Monthly Archives: August 2014

New Dawn/Today’s Prompt

How often do you get to (or have to) be awake for sunrise? Tell us about what happened the last time you were up so early (or late…).

Everyday. My body wakes me up at or around 6 am every morning. It matters not how many hours I have slept nor what I ate or drank the day before. In the winter this is well before dawn, but not so much in the summer. In fact, the longest day of the year, I am not awake at dawn. And maybe a few morns on either side.

I have a hard time remembering how I managed to stay in bed until 10 or 11 in the morning, although that was my pattern for many years. I used to believe that I needed nine or ten hours of sleep every night, and I was definitely cranky if I got less than that for whatever reason. But as I age, I find that sleep does not come as easily or last as long as it once did. Is this why all old men and most old women are curmudgeonly?

I am reminded of the Gordon Lightfoot line shortly after I get up in the morning. “I’m on my second cup of coffee and I still can’t face the day.” I  am frequently this way until noon, but I get a second wind (or monstrously delayed first wind) that can take me through the longest Red Sox game in the evening. Then I get to start the whole cycle again.

Last night, I did not go to bed. The Red Sox did not play and so I listened to news until the wee hours. Then I realized that I had some new information from my characters on my WIP. So I called it up and typed until I had cleaned out the cache, so to speak. Lo and behold, it was 4:30 in the morning and I had a few thousand more words in the manuscript. By then it made no  sense to go to bed, and the cats were already suggesting it was breakfast time. And, no, I did not feed them at that hour. I wouldn’t be sleeping until 6 if I once started feeding them at 4:30.

I for one can attest that sleep is not a bad thing. I just wish we were still as emotionally connected as we were when I was younger.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/new-dawn/

8 Techniques To Up The Drama Factor In Your Short Stories – Writer’s Relief, Inc.

8 Techniques To Up The Drama Factor In Your Short Stories – Writer’s Relief, Inc..

This is a wonderful series of techniques that I will certainly take to heart as I write short stories, something that hasn’t happened yet, but that I’m sure will become part of my repertoire.

This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, an author’s submission service that has been helping creative writers make submissions since 1994. Their work is highly recommended in the writing community, and there are TONS of freebies, publishing leads, and writers resources on their website. Check it out!

Cover Art for Fantastical Trips

I arranged with an English artist to do the cover for my first book. She has done a number of paintings I have admired, including the three dragon paintings now gracing the wall above my desk. They serve as inspiration when things are going slowly. Unfortunately, the story I’m working on now has no dragons in it. At least, not yet. As a Pantser, I cannot say with certainty what will come in the latter stages of the book.

But Fantastical Trips has dragons in it, as well as sorcerers from earth, cat people called felixities, and raven people called avanees. These are important, since the cover design reflects an important  meeting between one of the two top sorcerers and two felixities, an avanee and a kerp, a perfect human only shrunk to about two feet tall.

The sketch of the cover picture can be found at http://www.pinterest.com/barbaraalsop7/fantastical-trips/  [For reasons I do not understand, Pinterest is putting an additional suffix on this link. You will have to erase the language after “…trips/” and then you should get the board.] You will also see there some pictures that I passed on as models for the ones on the cover. There was much hemming and hawing on the issue of the felixities’ legs. There is one scene in which they kneel with Freddy, who starts to laugh when she sees that the felixities’ feet point forward. It was therefore essential to have the felixities drawn with legs that would indeed point forward when they kneel.

As you will see in the rough drawing on the Pinterest site, the legs are successful. The sorcerer is fine looking. There will be a dragon on the back. And I cannot wait until I have the cover in my hands. I shall share it with you when I do. My editor will begin working on the book on October 15, which should give me time to make necessary changes in time for a pre-Christmas release.  I will keep you posted!

The Daily Prompt for 8/22/2014

Pick Your Potion

Captain Picard was into Earl Grey tea; mention the Dude and we think: White Russians. What’s your signature beverage — and how did it achieve that status?

Very simple. I drink water all day, and in the morning may have a cup or two of black coffee. Anything else is outside my comfort zone. Water has been a staple for many years, dating back to the days when I exercised regularly and needed to rehydrate. I also have allergies and, on a potent day, I can lose a fair amount of fluid by coughing, sneezing and blowing my nose. On the really bad days, my eyes and nose are trying to complete the marathon I never did. So water is my body’s elixir.

The coffee is another story. I am mindful that my mother used to drink nothing but coffee, and would have a dozen or more cups a day. She would wake up in the middle of the night, and drink a cup of coffee to settle herself back down. I was on the opposite side of the caffeine spectrum. If I had caffeine after lunch, or post 1 p.m., I would not be able to get to sleep. So coffee has always been a morning drink for me, with the occasional decaf after dinner.

Lately, caffeine no longer wakes me up. I may have finally turned into my mother, as I age through my 60s. I take a cup of coffee on mornings with no oomph in them, and find myself napping half an hour later. No caffeine blockage anymore. But trust me, if I drink the stuff after lunch, I will be up all night. Go figure.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/pick-your-potion/

Daily prompt

Work? Optional!

If money were out of the equation, would you still work? If yes, why, and how much? If not, what would you do with your free time?

I’m retired, and I wouldn’t work, in the sense of “for someone else” if the pay was through the roof. I have enjoyed being able to read when I want to, write when I want to, go to bed when I want to, none of them dependent on another person or responsibility. But I will say that writing, though a labor of love, can sometimes feel like work. I try to set aside time every day to write or edit. I would rather write, but the other needs to be done, and that is where the work comes in.

As a writer, I rarely have “free” time. If I’m not at a medical appointment or something at the Burlington Writers Workshop, I’m usually home at or near my computer. I bought a new recliner in March, but it doesn’t get nearly as much use as the old one, now that I’m writing. So no, I won’t work at a job, but I will work at an avocation!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/work-optional/

Fantastical Trips

This is the final title of my first book, I think. I will be workshopping it through September and the beginning of October with my pals at the Burlington Writers Workshop who will whip it and me into shape. I hope that I will also have editing services on it during the same time frame. And if all goes well, self-publication before the holidays.

The story is fairly simple, and the blurb that will be on the back of the book is I hope a hook:

“A parallel earth has a long history of peaceful coexistence among its five sentient species. One thousand years ago, they signed a compact of nonaggression and nonviolence, but the veneer of civility is wearing thin. Battles between the sorcerers, sorcerers abusing other species, the use of deadly overmagic, all paint a picture of a world that has lost its way.

“There are just two high-grade sorcerers left, and they are brothers who are about to go head-to-head.  One may be stronger than the other, but the weaker is cunning, and sees a way to improve his chances. He invents and tests a spell – which allows him to find his way to a device to store magic!  He knows not what it looks like, but he’ll perform his spell and get whatever may come.

“What exactly is he going to bring from our earth to fulfill his plan?”

I would love to hear from those of you following my blog what you think of this as a blurb. The story begins with the summoning, and what the sorcerer has summoned is a human woman. It is not what he expected, since when he left our earth, there was a healthy and thriving community of Sorceresses, and he fully expected them to be in charge still. But Freddy, the woman he summons, has an ability that is, in a sense, antithetical to the magic practiced by the sorcerers both before and after the dividing of the planet.

Freddy is actually immune to magic, in the sense that magic cannot harm her. It can work on her in the way that the summoning spell can seize her, but only if she has done something to diminish her control over her body. What did Freddy do? I’ll give you a hint. It’s 1969, and she has just completed her freshman year in college. The answer can be found in the first line of the book. Watch this space!