Sunday, July 24, 2016

Life, the Universe, and ... More Interference From Life

I have no witty words of wisdom today. My wit has deserted me and taken my words and wisdom with it. ;-)

I had a lot going on last week and while it involved a lot of typing, there was nothing exactly creative about it. My current line of work is transcription, and right now I’m nearing the end of the first round of transcripts for a well known Ontario university. This project has been ongoing for a long time now -- too long, as a matter of fact, so I gave myself a deadline.

This is one of the problems of having your own business and working from home. Not only are you your own boss, responsible for setting your own goals and deadlines, you have a heck of a lot of distractions to deal with. It takes a lot of self-discipline to say no to that friendly coffee date, ignore the phone when it’s a personal call, or tell family members no when they ask for that favour, and frankly, I don’t have it. Which is part of what put me behind the project in the first place.

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
1,853 words total
Down by a lot last week, which is only to be expected because I skimped on most of the blog posts and skipped the movie review altogether. I didn’t have time to watch a movie, let alone write up a review. And I probably won’t this week either.

Goodreads Reviews
0 words total
I have to admit I did get some reading in to unwind, but I didn’t take the time to review the books.

0 pages total
I didn’t exactly forget about An Elemental Earth, it’s just not high on my priority list right now.

New Words
2,272 words total
Ha! Fooled you. I bet you thought I didn’t get any new words in last week. To be honest though, I think I did most of them last Sunday before I got all focused on my transcription. And they were all on Wandering Wizards.

This Week’s Goals:
Make it through the week with my sanity intact.

My big transcription project is due at the end of this month, and I’m pretty much going to be focused on it until the 31st. Then I might even take a day or two for a breather before making up for lost time with my blogging and my other writing projects.

This week’s excerpt is once again from Wandering Wizards:

Ellen cursed under her breath as she took the stairs two at a time. It was just like her father to decide without warning to change her from working with the shinai, the split bamboo practice sword, to the bokken, the solid white oak wooden sword, for her kendo lessons. While she should be pleased that he'd finally decided she was making progress, it was less pleasing that he thought she should be a mind reader and have brought her bokken with her. Normally she left her practice weapons at the dojo, but she'd brought the bokken home to give it a good oiling.

If only Jessica could see her now! Jessica knew Ellen had been studying the art of kendo, the way of the sword, but she'd have no chance to tell her now she'd progressed to kenjutsu, the art of the sword. Her brothers, three of whom were also studying with their father, had taken to calling her their little samurai, while her youngest brother, who'd made the mistake of challenging her to a match, called her a blood thirsty little ninja.

She missed Jessica terribly. They were more than just friends, they were more like sisters. Even after all this time she still hated coming home to an empty apartment.

Jiggling the recalcitrant lock, she got the door open and grabbed for the envelope that had been wedged between the edge of the door and the frame. Taking it with her, she made a beeline for her room. Taking the bokken from its stand on her dresser, she slipped it into its carry case and slung it over her shoulder. As she started back out she looked at the envelope she was still holding and stopped with a frown.

It was a heavy, buff coloured paper and all it bore on it was her name. Still frowning, she slit it open with a long fingernail and read the note that was inside. She read the note a second time.

“What the hell?”

It was a note from Howard, giving her his power of attorney over the building they lived in. He said he’d be going away for a while and didn’t know when he’d be back. She really didn’t have time for this, but it sounded like he was going to go do something stupid - as stupid as when he accidentally sent Jessica into the magical realm.

She stood indecisively in the doorway for a minute, then decided her father could wait. This was more important. Not bothering to knock on Howard’s door, she tried the knob and it turned easily in her hand.

There was no sign of him in the main room of his apartment, and it was unnaturally neat and tidy. Cocking her head, she thought she heard noises coming from his work room. Good, he was still here. Crossing the room she pushed the door to the work room open and winced at the light emanating from the object Howard was holding in his hand.

