It Is Done (Roughly Speaking), and Other Interesting Shi…, er Stuff

This will probably be my last blog post of 2016. I’m ready for this killer Bi*** of a year to go away now. It’s killed more people than Cecil B. DeMille.

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Lotsa stuff to cover here, so strap in and pay attention, kiddies.

First: I have finally finished the rough draft of Maelstrom of Fate. I will probably tweak the hell out of that epilogue when I do first revisions; but it is down on paper now, so I can set it aside for a well-deserved break. I may be adding another convention to my line-up this coming year: Hallowcon has moved to a venue considerably closer to me. (It used to be in Dalton, Georgia and has moved to a hotel in East Ridge, Tennessee… just a few blocks from where LibertyCon used to be when I first started attending it.) Since it falls on the last weekend in October, I think it would be a fantastic venue for launching Maelstrom of Fate.

Okay, I realize that was technically two items. Deal with it.

Next: There is a new interview on my About page and a new review of Blood Curse on its page, both courtesy of J.B. Garner. You should visit his site and check out his books. Seriously.

Moving right along: The Daedalus Enigma has been entered in the 18th Annual Preditors and Editors Readers Poll in both the Horror Novel and the Science Fiction/ Fantasy Novel categories. The poll is free; although you have to give your email addie to finalize your votes, you do NOT get spammed… EVER; and it ends January 14. They do limit you to one vote per category (if you vote for more than one book in the same category, only the last one voted for counts).

Every book in the Waves of Darkness series has placed in the top ten in Horror Novel. Please help make that happen for this book, too. I don’t get any money for placing, just bragging rights and a digital badge.

Build-a-Blog news: Over the next few weeks, I will be adding to the Readers’ Refuge section of the site. Expect the Once Upon a Tide as well as a few other selections from The Daedalus Enigma to show up for your reading pleasure. I will announce them here on the main blog as/when I add them.

Artistically Speaking: I’m still in the mental planning stages of rebuilding my old Steel Rose Gallery. I will probably build it as a WordPress site simply because of the ease of organizing it like I want it.

I also have a good idea of what I want to do for the cover art for Maelstrom of Fate. I just hope I’m up to the challenge and can get Viktor looking like I want him to.

I’m a slacker: I still haven’t started the serious research I need to do for There Is No Arizona.

I will, though; I will.

Red Shirt Contest: Just a friendly reminder that it’s not too late to put your name in the hat. So far, I have all of six people willing to let me attach their name to one of the three remaining Royal Marines doomed to die a horrible death in Maelstrom. One will be drawn at Chattacon; another at ConNooga. Names of contestants remain in the pool until the last winner is drawn at LibertyCon. You can do so in the comments here, on Facebook, or on Plurk.

Other convention news: I finally bought my membership for ConNooga. I also just today confirmed with the Chattacon program director I would be available for panels.

 

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Progress

The rewrite of the final chapter is moving along. The characters are making themselves heard now; and I like the feel of the scene much better.

I think part of the problem with the first attempt at this chapter was it involved characters who haven’t been on stage for the entire book. That means I haven’t written them in over a year. I just needed to spend a little time with them again to get reacquainted.

There have also been some revelations of how things fit together that I didn’t get until my characters got them, as well. I love how the subconscious works.

In the coming new year I will be putting up some fresh free reads in various spots of the Readers’ Refuge section of the site, including the Once Upon a Tide from The Daedalus Enigma. I also plan a near future post (maybe Christmas weekend) about a problem with the rules governing vampires in the Waves of Darkness universe and why one in particular doesn’t seem to apply to the vampire pirates in Viktor’s cadre when it does apply to other vampires. I like the reasoning which presented itself to me, and I hope you will also.

A Musical Interlude

No, this blog site is not about music. However, music has always been a large part of my life.

Last year, I shared a problem I had/have with some of the lyrics for the song O Holy Night. This year, my attention has fallen on Christmas songs which are not really Christmas songs. Two of these come readily to mind. Both are wonderful songs which I dearly love to listen to. One has been popularly associated with the holiday for decades now, the other only in recent years (to my knowledge); yet neither have anything actually to do with Christmas or its celebration.

