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It’s 6 am

It’s six am and there’s just a few things…

My son is sleeping after a late night playing with his friends on the xbox. He’ll go back to his dad’s later, but for now I’m enjoying his presence in the house.

It wasn’t originally in the plan, but I’m loosening up on that.

Originally, I wasn’t going to have him. Then, I was going to pick him up and drop him off yesterday. But the princeling wanted to come home for the night. He filled the space up with his stories and my heart filled with his laughter.

This week is supposed to be hot. As in over 105 most of the week, starting today. I’m debating precooking. Cook up stuff this morning, maybe later today, so I don’t have to worry about it during the week. Dad is on his way home, and I’m sad that I may have to give up my thermostat settings. 75 rocks.

But mostly, I’m thinking of my stories, and going in and firing up the laptop and writing. I’ll let the priceling sleep a little more. And defrost some meat. 

And hit the keyboard, dreaming of cooler weather.

Description

The weather here in Northern California has been… complicated. Today was nice.

Last night it was not.

One major thing that this crazy weather has done for my writing: helped me with description. I’ve always been a little light on description, but the following have popped out of my mouth:

The wind is blowing so hard, I’m glad I’m *not* in Kansas.

There’s so much water on the ground, with the fog coming up around it… it looks like a Lady in the Lake scene— in the middle of a cow field. (It did! It was gorgeous!)

And so on and so forth.

“Oh Shit, there’s a tree in the parking lot” the phrase has a lot of heat behind it, and it was more a large limb than the whole tree. And while the parking lot is LINED with trees, these limb(s) were lying in the middle of the asphalt. My sister understood, especially when I clarified for her. But when we’re creating our scenes, we don’t have that give and take.

So. I am learning to describe my surroundings for my sister. Because it makes it so much nicer for her to have a visual when we’re talking. Just as we need to have visuals for our readers.

So. Take stock, figure out what you can practice your description on. I try to describe things for my siter, and also in my journal. As always, there’s a different flow when you’re talking as opposed to writing, but that just gives us fodder for dialog.

 

 

Keeping Honest with Writing

I didn’t promise that I would write every day in 2017. That was never one of my resolutions. Instead, I made a resolution that I would be honest about it.

So. Since I accidentally ended up with 2 day planner/calendar thingees from Christmas, I am using one of them to keep track of how many pages I write per day. This is handwritten pages, by the way. I still prefer starting out creatively with pen to paper.

Since that first night, I have only had 2 days with a zero word count.

I’ve tried Nano. I’ve tried getting other people to keep me honest.

Turns out, I only need to be honest with myself. All my writing for the day goes in there, so a day’s entries might be:

Wrote 1 page
Journaled
Wrote to Aunt Mary
Blog Post.

Not much to it. Nothing fancy. No bells, no whistles. Just a writer, being honest about the time she puts into writing. There’s so much else that we are, in addition to writers. It’s easy to forget to take the time to breath in, take pen in hand and write.

 

Guest Author Nicole Givens Kurtz

Nicole is one of my favorite authors. The Cybil stories are addictive and have more energy than the first cup of coffee in the morning.

 

 

Introduce yourself and tell us a little about why you’re visiting the blog today.

A: I’m Nicole Givens Kurtz and I’m visiting today to discuss my upcoming release, Cozened: A Cybil Lewis Novel.

What inspires your stories?

A: Strong women inspire me. Life inspires my stories. “Strong female” is a very conscious effort on my part. I went this route because I’m a woman, but moreover, I wanted to depict women doing in fantastical stories what we do in real life. We’re strong, talented, and multi-faceted in our abilities. So why wouldn’t we be all those things in fantastical stories? We would! Cybil is the most independent character, because she had come to rely on very few people. It makes her a challenging character to write, but it also allows for deeper exploration too. Far too often in speculative fiction, it’s the male saving the universe, or the white character saving the day. I wanted to see the women, but moreover women of color doing the saving, solving the case, and being awesome. Because we can and we do.

 

Who is your favorite character in the book? Why?

A: Jane is my favorite character because without her, Cybil would most likely be dead. Jane is the grounding that Cybil needs. The calm, realistic voice that speaks up and notes the things that Cybil may miss due to her rushing in where angels fear to tread personality.

