Sunday, June 24, 2012

Turning Rejection into A Good Thing

I've been enjoying my first week of a 2 weeks vacation. There were a number of things I wanted to accomplish during this two weeks. The first of which was to RELAX. And I am. I've also been into my flower garden this year. It would be the year we are into a drought. But no biggie. We didn't plant a vegetable garden.

I've worked on a number of projects this year so far. One was getting my third book off to my publisher. The other projects were two short stories which I sent off to an anthology. I didn't come up with the idea for one until mere weeks before the deadline. They wanted alternate history horror. Possibly the story wasn't horrific enough, or maybe they had enough vampires running around again. But it was rejected.

I was not upset by this rejection. Not at all. Actually, if the truth be told, I had hoped so, because I wanted to try my hand at getting something of mine self-published. It would have taken me a hell of a lot longer than a few days time to do this, if I hadn't had a lot of help with the formatting and then actually loading up the document too. But my short story, Holy Devil, went up for sale the end of last week, and it's now available world wide! I can't show you a picture of the cover (been having trouble uploading pictures on a post), but it's on my sidebar, and you can go click on it to see a 5-star review of it!

Holy Devil was a story that I had written almost 10 years ago and was also rejected back then. It's about Rasputin, who is renown for his mesmerizing gaze and the fact that he could heal the sick, and was credited for saving the Tsar's son from dying from hemophilia, when all others failed.

But my story concentrates on his mystical ways, and possibly some other surprises about him that only in my convoluted brain could conjure. He did have quite the night life and also was difficult to kill, and he had a way with women. Women flocked to his home for his "blessings".

I've also been working on the fourth book. It's been a sort of patchwork quilt, as I add certain scenes to it when they finally come. I've been working on Vasyl's background, or backstory. I just wrote it yesterday and it will be included in the fourth book. Plus, I may just offer it as a free book, later on as a tease for the fourth book.

I hope to get a few more things done, have some more relaxation, before I return to the grind.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Hikin' In Afton

Let's face it, if you really want to hike your fanny off, you can do it in Afton. In the early days, when Dennis and I first arrived, there was only the main park, and the hill that butts up with the Risman farm. Now, the park extends all the way across McGurr Road, to the south. This is still being developed, of course. there are plans to extend the wetlands.

But, today I'm gonna tell you about my walk.

I enjoy these walks. They clear my mind, and get the old heart pumping, and also, I enjoy the flowers, birds and solitude it brings me.

Today the breeze is stiff out of the south. If you doubt me, check the big wind turbines to the southwest of here. Warming up very quickly, so I headed out after 8 a.m., to avoid all dog walkers, should there be any.

I start out behind the barn on the trails that wind around the oldest portion of the park, the "trial" wetlands, which is pretty much grown in with willow in one, and a lot of cattail in the others. I decide to continue on a straight south path, heading for South Afton, toward the new shelter. I notice there is no one parked there, and gladly head that way. I make note of the various flowers along the way. The milkweed is blossomed out, and lends a wonderful sweet aroma to the air as you pass. Butterfly weed is also in full bloom, and their bright orange blossoms appear most abundant just south of the trees, near the wetlands, but a bush, here or there comes into view along my trail.

South-bound I walk. The red wings are done with nesting, and so are not as aggressive as they've been in the spring. However, I manage to pick up one killdeer who escorts me the whole way, for some reason. When I reach the end, I decide to continue past the parking lot, turn east onto the path that takes the bridge over the waterway. The cascades are not as strong, but there's some water flow. If you're quiet you might be able to watch a few water fowl on the rock. The spotted sandpiper came winging in, and landed on the rocks below the bridge. This bird frequently tips it's tail up and down, and stays on the rocks to feed. He's a most interesting bird. I almost wanted to join him in the water, but I continued up to the hill.

As I continued on, and my noisy escort also walked ahead on his long legs, complaining the whole way, the low pinging of a wind chime from the Risman farm enchanted the air. I turn the corner, watching the birds as they flee ahead of me, and I guess my noisy escort gave up.

