inspiration

Excerpt from Wolf:

Hands poked at her body. Her tail was lifted in the air and then dropped. The same thing done with a paw. Then the hands picked her up and carried her. She could smell the tooth-spitters they carried. The burnt stone smell mingled with the scent of men, musky, like the sweat of a badger. The crisp smell of urine flowed from one of the men.

She knew that man. He was the one she had warned away from Michael and the not-cub. He hadn’t put his hands on her. She knew that too. From the smell of him, he was two metres in front of her. The crunch of the snow under his boots had a nervous quality to it, as if the sound itself shivered.

After a time, the motion of the men stopped and she felt herself placed on a cold surface.

 

 

“Get in the chopper, Harris.”

Sergeant Thomas Jenkins didn’t understand. His men weren’t cowards. But four of them had died in less than three minutes. That didn’t seem possible. Nothing he had fought had ever been that fast, nor that deadly, not unless it was missile based. True, two of the deaths had been from a rifle. The poor sod using it had been taken out by a wolf bigger than the one on the chopper floor. But the thing that had attacked Michael Scott was dead. Without a brainpan, it was just an oddity for the taxidermist. Gerund had mentioned a woman or a wolf that travelled with Michael Scott. A wolf was in the chopper. Jenkins didn’t know anything about a second animal. Or what Harris was ranting about . . . the man was tech support, not recon. Why did the company let people cross train without the skills? Jenkins just shook his head.

We live in an amazing world.

I write about amazing worlds and technology, but it doesn’t come from nowhere. It comes from our world. The one we all share. It’s out there, amazing and beautiful and encompassing, making our lives better and richer, there’s an argument there, and fuller.

Want an example: the 3D printer brought us a mainstream way to get a plastic gun in every hand, as long as you have the money for a printer; approx 2500.00 dollars, and the bullet to go with it.There are moral issues that go with this but that’s not the point of this article. This is: http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/06/07/business-3d-printing-video.html  A 3D printer that makes viable working liver cells. the tech isn’t applicable yet, I don’t think, but it means a huge step forward for medical advances and the availability of body parts. Need a new heart? A new liver? A skin draft. I know I’m extrapolating but that’s the point.

Invisibility used to be only in the realm of magic. http://mashable.com/2013/06/19/super-power-tech/ Now, there are scientific proofs that have the tech coming into the forefront of science. you won’t be able to sneak out of math class yet, but one day… there are 7 more tech advances in this link. Check them out.

And here is a machine that works in the body without the fluids affecting the electronics. http://news.yahoo.com/electronics-withstand-bodily-fluids-140107275.html Pacemakers are sealed from the body for rejection issues, so this is a step forward for organ implants.

There is always a negative to technology, just like with guns, weapons, electricity, but that’s a matter of application as much as the destructive potential of the technology.

How do you want technology used? Need a new heart?

Have a hug from me today. Then find one closer to your life.

Editing

I’ve done a lot of editing in the past fourteen years. Both to my own work and others. And I’ve noticed that all authors have their own brand of mistake that they can’t see through. They may even critique it  in other groups, about other authors, without noticing it in themselves. This is normal. It’s not hypocrisy. Writers have blinders on when it comes to their work. It takes a long time to notice these mistakes and train themselves out of them, and a first draft, no matter how long the writer has been writing, will have these weaknesses. They crop up. Especially if the writer is trying to finish something in a certain period of time.

Here’s a few examples: Spelling. Personally I’m terrible at this and rely heavily on spell check and online dictionaries. Missed commas, missed words, repeated words in a few sentences that don’t reinforce a need or emotion in the characterization or plot.

This is why editors exist, grammar Natzi’s, if you wish. Harsh as that sounds.

But editing is more than grammar, more than copy, it even goes further than sentence structure and flow. There’s structure for a novel that comes into play – developmental editing is a term I keep seeing lately. For the best book on novel structure – in my opinion – see Larry Brooks Story Engineering.

What I see some editors miss, especially those not formally trained, is that the author has a voice and a style and a way of saying things that needs to be respected. Something to be noticed. And this style needs to be acknowledged in the editing, and the note taking for changes to be made in a manuscript. It’s not just a matter of deleting, changing, or modifying sentences, paragraphs or whole chapters of a book. Good editors, truly involve the author in the process.

If your editor isn’t doing this, it may be unconscious, or ego, or training, so give him or her a break, let them know. Don’t take everything they do as gospel, but, stay open to their ideas and suggestions. This has some of the same components of a writing group. It takes a certain amount of bravery. And in the case of an editor, you’re often paying for a service. This means you get to define the experience before it starts. So take part.

A good editor is like a good therapist, they take time to find. Look well.

Hug something today, rocks and walls don’t count.