Nicole, you’ve been writing for quite a while now.  What are some things that you’ve learned on this journey from aspiring writer to writer with multiple titles under your belt?

A: Learn the industry, and be fearless. Many times I failed to listen to my instinct, but instead let fear and in some cases, intimidation, cause me to miss opportunities. There are so many avenues for success, but you have to learn those roads before you travel. I leapt right in and found myself in some scary places, publishing wise. My advice is to talk to those in the industry, trust but verify, and be fearless in your belief in your craft and where it can take you.

 

Tell us about your upcoming projects.

A: I’m currently working on a short story in the Lawless Lands Weird Western Anthology and my novella, Akuba: The Devourer will be released in 2017.

 

Read on for an excerpt of Cozened.

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Something about seeing someone smeared over Freedom Square with its historic quotations and long dead implications made me shudder. It wasn’t right.

The shiny moonlight revealed glistening drops that led off from the man’s body on to the impenetrable trees that dotted the pavement along the square. A reminder of a time when the United States wasn’t a jigsaw puzzle of territories, the vegetation had part of continuing Thomas Jefferson’s law to keep D.C. beautiful.

Now, no one even flew their vehicles this close to the ground unless landing.

“What the heck?” Without even realizing it, I’d drifted over to the violation scene once more for closer inspection. My eyes squinted as they tried to focus on the substance.

“Stop!” A regulator resembling a brick wall with a tan jumped in front of me just as I reached the liquid trail’s beginning a few feet from the cautionary beam. Between the beam and the brute, they’d managed to keep all citizens out of the violation scene. Beneath his uniform, muscles bulged against the fabric, threatening to rend the material.

“You’re not authorized to be here!” The monstrous regulator’s deep voice sounded like it had been modified from an audio file. Lips firmly pressed together and trunk-sized arms crossed over his chest, I knew immediately that my usual sweet-talking charm wasn’t going to melt his ice.

“Well, Regulator Tom said…” The lie formed on my tongue and slid off like a snake.

“I said what?” Daniel quipped from behind me.

I groaned. I needed to see those stains closer.

“She’s leaving, Ron.” Daniel frowned at my actions, no doubt. He grabbed my arm and directed me over to a somewhat secluded spot several paces away.    “Are you trying to get me fired?” he asked heatedly once we were out of earshot.

“You invited me here!” I removed his hand from my arm. I turned slightly away from him. His fingers brushed my arm in a half-hearted attempt to reclaim it.

“If the captain finds you here…”

“I know. So why wake me up just to jerk my chain?” I didn’t want to argue with him. Daniel’s arguments could go on for eternity, even if I’d died midway through the debate.

“No, but go home. I’ll let you know when I get more.”

I didn’t quite know how to respond to that and retain my dignity, so I stood with my arms crossed and my face fixed at pissed.

“I needed you to ID him, all right? You keep telling me you don’t know who he is, though the look on your face tells me you do. Since you won’t make the identification, I’ve got to put you back with the citizens.”

With his hand on my shoulder, he moved me toward the crowd of hungry spectators. Perhaps it was more guiding than dragging. I seemed to gravitate to my wauto. I didn’t tell him or anyone about the inky dark spots. No doubt the regulators’ vioTechs would locate and misinterpret them. This wasn’t my case and I wasn’t getting paid. Home sounded better and better.

I paused before getting into the pilot’s seat. Behind the caution beam, doctors removed chunks of the body into a body bag and hauled it away on a levitating dolly. Flashes from digital cameras lit up the early morning sky. The cool air seemed to suck all the strength out of me.

Death.

No matter how often I saw it, regardless of what form it took, it made me reflect on just why I did this kind of work. The loss of human life always unnerved me. Well okay, not always. When someone is trying to silence you truly permanently, then no, I don’t weep for the bastard who eats the other end of my laser gun.

Yet, this accident dropped a sharp stab into my emotional soft spots, the ones I usually keep covered with my own internal Kevlar vest.