Ellen had the hand holding the letter extended towards him but before she could say anything Howard caught sight of her. His eyes widened in horror and she faintly caught the sound of him saying, “Ellen, no!” before whatever it was he was holding seemed to explode into a million shards of light.

After the single, brilliant flash, everything went black.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Totally Random
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

If today’s quotes seem kind of random, that’s because they totally are. I liked all of Jamie’s quotes so I just kind of closed my eyes and picked one. And I disliked all of mine this week, so again I just picked one at random. :-)

So first, we have Jamie’s quote:
Ink and paper are sometimes passionate lovers, oftentimes brother and sister, and occasionally mortal enemies.
~Terri Guillemets

I see a lot of good quotes by Terri Guillemets, not just from Jamie, but I’ve sent her a couple as well. My curiosity was piqued as to this author, so I decided to do a little research.

My first surprise was Terri is a woman. Yeah, I know, it should have been obvious by the way she spells her name, but somehow I’d pictured ‘Terri’ as a man. The second surprise was that she isn’t a writer per se, she’s a “quotation anthologist” who created the website The Quote Garden a site I’ve often used when I need a specific quote for something. It’s a wonderful site, go visit it.

What I find very interesting is the fact that Terri has spent a lifetime collecting these quotes, specializing in ferreting out quotes from vintage books. Can you imagine the work involved in going through these old books and figuring out what might speak to someone as a quote? Truly a labour of love.

But while she credits whoever was quoted, apparently often times she’s being cited as the source of some of these quotes. Such as the above quote. Terri Guillemet did not say/write it originally, someone named Emme Woodhull-B├Ąche did. I don’t know where I’m going with this, other than to remind people to be careful citing sources when using quotations.

My quote this week is pretty much the lesser of a bunch of evils:
My books are water; those of the great geniuses is wine. Everybody drinks water.
― Mark Twain, Notebook

Who doesn’t love Mark Twain? Along with Neil Gaiman and Stephen King, I think he’s the most oft-quoted author Jamie and I use. Maybe even the most oft-quoted writer we use. And why not? His pearls of wisdom, often laced with humour, have definitely withstood the test of time.

We should all be so lucky.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cartography Anyone?

George R.R. Martin uses them, C.J. Cherryh uses them, Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman uses them, even J. R. R. Tolkein uses them. I’m talking about maps.

While I haven’t included any in my books, when I first conceived the idea for Magical Misfire (which at that time was known as Shades of Errol Flynn) I spent considerable time and effort creating maps for my fantasy world - three large ones (one for each continent) and probably half a dozen smaller ones that overlapped a bit but showed my heroine’s journey south.

The above map gives you an idea of why these maps are not included in my books. A cartographer I’m not. LOL

But aside from being a great way to procrastinate instead of getting down to the actual writing, the maps were a great help in figuring out where my characters were and how far they had to go. I never had to wonder what happens next, I could see it on the map. All I had to figure out is what I could throw at them as they travelled from point A to point B. It was a great help, especially in a multi-book series

That being said, I was surprised that many authors, and readers, don’t like maps to be included. So I decided to do a little digging and came up with this list of pros and cons about including maps:

They give you a better perspective of the world you’re about to immerse yourself in.
They let you see where the characters are and which way they’re heading.
They can foreshadow what’s to come.
Lets you keep tabs on who’s doing what.
For the writer, they can keep you on track or give you incentive to keep going.

They’re distracting, pulling the reader away from the story to continually check the map.
Sometimes the map doesn’t match the book, which can be confusing and/or frustrating.
More time and effort can be spent on the map than the story making for a poor reading experience.

It’s funny, but the more research I did, the more I came up with people who love maps. I have plans in the future (way, way in the future) for a seven book series that’s set on a different world and I’m hoping to sweet talk one of my nephews, who’s into fantasy world-building, to come up with some maps for me to include. There’s no epic journey connecting these books, I just think it would be really cool.