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First the oldie-but-goodie My Favorite Things from The Sound of Music. Yes, the lyrics mention snowflakes, winter, and packages tied up with string. No, none of these are mentioned as being connected with Christmas or any other winter holiday. Rather, the song is about self-diversion as a coping mechanism to combat fear and anxiety over unpleasant events. I simply remember my favorite things, and then I don’t feel so sad.

That pretty much sums it up.

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The one I’ve only recently seen associated with Christmas is Hallelujah. The first time I saw the connection made was a wonderful video of an instrumental performance by Lindsey Stirling, a young woman with talent beyond belief. In the video, she plays the song on her violin in a subway with an origami Nativity scene on the floor in front of her. I greatly enjoyed the performance, but the selection of props puzzled me. Then I encountered the song again connected with Christmas by its inclusion on Pentatonix’ newest Christmas album. Their performance sends chills down my spine, and truly captures the emotion behind the lyrics; but again, the song has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas.

Hallelujah, written by Leonard Cohen in the early 1980s, has been covered by over 200 different artists over the years in multiple languages. If you listen to the lyrics, you will realize the song starts out about the illicit affair between the ancient Israelite King David (already married at the time) with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite, a soldier in David’s army. The song goes on to express the pain and heartbreak, the sheer emotional/spiritual damage, this affair led to.

The song is gloriously beautiful and masterfully written, and I love it dearly.

How in the HELL did it become associated with Christmas?

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not angry. If it hadn’t, I might not have come across the Pentatonix version for years (they omitted a verse, btw). I’m just puzzled about it.

Okay, that concludes my musical rant for this year. Thank you for tolerating/indulging me.

The End is Near… or not

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Okay, I did not finish the final chapter of Maelstrom of Fate this week. In fact, I’ve decided to rewrite about nine pages of what I have written on this chapter so far, because it sucks! Yes, I’ve stuck to my plot points, and the basics of the scenes are there and salvageable; but it desperately needs more drama, depth, and for characters to STAY IN CHARACTER!

In other words, Viktor and a few others looked over my shoulder and basically said, “Dafuq iz dis?”

And I hadn’t even made it to the epilogue.

Werk werk werk.

I WILL finish this draft before Christmas.

Approaching Endings… and Beginnings

Yeah, I know that title sounds ominous. Don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere and neither is this blog.

The approaching ending I refer to mostly is that of the rough draft of Maelstrom of Fate. I anticipate finishing this draft sometime this week. I am currently writing the final chapter (with a possible epilogue). Once I finish this book, I will have finished the main storyline arc of the series.

I do plan to write further books with Viktor and crew featuring as the main characters, but that is a few years down the road. Understand that these characters have been my companions since I started working on the research and story concepts for the series back in 2006. We need a break from each other, and I have several other projects which have been back-burnered in favor of my pirate-turned-vampire.

Primarily, I intend to add episodes to and continue to polish The Adventures of Pigg & Woolfe (my Steampunk project) in preparation for shopping the serial to publishers. I also plan to seriously delve into research for There Is No Arizona (my dystopian project). I NEED to get that book written while it is still ficticious (before these twits we keep electing or re-electing can make it reality, in other words). Eventually, I may revisit my fantasy novel A Dream of Water, but it isn’t really pounding on me, nor are a few short story ideas which have been floating around in my head for a few years now.

Add to all that the fact my husband has proposed the idea for an illustrated children’s book with the potential to go series that I agree might prove a commercial success.

I’ve also considered reopening my long-ago shuttered Steel Rose Gallery and get back to illustrating, fan art, and portrait commissions. I’ll have to check into a few different platforms to see what would be the best fit for what I have in mind. The old one was on topcities.com. I will NOT be using that one again (if they even still exist, it has been that long ago). They held my site hostage for exceeding the allowed free bandwidth (it got too much traffic). The site would be shut down most of the month a lot of the time, because I refused to pay for more bandwidth.

If I do go ahead with the gallery, I’ll have to rescan a lot of the artwork. The old files were stored on the old Mac of the site’s former webmistress; ergo, I doubt she even still has them. (I didn’t have a scanner back then, was using an old refurbished PC, was NOT tech savvy in the least bit, was still writing AB:VH fanfic directly into email for a Yahoo group, etc.)