As I sank into my wauto’s leather seat, images of him swirled across my vision like contact lenses—suctioned on, refusing to let go until the tears washed them out. I didn’t cry, not then. I wanted to, but I couldn’t.

The body no longer resembled a human being, but a battered hunk of meat.

Once he had been handsome, healthy, and one hell of a lover.

His name had been Carlos Rodriguez.

 

 

NICOLE GIVENS KURTZ is the published author of the futuristic thriller series, Cybil Lewis. She also writes horror and dark fantasy. Her novels have been named as finalists in the Fresh Voices in Science FictionEPPIE in Science Fiction, and Dream Realm Awards in science fiction. Nicole’s short stories have earned an Honorable Mention in L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future contest, and have appeared in numerous anthologies and publications.

Do you Nanowrimo?

Do you do Nanowrimo in November?

First, let me back up. Nanowrimo happens in November, which happens to be National Novel Writing Month. There’s an even where a bunch of us crazy writerly types go and try to write a novel of 50,000 words during the month of November. It’s a crazy, fun time and…

Very crazy.

What do you get out of it? Well… if you complete it, you get a rough draft of a novel which can be whipped into shape. There’s a whole community built around NanoWriMo (just in case the link doesn’t work:  http://nanowrimo.org/  ) I’m registered and ready to go.

That’s right. I am back to writing fiction and I’m going after it in a big way. I’ve started plotting my novel, and am in the process of recruiting Drill Sergeants. Chill leaders are great~ I love them, and I have so many of them. But what I need is someone to hold me accountable. Someone to say, have you written your words today? Why not? How are you going to make them up? When are you going to make them up?

And I need someone who will not take any of my BS. I’m tired. I’m a single mom. I commute. Sniffle. Sniffle. Boo Hoo.

Nope.

My son is now 10 years old. And yes, I’m often tired and I do spend a lot of time in the car. It doesn’t stop me from using Facebook for eons, or watching Hulu early in the morning. Yip, I just called myself out LOL.And I have people, including my son, who will call me out on it

So. I am Nano’ing.

Are you?

 

Do you ever…. #sketchorama

Do you ever have a project that you’re scared to start? I do. I am.

I signed up for Sketchorama with The New Bohemian Gallery.

I am not an artist.

I am a writer. Who is sometimes inspired by her photographs.

And who got a crazy idea to join in with all the other artists.

The writing is easy. Much of it is done. But do I hand write it? Or print it out and glue it in? That seems like cheating… but I will have to figure out a way to get the photos in the book (I’ve been thinking of trying a clear, matte sticker/label). I feel like I should use my handwriting, as it’s more personal… byt will anyone be able to read it?

I’m doing something outside my comfort level. Much of the writing is done, it just needs to be put into the sketchbook.If only…. If only I could draw. BUt then I’d be an artist of a different stripe.

And yes, I asked first if written words would be ok.

It is.

And still… still I’m frozen. I’ve written the opening page– and I love it. I’ve hand written it in a card and sent it to my Aunt who is magnificently artistically talented . (Hi Aunt Mary!) But actually putting it into the sketchbook? Ummm…

What if I make a mistake?

My sister, another magical artist, says just to do it. That sketch books are meant to be personal. And still I freeze.

But that’s ok. I have a secret weapon— Regina is coming down on the holiday weekend. And I know that if she reads this, before she leaves to go back home that first opening page will be written in the book before she leaves. And as much is already written (going with the theme of water: ocean, river, bay, etc) and some will come new…

But I bet it will have that first page, handwritten, before she leaves.

 

Bones of the World

 

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I took this photo back in May, and once I saw it I knew… I am in over my head with this one. Because what some would say is a pile of driftwood made me think of the bones of the world, washed up on shore… and then what happens next?

Is it a poem? A short story?  A long story? A meandering?

I’m not entirely sure. But I know my writerly soul wants to write something about the bones of the world, and it was inspired by this photo. (Which was taken at Bullard State Park & Beach in Bandon, Oregon, btw).

Some places and times touch you deeply. Even though you’re bursting with ideas, sometimes the feels get in your way and you’re percolating.

Perk away, brain, perk away.

I’ll be over here in the corner, writing, when you figure it out.