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TRLB: Chapter 1

The Road Less Blocked, Chapter 1
What Writer's Block Is Not


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quote of the week

"Turning toward the window, Sophie gazed through the alarm mesh embedded in the plate glass, down the dizzying forty feet to the pavement below. A leap from this height would leave Langdon with a couple of broken legs. At best."
-from The Da Vinci Code, by Dan Brown

My first thought: at worst he'd have a few broken legs. Six pages later, Langdon jumps--or rather, his tracking device does, as is glaringly obvious and repeated multiple times for extra emphasis. I'm starting to see why literary critics are so harsh on Brown.

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Thousand-one Devil Preview: Ball of Yarn

The "Thousand-one Devil" collections will be short stories set in odd places with weird characters with quirky conflicts. Some of these stories are experimental--that is, me trying to do things I wouldn't normally do. Most of these stories are written in a short period of time (a day or less), sometimes with a randomly generated prompt. All of these are attempts at breaking through writer's block.

Below is a preview from this collection-- "Ball of Yarn" in its entirety. This is a first draft, and the final version may be different. Apologies in advance for typos. Since I don't plan on releasing volume one of "Thousand-one Devil" for a few months, I may post more previews.



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you, the ideal reader

On a cold, dreary day you turn off the TV and lay on a pillow on your sofa. Wrapped in a blanket, you turn on your e-reader and scroll through the available books you have. You shiver at the thought of buying another teenage vampire knock-off, and you have little patience for books that don't tell stories. Rain pelts on the windows, leaving streak marks across the glass. The traffic outside is loud, but you've tuned it out, just like you tuned out the fact that you have to go to work tomorrow.

In the circle of the flourescent lamp, you are content to look for new adventure and new places to explore. You are eager to meet the characters of the next book you read, you hope they are people you can enjoy spending time with. In your e-reader, you find a book by D. Anthony Brown you've meant to read for awhile, but haven't because you have a long reading list. You bought this book on a whim, mostly because you like indie authors. But also because, from his blog, you get the sense Mr. Brown is funny and charming, even though he may have a slightly inflated ego.

You wonder if this book is anything like Simon R. Green's Nightside- dark, loathsome, but with large doses of gothic humor. You hope this book is like Elizabeth Bear's work- intellectual, with broken characters in broken worlds. Above all, you hope Mr. Brown uses his own voice to tell this story. That is what you look for in indie authors: unique voices, with stories that can never be told in the same exact way by anyone else.

You snuggle deeper into the pillow with the e-reader in your lap, your eyes half closed as you open the book. You're prepared to be disappointed, having bought books that didn't live up to your expectations. But you're an avid reader, and a smart one at that.

You begin reading, yearning to be told a story. You want to be amazed, astounded, and pulled out of the comfortable place you sit to a world that is not so comfortable.

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You are on the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour; a tour where you, the reader, visit the inner thoughts of some of the writers at Forward Motion. You check the schedule and see that D. Jordan Redhawk will discuss what her ideal reader is like on January 13, 2011.
For the sake of completion, I am putting my reading list from 2011 here. I fell miserably behind in writing marginalia posts, so I am re-posting my thoughts from the Forward Motion forum.

The list:

1. Servant of the Bones by Anne Rice
2. Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
3. Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit by Mercedes Lackey
4. The Chains That You Refuse by Elizabeth Bear
5. Chill by Elizabeth Bear
6. Changing Planes by Ursula K. Le Guin
7. Attack of the Jazz Giants and Other Stories by Gregory Frost
8. Sword and Sorceress X edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley
9. Green by Jay Lake
10. Diplomacy of Wolves by Holly Lisle
11. The Poison Master by Liz Williams
12. Grail by Elizabeth Bear
13. Four Ways to Forgiveness by Ursula K. Le Guin
14. Nightseer by Laurell K. Hamilton
15. Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton
16. Blood Engines by T. A. Pratt
17. Burning Water by Mercedes Lackey
18. Fitcher's Brides by Gregory Frost
19. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
20. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
21. The Beginning Place by Ursula K. Le Guin
22. Soul Music by Terry Pratchett
23. NaNo for the New and the Insane: A Guide to Surviving NaNoWriMo by Lazette Gifford
24. Undertow by Elizabeth Bear
25. Grave Witch by Kalayna Price
26. All the Windwracked Stars by Elizabeth Bear


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this is not here

So, I've been thinking for the last few days, mostly because that's easier to do than actual writing. What do I want to accomplish in the next year? Which projects do I want to attempt? What do I want to clear off the table?

