2.
  • Brainstorm what I want in a website; move The Unfettered Life to a spiffy new home. Again, setting this aside, for a while. Other ideas are emerging; more are sure to come.
  • Visit five writing websites; consider what I do and don’t like about them. Informal, here-and there success.
The very first words of a spanking-new adventure!

The very first words of a spanking-new adventure!

2014 Writing:

  • Complete rough drafts of To Be or Not to Be, The Stars Are Fire, and Perchance to Dream. Not much this round. More focus in Round 2.
  • Draft two more novels in the Trueborn double series, as NaNo projects. Some basic groundwork laid for the first. Plotting will be a Round 2 focus.
  • Freewrite on the ideas I’ve had for the unwritten portions of the story.Did a little; Round 2 will include plotting the first, and early development of the second.

Explore my gestating Star Trek: Enterprise fan fiction novel concept, as well as the Last House story collection concept, in the form of short pieces or flash fiction, during April and May.

  • Create basic plan for the Last House stories (2014 A to Z April Challenge).Moving along; obviously a major early focus for Round 2.
  • Create basic timeline for Enterprise fan fiction (2014 Story-a-Day May).Also moving along.I’ll finish prep in April; write in May.

Cozily editing….

2014 Editing:

Complete first revision passes for Chameleon’s Dish and Bounded by a Nutshell; make pre-revision notes for Blood and Breath.

  • Work through Chameleon’s DishPre-Revision Action Plan by March 1. Done, and into the revision process. Carrying over to Round 2 as a secondary goal.
  • Check out NaNo Now What Months features in preparation for MarchNaNoEdMo.I got what I needed, there.
  • Complete pre-editing notes for Bounded by a Nutshell. Done! Next step in Round 2 or 3.
  • Reread Blood and Breath silently .Completed! Read-aloud later in Round 2.

Revise all poems for QOMIS, until satisfied with the results. Not much happened here; will reappear in Round 3, when some larger things are completed.

Complete Deep Revision process with my three short story WIPs. Same progress.in play; revisiting in Round 3.

Life in progress on the family room desk…

2014 Hometending:

Continue physical and virtual hometending plans – resetting rooms, cleaning files, and inhabiting my study.

  • Continue the family room reset. Moved forward; visible progress made. Carrying forward to Round 2.
  • Spend time daily in my study. I did well, early on. The room is now the embodiment of Lovely Chaos. Carrying forward into Round 2, adapted.
  • Clean up homeschooling files by February 15. Some progress. In the mix for Round 2.

Develop new habits that support organization and productivity. Yes, and no. Reshaping my concept of ‘organization’ during Round 2.

  • Experiment with play project schedule. Target attained! I have ideas to carry forward to Round 2.

Research small business establishment /administration.

Some things are really important!

2014 Lifetending:

Stretch and find new ways to blend the facets of my life with intention and awareness.

  • Select and complete projects from my Play Jar. Resuming in April, even if slowly, for Round 2.
  • Make plans to meet with at least 1 person on my get-together list; get in touch with at least 2 more to express my wish to reconnect.No, not so much. Revisiting for Round 2.

Seek out playful new ways to move and challenge my body.

  • Choose one playful motion for each day in January; do it several times throughout the day, with a spirit of adventure. This goal shifted with each month, as intended. Adapting a new version of this goal for Round 2.

That’s it for me!  Round 2 starts April 7.  See you there!