Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why I like to Journal & Vacation!!!

I'm on vacation! Yay! Happy Dance!

My husband and I are heading to Glacier Park in Montana, next week. We will be staying in one of the lodges. He actually called and found us nights we wanted. Sweet!

I've always taken a journal with me. I usually bring a separate one to put down our travels. But lately, I've just been bringing the Daily Journal, as I may not fill the whole thing out.

Just so you know, I've kept a journal since 1973. I wish it went back much further, but I doubt I would have been able to stand looking through it. I began it as sort of therapy (not intentionally thinking this would be good for me to get things off my chest, but I basically found that it helped me deal.)

But I like to look back to see what I've been up to, given any year or even month. I like the spiral note pad that has the spiral at the top (like the one above). I fill it out on one side, and when I get to the end, I turn it over and fill out that side until I'm done. What's neat about this is that if I want to look back and see what I was up to, say a few months back, I flip it over and begin to read that page on the other side. I did this last night and found myself reading what I was up to in November of last year. That was cool. I'd been sent my edits of the second book, a short story had been accepted by Dark Moon (anthology), and a few other things going on that I'd forgotten about. I realized I'd been working very hard on a lot of writing projects, both while I was off of work and during the time I was working, as well.

So, I've just about filled up this journal. I usually end one at the end of a year and begin a new one, on the first of the year. But it isn't working out that way. At the moment, I don't care.

We are about to go on this vacation. It is the first long road trip we've had in 2 years. And the last one was bittersweet as Dennis' mother was in a hospital. She later died that year. So, this one has a better feel to it. We are going back up to Glacier. The last time we were there, we camped--the last time we tent camped, in fact. It was a little crazy tent camping in grizzly territory. They have you pick up everything if you leave you camp site for even a moment. You get a ticket if you don't.

But this year we are going to be staying in a lodge for the first time ever! Nice! Glacier Park Lodge will be 100 years old next year. We don't remember seeing this lodge, but I'm sure it is perfect! Looks great, doesn't it?

So, the reason I began this post about Journaling, is because that's what I love to do. I keep things we do, see and so forth in my diary esp. when we travel.

Do you keep a journal? What about it do you like best?

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Age of Castles, and my up-dates

This is Alnwick Castle. If you think you've seen it somewhere before, you have. It was used in the Harry Potter movies.

I love the middle age periods. It's hard to pinpoint exactly which period I enjoy most, but I do like the Renaissance above all the others. I've been on line exploring sites on the history of the various periods. There's so much to read on it, it's mind boggling. I remember being introduced to it in college. In art history is where I came to be carried away by it all. Architecture being one of the main things about the era that is nearly daunting, but wonderful to behold. The buildings--churches, and castles both are such a show of man's achievements in finding ways in which to make something so huge stand for ages and yet look beautiful.

I found a site that lists a dictionary of sayings for the Middle Ages. Like "Gules of August" means the first day of August. I'll have to remember that.

And they sure did have a lot of fines imposed on the commoners. But this one was rather outrageous~

Jus Primae Noctis: It is the right by which a lord might sleep the first night with the bride of a newly married serf--and if they want to pay a fine, the right would be avoided. And I can imagine the fine would depend upon just how wantonly the fair maiden was.

I've had to dip into the historical focus because I've worked on one scene, that is just around 3 pages long for the fourth book. I had to know certain things before I wrote about it. This is a flashback scene of when Vasyl, (a main character/vampire master), remembers a particular turning point in his vampire life. He was as bad a vampire could be. Before he becomes good again, he had to return to France to remember what his original cause for having his sire turn him. What his quest was that brought him to becoming a vampire. It was to avoid being murdered by the Nephilim, and he was desperate because he was the watcher for the next sibyl--who would not show up for another millennium and then some. But no one knew this.

This took me weeks to get into the mode to write it. Even while I was off, I could not come up with a place to start it. Where do you start in a scene that takes place in, oh, say the year 1001? What are they doing? Who are they doing it to?