The tallest hill this end of the park has a new bench. So, if you desire, you can sit and take in the wetlands below and farmland that surrounds you. I've climbed up this hill from the other direction, many a time in the past. I found the spot relaxing, and it seems to energize my soul. Now that there's a bench, I no longer have to sit on the ground. It sits rather high, which is fine, I swing my legs and sip on my now-warm water from the bottle I brought.

King birds make a racket above me, I ignore them and try to see if I can spot the blue heron. Nope. He must be over on the main side of the wetlands at the moment. Geese, although abundant in the spring, have thinned out. No reason to stay, those with no goslings have gone on to new territory.

I begin down the hill and three king birds to an aerial ballet above me, the wind pushing at them. I have to hold my hat on, as it might fly off. A good windy day keeps the deer flies at bay, so this is a good thing.

Once upon a time, I'm told that this whole hill was planted with a thousand trees. Then, the drought of '88 came and that did them in. Also, I think there was a fire, but I can't remember the story at the moment. At one time coyote roamed, but apparently someone took exception to this predator and obviously had to exterminate them. But once in a great while you may see a fox, if your lucky. Woodchucks, skunks, and weasels call Afton home. WE have a couple of woodchucks up around the house. One got the under ripe watermelon we couldn't eat. She was grateful, I could tell. And the skunk in one of the catalpa trees keeps us well away with the constant "fragrance".

Continuing down the hill, I make a plan to head back the quickest way, and where the wind is still able to reach me. I spy a loan fisherman down along the stream of Little Rock Creek. I'm doubting he's having much luck, unless he's going for catfish.

I make my way across two bridges, picking up some one's water bottle who didn't feel like carrying it to a trash receptacle for some reason. I carry it all the way up along the south part of the woods to throw it in our own trash.

If you are a frequent visitor, I hope you enjoy the park. It has lots of vistas to enjoy, and plenty of places to get off by yourself. The south prairie seems to go on and on. I'm told they are building a small shelter to go beside the last bridge down there. They've planted trees, but these will be a long while in creating shade, so there will be a shelter to duck under for shade and rest for the weary wanderer.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Nuts & Bolts, and Notebook/Journals for WIP's

It's been a while, but I've been taking a little break from writing in this blog. I don't usually blog here unless I have something to talk about. Don't want you guys to get bored, don't you know?

Working on the next book, my WIP--Vampire Caprice--and I realized when I went back to my notes that I wrote the first draft last year about this time, and got it done in 3 months. I had a lot of researching to do, and had to remember what Colorado Springs area looked like, ordered a catelogue, and did some Google Earth searching on the area too.

My notes on this book helps me pull up where my head was, what I was trying to do at that time.

And creating all the characters, and having their individual stages (because in this book, I'm writing both first person, as well as third), and each one I allow the reader to see into his head, I had to come up with their "back story" and history. A couple of them have some distant history, too.

But hey, I was working along and thought I'd share a little excerpt from these notes. They sort of read like a running interior monologue, or journal, in some cases.

The following was written on 8/29/11

I need to be in Eddie's head for this. I haven't got him down as yet. It creeps me out, actually, to be inside his head. It has to be that he thinks the Albino is “The Devil” He's here, again. the Devil.
Eddie is working on a car. The Albino appears. Eddie says, “Oh. It's you.”
Yes. It's me. Surprise!” he sang, hands out. “Oh, you're working on a classic.” The Albino walks around the car, looking admiringly inside. “Fifty-nine. Right?”
Yep.” Eddie ducks back under the hood. He makes some adjustments. The wrench he holds falls, clangs to the cement floor of the garage. “Fuck!”
Let me get that for you.” Albino moves Uber fast and he has the wrench in his hand. He spins it so fast that Eddie can't follow it with his eyes. In fact it looks like the propeller on an airplane going full spin. Albino moves to the side of the car.
You know why I'm here?”
Eddie stares at him.
I've found you another sweet one.” He says low. “She's exactly what you want. What you crave.”
Eddie licks his lips.
Small, and sweet. Pigtails.”
Eddie wipes the back of his hand across his lips.
I can take you to her.”
I need wheels.”
What's wrong with this one?”
I can't get the sprocket to fit.” {not sure on this, but go with it for now.} I added this 8/29th and have been working on it.