I came up with a few things I want to do in the new year. Not resolutions per se, and not dreams or hopes, but goals. I've limited my goals to things that I have complete control over. Selling a hundred copies a month on Smashwords is outside of my control, though I'd love to see that one day. Getting published in a pro magazine would be nice, but again outside my control.

In no particular order, here are my goals for 2012:

1. Indie publish Vox Banjo.
2. Re-write and indie publish Six Dead Orchids.
3. Write and indie publish 3 novellas of roughly 30k words.
4. Write and indie publish two volumes of Thousand-One Devil, each containing 30 short stories.
5. Submit 12 short stories to pro and semi-pro markets.
6. Complete and indie publish Words, a collection of poems.

Can I do this? I don't know, but I'm sure gonna try. All together, I'll have eight various books published through Smashwords and or Kindle if I accomplish this list. This is more than I normally write in a given year, but I don't actually write all that much. I'm going to push it to the limit, and bust myself to get this done. If I don't quite finish everything, I won't beat myself up. But I will learn something, and figure out how I can do better in the year after.

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tree tops listen and children glisten

I hate Christmas music. Like a brand new puppy, it's cute for a few days, then you get tired of the shit. Most of it is formulaic, cliched, and copied. How many versions of "White Christmas" do we need? How many are there exactly? I pray I've heard them all by now.

Look kids, this is what working in retail does to your brain.

That said, there are a few Christmas songs I enjoy. Dido's "Christmas Day" is included in this exclusive list. It's tender, bittersweet, and doesn't smell anything like Jingle Bells.



Happy holidays!

Black Wednesday

Some women love diamonds, but the ladies who practice black sorcery... Well, it's best not to ask too many questions about their heart's desires. But at Vladmar's Wand Shoppe, you're guaranteed to find the perfect gift for the dark witch in your life.

The after NaNoWriMo ennui has hit me once again. I spent several days writing this story, when normally I would've spent an afternoon. The upside, I've completed two short stories. So I present Black Wednesday in all its first draft horror. By the end of this month, I will edit this one, and publish it on Smashwords as a freebie.
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First drafts are better than being pepper sprayed, or at least I keep telling myself that. At least, on the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour nobody minds a bad first draft.The next stop on the tour is D. Jordan Redhawk on December 13, 2011.

the day the music died

Vox Banjo is done and in the bag. Thanks the gods of writing. Let's just say the manuscript is a huge mess, multiple scenes are out of order, and I was underwhelmed with the ending.

But, I am done. Finished this afternoon. I was a little shy of my original word count goal, but when I started writing filler after the climax, I told myself to STOP WRITING. I still have some work to do on the Dueling Bards story, which was fun and quirky in its own way, though I won't publish it. I might get some ideas out of it though.

As for Vox Banjo- I still love the idea. But it is one hell of a mountain to edit. Ugh... But I'm gonna worry about that later.

VB will be published in the early half of 2012. For now, I shall be playing Dragon Fable.

Good night all. :-)

forest? what trees?

In the middle of this little journey called writing a novel is a point where the glass shatters, the hinges come undone, and ceiling caves in. Am I being over-dramatic? Perhaps...

I had a wonderful writing day yesterday, but mostly because I went to a write-in and forced myself to keep up. But my planning is teetering and wobbling, and I'm afraid I can't do anything about it except watch it fall and break apart. I have purposely left out a lot of filler material on the Vicki Meyers project, because I thought I knew where I was going, in general terms.

Now I'm lost in the woods with no compass, I don't see the damn trail, and I've only got a walking stick. The stick might get thrown at the nearest tree, except I'm not sure if these are really trees. I've never been here before, and the life in this forest is alien and mysterious. I'm, frankly, creeped out.

Vox Banjo- the Vicki Meyers project- is roughly half way through. There's things about the manuscript I like, there's things I hate, and there's things that just aren't working anymore. So I sat down this afternoon with my trusty notebook and pen, and thought out what I want the endgame to be. How is this sucker going to end? What do I envision happening? I haven't quite figured that out yet, but in that process I discovered why some of the story elements are working in the way I thought they would, and I thought up some ways to make what's there sing.

So here's the plan of attack: I'm going to work on my Friday project today. Yeah, I know, today is Monday. I don't care. Dueling Bards is a fun project that doesn't, at this point, need a lot of attention to fine detail. After a thousand or so words about the bards, I'm going to work on a short story about a magical pair of shoes that I thought up yesterday, because I can.

I'll let my new ideas sink in, re-outline the last half of Vox Banjo (which wasn't well outlined to begin with), and I hope surprise myself with some new plot twists.