So, because I was stuck (even though I knew what I wanted to cover), I needed a first line. Whenever I'm so desperate for a first line, I have a little trick. I pick up a favorite book. Any book will do. I open the page and BOOM! I see a line that makes me think "Oh! That's good" and then I go and begin typing out a line that similar, or it uses some imagery and eventually I've honed it over the next day or so and it's as good as I think it can be.

Of course, I've been able to write that scene out. It took a painstaking 5 hours for those three pages. However it was hot in the house. 83 at the end of the evening, but it had been 82 in the afternoon. Two a.c.'s going, and I pushed myself to get the scene, dialogue and I felt it was a good first draft.

This morning, I went over it, knew there were some shady areas I needed to work on, and had to get on line to find some things so I knew what I was explaining came out sounding like I know what I'm talking about.

Earlier last week I worked on getting a short story finished that had languished long enough in my documents. It's a horror, and I realized it would be rather long, and when I was finished, it came out to a novella length. Hope to self-publish it at some point this year. I'm letting it sit for a while before I read through it again. It had been one of those rare stories that I wrote in one sitting--or, rather in one day. I wrote it maybe 9 years ago, by hand. It simply poured out of me after a dream I had.

I've been busy and have not had the time to stop by everyone's blogs, but today I made an effort to swing by a few of your sites which I've been neglectful of. Sorry. There are times when I bury myself into my writing nitche and it's hard for me to get out.

We have one more day (they promise), of record temperatures (100+) and then we cool off and hopefully will not see this again!

And lastly, today is my husband's birthday. He's my biggest supporter/fan. Behind me completely. When I come into my office at night we do a high-five and he says "Go make us rich" I chuckle and say, "If only I could!"

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Some Rambling Thoughts

Well, our drought has officially ended! Yay! After today's rain storm, and having had some rain in the past 3 days or nights come down, the grass is on it's way to green, and the corn in the field has released a sigh of relief!

I've got one more day of freedom from the dreaded J-O-B. But I'll bring in a pay check.

I've gotten a lot done. Got my first ever short story up on Amazon, and that's a big thing. I also finished a novelette, also something to be happy about. That one is what I like to call soft, or psychological horror. A sort of Rod Sterling/Hitchockian thing.

Lately I've been working on other things. Including the fifth book. Well, heck yah! I've added a new character. One thing with a series you need to bring in new blood--so to speak. You need to invent new characters, ones that are different, that bring something new to the story that you have not explored as yet. Oh, and keep those who are loved in it also.

I decided upon a character named Ty Cho. He's human, and he's a deadly black belt. That's what I've got on him so far. That, and he uses the I Ching to guide him, and I'm using his refrence to it in an interesting way in the book.

So, I had to come up with his background and why he's there with Sabrina, and so forth. I used to paint (write) myself into corners. It's a tough thing when you begin a new novel, and begin writing it, and you have a new character--what are you going to do with this one? And before you know it you may have pages of stuff going on that sort of takes you away from your main story.


So, I've learned to recognize when I'm doing this before I get too far afield. I just did this today. I sat back and began asking questions. Like how will Cho make any difference in this story, how will I use him, and why the heck is he there in the first place.


I backed up. Before I began getting into some wild story as to why he was looking for her, I stopped and evaluated my need for him to be with her. He's there as her body guard. He had to have background and a reason for being there in the story at this point, and see if he can come into use later. So, analyze, think. And I've plenty of time, since the 3rd book isn't even out yet, and I'm just sort of letting the 4th one sit a while before I go back to do another read through to see if it needs tweaking. I don't like to write a book quickly--unless it's coming like gang-busters, which last year the first draft of the fourth one did and I got it written in 3 months. That's unusual. And even so, that was a first draft, and I had to add to it, take stuff out... all that.

I'm also sitting here wondering why I can't live on a Caribbean island? Oh, wait. Pooh. Hurricains.