"If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." - Toni Morrison
"Don't forget - no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell." - Charles de Lint

29 April, 2023

Madrigal Love (The Mania, It Has Begun)

I've been seriously thinking about moving the release date of The Heart of Ameinias up to May 16 instead of June 1 since the book's good and ready to go, and the wait's feeling really long. And if that happens, I'll also be bumping up the release for The House of Ash from Oct. 1 to Sept. 1, which, in turn, will affect the calendar for 2024 and beyond. That said, a lot of factors also come into play, and I'm trying to play it all by ear, read the terrain, and decide once and for all.

I thought to post this as a way of whetting my appetite for the upcoming wave of WiPs. This is one of a few English madrigals I stumbled across on Youtube (a second sample follows below). I hope to dig around some more since I'd love to put together a playlist for Madrigal (a book I still have to work into the calendar). 

As you know, I've been busy at the day job -- to a pretty excruciating point, even, though it's been a matter of me finally settling into the role I was trained to do when the company promoted me to production coordinator a couple of months ago. Long story, but we were so severely understaffed that I couldn't do anything more than be stuck in this limbo position of being a full-time fitter while taking care of a few of the day-to-day tasks I was supposed to be focusing on as a new coordinator. 

But things are quieting down, I'm getting used to the rhythm, and all those tasks that intimidated me before don't feel too bad now, and I'm no longer as overwhelmed as I used to be. And that's good for my writing and all the me-time I gave up temporarily until the smoke cleared. I can finally reclaim those hours, and now it's a matter of catching up on some much-needed rest (I do nap a lot throughout my weekends after my writing time and in between chores).

Anyway, enough of the day job as it's just there for me to pay the bills with though I'm grateful it's also a job I enjoy doing and am actually good at. So, yeah -- I've been trying to expand my musical repertoire, if you will, by diving into the madrigal scene in Western Europe. 

I hope to post an updated calendar soon, but I've said that before, and nothing's happened yet. Hopefully this time it'll actually happen, know what I mean? Because I'm excited about the future line up of books, and a calendar will also help me plan things out and make it all easier for me to actually get done.

25 April, 2023

G is for Gah!

It was supposed to be for "ghosts", naturally, but I'm afraid I'm pulling the plug on this exercise. I started the weekly alphabet challenge (a variation of the daily alphabet challenge that bloggers are participating in this month) because I wanted to jump start my blog and keep regular posts coming. 

Unfortunately with my day job shaping up the way it has been, I really can't keep up. Not enough time at the end of the day, and not enough energy at that point. There's a very, very good reason I'm only a weekend warrior when it comes to my own writing, and that also includes a pretty cramped schedule of writing, chores, and simply recovering from the previous week (only to repeat the cycle the following week -- ah, adulting!). 

At any rate, it's starting to show chinks, which primarily means it's rapidly losing all the good, fun qualities that got me started on it. And I refuse to make this into another chore for me to do. This blog is already pretty active with personal posts mixed in with writing and publishing updates. I'll just carry on with that and forget about any more efforts at making my tiny corner on the web something it really isn't. 

I'll definitely be talking about ghosts -- how can I not? -- but those posts won't be obligatory, and I can spend more time on the subject than just one weekly post. Because you should all know by now just how fascinated I am in the paranormal, and I do have stories to share. Not now, but later, when I've got time and feel more clear-headed and relaxed. 

So I apologize to those who were trying to keep up with the weekly alphabet challenge. I tried, and I failed, but at least this time I do know when to wave the white flag -- unlike years ago when I just forced myself to drag things out and sabotage my blog that way. No more, she said. No more! 

So! We shall carry on.

23 April, 2023

Feeling Celebratory, Hence Gothic Horror Stuff

One thing that's turning out to be a major detriment for me in sticking around Mastodon is the fact that sharing videos is a crap shoot because majority of the videos I do want to share won't play in spite of workarounds I have to resort to in order to make stuff work.Of course, it's a lot easier doing that here since Google owns both Blogger and Youtube, so win-win, right? No. No, it isn't a win. But -- whatever. 