Some day I’d like to re-do the maps for Magical Misfire, maybe in colour. It might be just for my own pleasure, or maybe I could offer a print of one of the large ones as a contest prize. Now where’d I leave that oversized sketchbook? ;-)

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,006 words total
Down by about 300 words last week. I guess I was more to the point. But I’m reminded that the week before I didn’t get any other writing done. This week was also a busy one, but I think I’m getting a little better at setting my priorities.

Goodreads Reviews
406 words total
Not only did I find the time to read four more books, I also took time to write reviews for them. Maybe I’ll even get around to updating my Goodreads. LOL

0 pages total
Okay, in my defense, I keep forgetting I have a book sitting there waiting to be edited. How sad is that?

New Words
2,559 words total
I wrote about 2000 words on Wandering Wizards, which made me very happy. It would have been more, but just as I was on a roll with it Saturday night, the hubby wanted to watch TV. I guess I’ll have to start rolling earlier. LOL

The other 500 words were on my new wizard story. To be perfectly honest, it could have been a lot more if I hadn’t let reading time spill over (take over is more like it) into writing time. Blame the authors of the books I read last week. I really need to find a mediocre book to read next so this doesn’t happen again.

This Week’s Goals:
New words on Wandering Wizards
New words on Mercy
Start next round of edits on Elemental Earth

Last week I met two out of four goals. I still have not got around to finishing that bonus post, nor did I spare a thought for An Elemental Spirit. So they’re both coming off the list until I get myself a little more organized. I’m still struggling to get into a routine, but at least I’m getting some words in, so I’m pretty happy about it.

This week’s excerpt we're back to Wandering Wizards:

Aracelia sat back with a sigh, wishing there was more she could do for the young wizard. He had such a kind soul, and was such a dear friend to her granddaughter. She could almost believe he had elf blood in his lineage. With a shrug she waved her hand in front of the mirror to activate it again. No messy bowls of oil her.

Paranithel’s image appeared in the glass and she had to smile at the picture he presented. He’d let his hair and beard grow, both white with age, and he was wearing an absurd conical shaped hat on his head. Still, he had aged well, for a human.

“My dear Aracelia, I have been waiting to hear from you.”

“You knew it would take several days to energize the stone,” she said mildly.

“Then it is done?”

“Yes,” she said with a degree of satisfaction. “Sir Howard has the talisman and I daresay enough power to last him several months.”

“Good. I know you had reservations about gifting a human with elven magic--”

“No longer,” she said, shaking her head. “If ever there was someone worthy, it is he.” The elf hesitated a moment, then added, “And I believe it is safer for him to be using elven, rather than human magic.”

Paranithel looked at her sharply. “You believe Anakaron is rising?”

“I believe there is something in the offing, and I do not believe it bodes well for either human or elf. What have your cards told you?”

“They show only darkness, an uncertain future.”

“What does Kiranthus have to say on the matter?”

“Thackery,” he corrected automatically. “He has never put much stock in signs or portents. He believes if Anakaron is indeed on the move, it is only to fulfill a personal vendetta against him.”

“As ever, he is short-sighted. Should the blood mage rise, we will all suffer,” she said.

Paran appeared to lean closer to the scrying bowl to study her. “There is something you’re not telling me. What is it?”

She hesitated a fraction, then said quietly, “We have lost contact with the Wild Woods Realm.”

He pulled back, shock etched on his face. “Wild Woods? How is this possible?”

“I do not know.”

“How close will Jessica’s route take her to the realm?”

Though she had given Jessica a charm to prevent her from being spied upon through the art of scrying, they were still able to track her movements.

“Too close, my friend. Too close.”

Friday, July 15, 2016

Write Already!
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

So apparently Jamie and I were on the same wave-length this week and one of the days we sent each other very similar quotes by two very dissimilar authors:

First we have Jamie’s quote:
Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.
—Louis L’Amour

Louis L’Amour was best known for his western novels (I loved the ones featuring the Sackett brothers) although he also wrote short stories, non-fiction, historical fiction, and my personal favourite a thriller called Last of the Breed. He published 100 novels and over 250 short stories, so when he advises you to write no matter what, you can bet he knows what he’s talking about.