Writing Groups

I’ve been going to three writing groups a month for ten to twelve years. That’s a lot of critiquing, editing, and being critiqued. Of course, I sometimes take a break as well, from one or another of them. It’s growth work to sit in a room and have people tear holes in your work. It builds a thick skin. It makes you vulnerable. It leaves you open to grow, not only as a writer, but as a person. You see, you have to keep your mouth shut to really appreciate what other people are saying, to not defend your work or your reasoning behind the work. Why? Because your readers will do the same thing and if you defend or retaliate to the validity of your work, you will lose a reader. At least, I think so. I’ve seen writers get so defensive on line that the comments they get in return become caustic. And it just gets worse. Best just to say thank you and move forward.

A critique group is one of the best tools in the world to learn to be a better writer. Of course you’re going to get every type of personality and ego out there. That’s part of the charm and the curse of writing groups.

Some will be grateful that you shared with them, and a piece of your soul; some will be joyous at the effort it took for you to share. Some call that bravery. I do. Especially if you’re shy or introverted, or both. Some are happy to help you improve your writing. They do this with suggestions to make your writing better: how to change your voice; words choices to make stronger sentences; ways to improve characterization, and heaven forbid, grammar and punctuation changes. The last is a slippery slope as far as I’m concerned. It doesn’t matter in a group because if you care about your work, it’s the last thing you do to make your work polished. You may even pay an editor to do this for you, but in a critique group, you’re showing first and second drafts and at that point, it’s all the other stuff that needs details to improve your story.

You will also meet people who will tell you their way of writing is the only way; people who don’t care because it’s not in their genre, and have nothing to say to improve the writing, so it becomes a “why did you write that,” kind of thing; and those that don’t know how to be positive.

Go back to the first paragraph and see the comment about thick skin.

Writing holds a lot of rejection. Get used to it. Learn from it. Listen to the things that most people reinforce, this means it’s being noticed and there may be something wrong there. Things mentioned only once, may really be only personal opinion, and everyone knows what that means on the grand scale of things.

But a writing group should point out your strengths and weaknesses. That’s the important thing. That’s how you grow. It takes time. Be patient.

Give yourself that chance.

Hug someone today.

Struggle

I struggle, not so much with writing, but with the social need to sell myself. To tweet, to Facebook, to blog on this post. These take time from writing, and yes I know I need to do this as well as the writing.  I also don’t submit enough. I need to do more of this. I have a book ready for an editor, and in the next month I’m going get that accomplished. That one I really enjoyed writing. A fantasy setting in a broken land that needed fixing, two strong female heroes that get dragged through the conflict of the story arc and a mystery to how the world came about. It’s a good story. It won’t be my last.

 

Thanks

One more person has bought Wolf: a Military P.A.C. Novel. Thank you, I hope you enjoy the story.

Stuck

After two weeks of being stuck, not writing a damn thing, it’s over, I got the picture I needed to write the next chapter. I hate it when my obsession falls apart.

Love of Words

There’s an old Tibetan saying that kicks around in my memory quite often. It goes like this: Water is wet. Fire burns. When I think on what it means, it speaks of cycles; rain, and the clearing of ecologies so that new growth can take place. Every where I look I can see this kind of renewal. In a flood, a forest fire, the way pain makes us feel and the soothing caress of water that washes it away. Tears. Emotions. Being Human. Opposing forces. Conflict. The analogies go on. It’s what drives us and makes us look for meaning in the world.

Now-a-days I’ve added a line to that Tibetan scroll. Water is wet, Fire burns, Words have power.

It was a five dog day today. I smiled and I made someone laugh. I didn’t hurt anyone. I found more of the ending to a book I’m working on.

I hope you are all well hugged.

A New World

Every time I start a new book,  it means a new world. A place to play,  a backyard for my characters to flex their muscles on new situations.

It’s 2056 in the world of Wolf. Nano-tech, newly acquired by the world through the efforts of the main characters father is just getting out. Software is becoming adaptive. Medical knowledge and warfare is advancing into gene therapy techniques.

The U.N. has power and flexes it to keep the world running on oil while it slowly turns over to alternate power supplies. 3D solar cubes that use any ambient light. In our world, this tech was invented by a twelve year old boy.

Organic L.E.D. lights, cheap and cost effective.

Houses that are grown through genetics. Not a new concept but one that has promise in our world, and sooner than you might think.

Power that uses with hotspots in a home so plugs and wires become obsolete. Charge a battery off a magnetic plate. Got an Ipad, Iphone, Ipod, anyone. Rechargeable batteries are done the same way.

Sodium batteries, not that I mentioned it in Wolf, but there’s always room for a world to change and grow. Like our world.

The tech I use in my worlds comes from ideas in this world. Real life extrapolated into something new and wonderful.

Hug your family, dog, lover, or any of the in between that makes your world rock.

And have a good day.

 

An Excerpt From Wolf

She ran into the clearing in front of the house and stopped. Trembling. Faelon’s pink skin turned silver under the moonlight, as if an ethereal force drove her, like magic catching fire. Michael waited. He had the feeling that something should have happened. That Faelon expected it the same way she breathed in the night air. As if the night should shimmer with enchantment, or the world shift into another realm, like his books told of—but it didn’t.

And then she cried into the night, lifted her voice to the moon and the saddest sound he had ever heard pierced the still cold air.

His heart broke, like glass, shattering over ice.