On to the good stuff, though. 

I'm down to just over 10K words for The House of Ash, and I've already started the climactic scenes, so there's a good deal of dancing and celebration for me. To that end, I'm "celebrating" with a track from one of my favorite soundtracks. Quite fitting since this can pertain to the climax of the book though my characters are nowhere near skilled and experienced as Van Helsing (or even the heroes of Hell-Knights).



As I'm pacing myself, I'm still looking at three more weekends for the first draft to be completed. Two and a half, actually, but I'm not that much of a stickler in this case. I do know the third Sunday from today will be a no-writing day for me. Sleeping in, not looking at anything related to this book, and just recovering from writing is on the menu.

I'll begin working on Ada and the Singing Skull simultaneously with the revisions and edits for this book. I'd like to have a good enough overlap in order to stay way ahead of the game when it comes to writing and publishing whatever book comes next. Granted I'm still very much tempted to work on two books at the same time (hell, I managed to work on three at one point while writing The Heart of Ameinias), but I'd hate to push things regardless of how eager I am about a new story idea. 

Silent Sunday: Chopin

I'm bringing some of the hashtags over at Mastodon to here. This piece I stumbled across by accident, and it got me musing about Icarus in Flight from the way back machine because it was one of the tracks I listened to again and again while working on that book. I don't know how many times I played my Chopin CD, but I did, and my poor player was always set to repeat. 

No regrets, naturally. I love Chopin. Love Chopin and his piano poetry. And for a quiet, calming Sunday meant to be spent just relaxing and being lazy, this is the perfect track for it. 


Also been thinking about turning Mastodon into a mirror site of this blog so that all I'm doing is either copying and pasting my posts here over there or just linking back to this blog. 

I did swear to myself to keep my blog focused not just on writing and publishing but really on stuff that matters the most to me, which means occasional posts on random subjects making their way here. It's a personal -- not really a professional -- blog. And after spending so much time blogging in a vacuum with no expectations as to visitor traffic, I'm now so used to it that I don't know if bringing visitors here from a larger and busier social media site will mess with my head and drag me back to those destructive expectations that guarantee a miserable time because I'm suddenly so conscious of stats and so on. 

Besides, when a blogger links to their post, it's usually a long and informative one, not stuff like what I put up over here. Well -- looks like I just answered my own question, didn't I, so I'll hold off and play it by ear. Maybe down the line, I'll link up, but for now, I'm still blogging in the void.  

At any rate, please enjoy what's possibly my favorite waltz by Chopin.

19 April, 2023

F is for Fantasy

Fantasy is such a broad term, and I don't really know what to focus on. For this post, I'll keep things simple and point to one of my favorite surrealist artists whose work never fails to prod me with so much inspiration: Remedios Varo.

Three tall and narrow houses with large windows show a person within spinning. Faint threads flow out of each window and intersect to form a pattern in the middle. Empty, narrow lanes with stone steps cut between the houses.

I'm not a huge fan of contemporary art unless it's surrealism since there's so much for me to sink my teeth into when I run across representative works. I love analogy and metaphor, and surrealism can give me that in spades. Moreover, a lot of Varo's work seems to be in a setting that's caught in a time limbo with no clear indication of day or night, and I'm totally here for it. 

A woman hides behind a wall while a group of men in black suits fly past, looking ominous. The colors are muted with a lot of shadows against a dark red sky.

Anything liminal is my thing, and I hope to achieve that with Charon's Crossing especially with the setting being in a contemporary retail store -- a small, cluttered one, even. I'll happily lose myself writing a world that's perpetually caught in twilight in the way many of Varo's images appear to be stuck in that state. Twilight itself is pretty packed with so much meaning and especially symbolism. 

I'm looking forward to exploring that when the time comes. And as a runner-up, a more contemporary surrealist artist I draw inspiration from is Daniel Merriam, whose work feels more fairy tale-like and less unsettling. Incredibly elaborate and imaginative with his use of watercolor in some of his work, a medium that's really difficult to work with IMHO.