But he’s far from the only author offering this piece of advice, as proved by my quote for the week:

I don't wait for moods. You accomplish nothing if you do that. Your mind must know it has got to get down to work.
― Pearl S. Buck

Winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize, Pearl S. Buck was also a prolific writer, with over 100 works of literature to her credit. Whereas Louis L’Amour wrote mainly for entertainment, Pearl S. Buck endeavoured to raise the public’s consciousness on many issues such as racism, sex discrimination, and the plight of the unwanted babies left behind during military actions where American soldiers were based in Asia.

Ask any writer what top five pieces of advice they’d give to new writers and chances are “write every day” will be included. In fact, I did a Google search using “advice for aspiring authors” and almost every link I clicked on included the advice to just write already.

Some days it’s going to be easier than others. Some days the words will just flow out of you and other days you’ll suffer constipation of the mind. But it’s important to at least try. Set aside a specific amount of time - it could be 15 minutes, it could be an hour, but spend that time writing, even if it’s writing nonsense. Before you know it the words will be waiting for you when you sit down.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

The Long and the Short of It

As I’ve mentioned before, when I started out writing I had big plans to be a writer of short stories. In fact, it was so stuck in my mind that one could either write short stories or novels, not both, that if I story I was working on exceeded a certain number of words, I’d pretty much abandon it. At the very most, if I really liked the idea, I figure out a way to break it up into a series of short stories.

I don’t know when the realization struck me that I could do more than one kind of writing -- was it when I wrote my first on-line serial? My first novel? My series of flash fiction? I have no idea. But somewhere along the line I became more focused on the story instead of the number of words it would take to tell it and I finally began to finish things.

I’ve written enough short stories and novels that I can no longer conceive of writing just one or the other. A short story is like a brisk walk where you’re in a hurry to get from point A to point B, a novel is more like a leisurely stroll where you take your time and stop to chat with friends you meet.

You learn by writing short stories. Keep writing short stories. The money's in novels, but writing short stories keeps your writing lean and pointed.
Larry Niven

Short stories are, well, short. They deliver their promise in as few pages as possible. There’s a lot that’s left out, or left to the reader’s imagination, because you can only afford to include the most essential information. Your time-frame is limited as well as your cast of characters, and you should also limit the number of points of view you use.

The sheer length of the novel allows you to take your time with your story - and by that I mean the time-line of the story itself - and there’s room for a larger cast of characters who can be more fully developed. There’s also room for plots and sub-plots as well as multiple points of view.

In conclusion, they both have their good and bad points. I have spent way too much time in a futile attempt to find the exact quote, but I think it was Mark Twain who advised to simply keep going until your story is finished, then stop. Smart man, that Twain. ;-)

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,337 words total
Up by about 100 words from last week, which is a good thing because it’s zeros across the board for everything else. Life got really busy for me and it’s a miracle I even got my blog posts done. These things happen. All I can do is hope that this week is a little easier.

Goodreads Reviews
0 words total
Sad to say I didn’t even have time for reading, let alone reviewing. Poor George (my Kindle) is going to think I abandoned him. And that stack of tree books in my office isn’t getting any smaller.

0 pages total
See above statements about life and no time. Although I did talk to the daughter to see if she’d be interested in doing a cover ...

New Words
0 words total
Have to admit, this one kind of hurt, especially after I did so well last week. But this is a new week, so new words, right? I’ve got two WIPs on the go, three if you count Elemental Spirit, so all I need to do is carve out a bit of time.

This Week’s Goals:
New words on Wandering Wizards
New words on Mercy
Figure out how to start Elemental Spirit
Bonus blog post

Well, that was easy, I just had to leave up my goals from last week. LOL

This week’s excerpt is once again from my new story, Mercy For the Wizard. And yes, the name of the wizard school is Somekinda Magic School, because I haven’t thought of a proper name yet :

"I'm telling you, there's no way we can get into trouble for this," Peter insisted. He was the ringleader of the three boys, tall and skinny with perpetually messy brown hair and chocolate brown eyes. He was the one who was forever coming up with the brilliant ideas that were forever getting them in trouble.