This is what it looks like in my "notes" and from this, you see, you add to it. Fill out the scene. It now reads very different as you can see here:

Eddie Roland reached down into the engine compartment of the baby blue, two door hardtop '59 Cadillac Coup de Ville. He wanted to finish this today. The man who'd sold it to him had lost his job and had needed the money. He had paid him a thousand for it. Cash. Hell, brand new it had probably cost over three thousand. It had leather upholstery, chrome grill, bumper and trim. Eddie had some money put away for extravagances like this. He got by with the odd jobs he could find fixing cars. But mostly he loved to work on the old classics, when they came his way. This was a honey of a ride. He considered himself one lucky son of a bitch that he had the cash to help the guy out. As if. He could now turn around and sell this for twice maybe three times he'd bought it off of Ted Roland, the man he'd bought it from. In fact he was lucky Ted hadn't put it up on eBay. Someone looking for just such a classic might have given him more. But Eddie had the cash, up front.
It had had a leaky head gasket—that was the big expense. But Eddie knew he could fix it up in a week and eventually get everything he put into it and more back. He had been able to pull the engine in his fully equipped garage and in two nights replaced the gasket and had it put back together. He was just finishing it up, in fact. He couldn't wait to hear the 390 cubics inch V8 turn over. The '59 Cadillac had the biggest tail fins of any car, and he knew when he went cruising down the street in the neighborhoods, he'd be the envy of all classic car enthusiasts.
Hello, Eddie.” The voice was clear as the sound of a crescent wrench landing on cement. In fact it startled him so, that he did drop the socket wrench, and it went clattering down through the engine compartment, but not to the ground. It had stopped somewhere midway.
What the fuck?” Eddie spun around, ready to rip into whoever the hell had snuck up on him and scared the living shit out of him. He realized quickly that this person was behind him, in the back of his garage, not the front. All the doors were closed, and the front garage door was down with only about six inches for air. How they had snuck in here defied all reason.
It's been a long time, Eddie.”
In the over-head fluorescent lights, he saw a man in a trench coat standing there smiling at him. At first he thought he as a figment of his imagination. But he wasn't. He looked exactly the same as he had the first time he'd appeared to him at least twenty-five years ago. He was real, alright. The long white hair, very pale skin and blue sun-shades gave it away. He was The Albino. The guy had a name, but he couldn't remember it. He referred to him secretly as The Devil, because he made Eddie do things he knew he shouldn't do. It wasn't that he didn't want to do those things. The temptation was so overwhelming that he couldn't help himself. But The Albino not only gave him the notion to do those things, he encouraged, helped and abetted him. And Eddie was dead certain The Albino was why he was never caught. No one knew that Eddie had done the things he had done, except the Albino.
Oh. It's you.” Eddie turned back to the car feigning disinterest, then looked over his shoulder at the man.
Yes. It's me. Surprise!” he sang, hands out. “Oh, you're working on a classic!” The Albino strode up and then around the car gazing at it, running a gloved hand over the chrome and smooth-as-a-silk paint job. He bent and gazed admiringly inside. “'Fifty-nine. Right? Leather seats, chrome bumpers. You're doing pretty well for yourself, Eddie.”
Yeah.” Eddie ducked back under the hood and located his wrench. The damned thing got lodged between the pitman arm and the steering box. Shit, he couldn't do that again in a million years! And it was well out of reach, from every angle he tried. He lowered himself to his hands and knees on the cement floor and reached for it. His middle finger was an inch away, and he couldn't reach any further under the car because basically his arm didn't bend that way. “Fuck!” he swore out of frustration.
Let me get that for you.” The Albino disappeared from the spot he had been, and the next instant was standing right next to him with the wrench in his white-gloved hand. He spun it so fast over his fingers that Eddie couldn't follow it with his eyes. In fact it looked like the propeller on an airplane going full spin. 
© 2012 Lorelei Bell