"Yeah," Terron agreed. He was short and stocky, his head a riot of blonde curls, his eyes a sea grey. "It's the Winter Solstice, Master Wynnford can't possibly get angry with us for giving him a present."

"Besides, he'll be too busy enjoying his present to pay us any mind," Peter added with a snicker. "I don't know," Seymour said doubtfully. He was the same age as the others, but he had been at the school the longest. His bright blue eyes looked from one friend to the other and he tugged on one ginger lock of hair, a habit he had when he was agitated.

They were meeting in his room, as usual, in the huge castle come wizard school. It was late at night and the castle was quiet. Of course most of the students had gone home for the solstice celebrations, but there were still a handful, as well as a few servants lurking about. But that didn't take away from the excitement of sneaking through the corridors after curfew.

"C'mon Seymour, we can't do it without you. Don't you want Master Wynnford to be happy?"

Now there was a loaded question. Who wouldn't want the Master of Somekinda Magic School to be happy? A happy master meant a more lenient master. At least that's what the theory was. No one had ever seen Master Wynnford happy so it was only speculation.

"Tell me again why you think this will work," Seymour requested.

"Georgie overheard the scullery maid talking to the dishwasher about what a shame it was that Master Wynnford's betrothed ran away with a soldier and that he was too handsome to spend the rest of his life in misery and if he'd get his head out of his nether regions, maybe he'd see there was more than one apple on the tree."

Seymour snorted. "The scullery maid has been lusting after Master Wynnford for as long as I've been coming to this school." Which had been eight years. When he first showed signs of magical aptitude his parents couldn't pack him off fast enough. Though he was welcome home for visits, it just wasn't the same. And over the years the visits became fewer and fewer.

"So you think if we conjure up a woman for Master Wynnford it'll sweeten his disposition and he'll relax the rules."

"And maybe this year we'll finally have the spring festival like they do everywhere else," Terron put in.

"Seems like a lot of trouble to go to," Seymour hedged. "There's a lot that could go wrong."

"That's why we need your help," Peter said eagerly, sensing that the other boy was already half won over to their cause. "You've got more power than any of us."

Seymour looked from one excited face to the other. He thought about the Solstice break, that had just started, stretching out before them. He thought about the long days they had to look forward to, copying texts for the library. He thought about Master Wynnford and how kind he'd been to him when he first arrived here confused and frightened. Master Wynnford deserved to be happy.

His shoulders slumped in defeat.

Friday, July 8, 2016

We’re All Mad Here
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

Today’s theme is madness. It’s been said there’s a fine line between creativity and madness and today’s quotes seem to support that. From Jamie we have the following:

Madness is terrific I can assure you, and not to be sniffed at; and in its lava I still find most of the things I write about. It shoots out of one everything shaped, final, not in mere driblets, as sanity does.
- Virginia Woolf

Throughout her life, Virginia Woolf suffered from severe bouts of depression and it has been argued that she was in fact bipolar. Her mental instability landed her in a private nursing home several times and in 1941 she committed suicide, by drowning. She was 59 years old.

I’m pretty sure Jamie sent her quote earlier in the week than the one I sent to her, so I may have been influenced just a tad when I picked mine.

If a man comes to the door of poetry untouched by the madness of the Muses, believing that technique alone will make him a good poet, he and his sane compositions never reach perfection, but are utterly eclipsed by the performances of the inspired madman.
― Socrates

Studies have shown a number of strong if indirect ties between an original mind and a troubled one. A genetic variant of some psychoses may be related to creative achievement and it’s believed that creative professionals are a bit more likely than others to suffer from some form of mental illness.

Ernest Hemingway suffered depression and shot himself after a series of electroshock treatments. Jack London was believed to be bipolar and killed himself with a morphine overdose. David Foster Wallace was severely depressed and hung himself. Tortured genius Edgar Allan Poe attempted suicide in 1948 and then died the following year of mysterious causes. Sylvia Plath was only 30 when she killed by herself inhaling fumes from her oven - she had severe depression.

Scientific American does not support the link between creativity and mental illness, calling such studies inconsistent, although I found it interesting that it does support the notion that relatives of people with schizophrenia tend to have highly creative jobs or hobbies.

So, is there a link between creativity and madness? Personally, I think you’d have to be at least a little crazy to be a writer. You work in isolation (for the most part), the hours are long, and frankly the pay-off is seldom worth it. And it’s not just writers who suffer, artists, musicians, and geniuses also tend to have a reputation for being ... odd.

As the Cheshire Cat says, “We’re all mad here.”

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Technical Difficulties

So... I did some babysitting last night, and since part of that time would be after the granddaughter’s bedtime, I figured it would be the perfect opportunity to get a jump start on this post.

So we played for a while and I put the baby to bed and I set my lap top up on the table and ... ran into some technical difficulties. Namely, with the wireless mouse. I could move it around, I could click on my document file and the cursor would go where I indicated, but I wasn’t able to type in it. I could play solitaire, but it wouldn’t connect to the internet.

I might point out at this juncture that I hate the track pads on lap tops, so the first thing I do is disable it, which is why I didn’t try that instead. Well, that and I only just thought of it now. And also, the way my lap top is set up, every time I start it up I have to make a new connection to the internet, and it takes forever, so normally I just leave my lap top on and let it hibernate when I’m not using it.

So, after changing the battery in the mouse didn’t help, I shut the laptop down completely, deciding to deal with it when I got home. Now obviously a simple re-booting fixed the problem, but it still begs the question of why it happened in the first place. Unfortunately, I’m not techy enough to figure it out.

In the meantime, I’ll be making sure I back everything up just in case it happens again. You do back up your own work, don’t you? Personally, I back up to several different USB keys and once in a while I’ll back everything up to a DVD.

You should always back up to two different sources, just to be on the safe side. The daughter had an external hard drive that she used for backing up and it failed, taking with it four years of documents and pictures. I’ve heard of this happening to others as well.

I’m not sure I absolutely trust the USB keys and DVDs for longevity, but given the daughter’s experience with the external hard drive, I’m not sure that’s the answer either. A lot of people back up via the internet - emailing themselves, using the Cloud or Dropbox, but then of course you have the worry of getting hacked.

I guess the only real solution is to write fast and get published. ;-)

Wordage Report

Blog Posts (not counting this one)
3,2142 words total
Down by about 400 words from last week. Apparently I was a little more succinct with my posts. I have to admit though, a couple of them were a bit of a struggle which resulted in a few late nights. I keep saying I’m going to work on them earlier, but I never seem to.

Goodreads Reviews
325 words total
I manage to finish three books in the last couple of weeks - I know there was another one but I didn’t write down and I have no clue what it was. The one I’m currently reading on my Kindle is insanely long, which doesn’t necessarily make for a longer blog post next week - it’s not a particularly good one.

New Ideas
0 words total
Okay, I think I’m going to get rid of this category next week. It’s not that I wouldn’t like some new ideas, it’s more that I just don’t have time for them right now.

0 pages total
I have to tell you, I didn’t even crack Elemental Earth open last week. Technically there’s no rush, but I’d really like to get it done.

New Words
3,743 words total
Not bad, it was an average of around 500 words a day. This was split more or less evenly between Wandering Wizards and a story I pulled out of mothballs - a slightly humorous romantic fantasy about a magician’s assistant and a real wizard.

This Week’s Goals:
New words on Wandering Wizards
New words on Mercy
Figure out how to start Elemental Spirit
Bonus blog post

Again, I only met half of my goals from last week. While I got a few more words in on Wandering Wizards and I decided to trunk Dreamer for now, I’m no closer to figuring out how to start Elemental Spirit and I still haven’t written that bonus post I was all excited about.

This week’s excerpt is from my new story, Mercy For the Wizard:

Mercedes Latimer stood in front of the full length mirror and took a good look at herself. A sigh escaped before she could prevent it as she took in the full effect of the costume.

The white corset was a shade too tight, barely containing her generous breasts. But the white made a nice contrast to the black bottoms which were cut high on her hips. Instead of the typical fishnet stockings she wore just regular pantyhose, most of which were covered up by thigh high, spike heeled, vinyl boots. Around her neck was a white bowtie and topping her long dark curls was a top hat, set at a jaunty angle.

Taking a couple of steps in the boots she frowned as she wobbled. "Guess I should have taken the time to practice walking in these things." Although she enjoyed wearing high heels, these made her feel like she was walking on tip toe.

She walked across the room and back to the mirror again. "I cannot go out onto the stage looking like this," she said to her reflection. Her reflection seemed to agree.

Mercy, as her friends called her, enjoyed working as a magician's assistant. She loved the excitement and the glamour and she was pretty darned good at it. Granted the Fabulous Fernando was a bit of a tool, but no job was perfect.

Checking her watch she swore under her breath. She'd intended to get to the club early to show Fernando the tricks she'd been working on - she was angling for a bigger role in the show - but if she didn't get a move on she was going to be late.

Giving her reflection one last scowl, she picked up the tuxedo jacket that completed the outfit, brushing a stray piece of lint off of the tails and shrugging it on.

Not only were the boots uncomfortable to walk in, the vinyl was incredibly hot. She was going to be a mess by the end of the night.

"What the hell?"

There was some kind of blue smoke in her living room. Before she went into full panic mode, she gave an experimental sniff. She couldn't smell anything, it was more like a blue fog than smoke, but where was it coming from?

Turning in a circle, she frowned. The fog seemed to be spinning with her. No, it was spinning faster and faster around her. Mercy felt buoyant, weightless. All she could see around her was the blue fog and it was getting denser.

Mercy opened her mouth to scream as the whole world shifted.

Friday, July 1, 2016

One Hit Wonders and Imagination
Fun With Quotes

So how, exactly does one have fun with quotes?
Glad you asked! If you’re like me, you start by exchanging quotes on a daily basis with your Best Bud. But not just any quotes, writing quotes, to give each other inspiration. And then you pick the two best quotes of the week to share with the rest of the world - because ... why not? :-D

My quote from Jamie this week really tickled my fancy:

My sole literary ambition is to write one good novel, then retire to my hut in the desert, assume the lotus position, compose my mind and senses, and sink into meditation, contemplating my novel.
- Unknown

Isn’t this what writing is all about? You write a best-selling novel and then sit back and watch the money roll in. That’s how it works, right? Maybe not ...

You’d be surprised at the number of famous authors who only wrote one novel. Anna Sewell wrote Black Beauty, one of my childhood favourites, and was able to enjoy her novel’s success for a brief time before passing away due to illness.

Despite the fact that Edgar Allan Poe was a prolific author, he only wrote one full novel. Margaret Mitchell hated the fame that came with Gone With the Wind and refused to write another novel. Wuthering Heights was the sole novel of Emily Bronte. J.D. Salinger penned The Catcher in the Rye and after enjoying its success for a brief time retreated from the public eye.

For the curious, Goodreads has a list of 120 authors who wrote one-hit wonders.

The quote I picked of those I sent this week is a little different:

Closed in a room, my imagination becomes the universe, and the rest of the world is missing out.
― Criss Jami

Honestly, it wasn’t until I looked the author of this quote up that I realized I’ve quoted him before. I also featured Criss Jami in my first quotes post.

At first glance this really appealed to my hermit-like nature. I mean, I’d love to be locked away in a room with only my imagination for company, maybe a laptop as well (without an internet connection) to write on.

But then I looked at the quote from another angle. Perhaps it is not a person, but only the imagination that’s closed in a room, and the room could be one’s own mind. The rest of the world can be kept at bay, until you choose to let it in.

Food for thought.