Things have been quiet in this blog for too long. The unlit space stretches beyond my imagination, and a chill wind rattles the empty pages like dead leaves. I poke around a bit, a blind search for my muse.
“Hey! Wakey-wakey! We’ve got a blog to write,” I called into the void.
My voice echoes, but I know he’s there. The unmistakeable scent of grape Pixie Stixs teases my tastebuds. His exhale is audible and pours through the passage from afar, a warm current sluicing the frigid stillness. Then the heart of my inspiration, the ebony dragon who changes size at will, rouses from the depths and settles near.
“About time,” Zeb said. His voice booms.
I can’t see him, but he “sounds” large today–and he’s peckish.
“Where’ve you been? I’m hungry,” he said, then yawned. The vibrations rumble through the blog’s corridors, disturbing a fine silt that sprinkles on my hair and clothes.
Something else rustles in a corner. Something . . . new. I peer into the DrakaenWood cave and answer his complaint with one of my own.
“Can’t see a damn thing in here. All the lanterns are gutted.”
“Would you like a light switch?” Zeb sounds bemused.
“Of course not.” I extend my arms, encompassing the breadth of the landscape in my soul. “DrakaenWood is a rural setting–there’s no electrical here.”
“And the reason for that is . . .?” he prods.
“It’s the credible framework for what I write,” I grumble. “The Reader could never take me seriously if I conjured a light switch on a cave wall or a Live Oak and . . . oh. Oh, I see what you’re doing.”
As a creature of logic, Zeb can do nothing with my complaints. It’s been so long since I’ve been here, I almost forgot that while his resources are limitless, he doesn’t make decisions; that’s my job as a writer. I face his slow, widening grin; it gleams in the dark, backlit by the eternal fire in his belly. His teeth are mountain peaks, haloed by white smog.
“Light it up, please,” I asked. “I’d like stars. Millions of them.”
And he does. He’s a grouchy thing at times, but usually quite accommodating.
The room flares with silvery light, and . . . Oh. Hello. What’s this?
Blinking Trio of Owls
The blog has gained a few more inhabitants in my absence.
“Zeb?” I arch an eyebrow.
“We’re keeping them,” he announces. “You like the noise they make. They eat the voles and the little one cleans up the place.”
The unwavering stare of the small owl in the center catches me off-guard.
“I do? They . . . what? Why do we have voles?”
He looks sheepish, and it’s clear this is a matter for later.
Back to the task at hand . . .
I’ve been invited by Rhiann Wynn-Nolet to participate in The Writing Process Blog. If you know Rhiann, you know that her blog posts are an unpredictable blend of the extraordinary and humor, and are filled with much heart that catches one up in surprising ways. A co-founder of the Like A Virgin pitch contests (opportunity for an unpublished author to get her/his completed MS in front of an agent), and the popular weekly blog hop (now in hiatus) Thursday’s Children, Rhiann knows how to gather the troops and get things hopping, but she’s also an amazing friend and I’ve learned a lot from her. Her current project is a dark psychological suspense featuring a teenage boy who discovers a mermaid; despite her indisposed state, he believes she may be the perfect girlfriend.
What am I currently working on?
Zeb nods. “Pray enlighten us. It’s been so long the tails on the WellerMelon have fallen off and regrown themselves twice.”
“Oh, shush,” I reply. “Everyone knows I have only one writerly love . . . “
His head drops low, a side angle that crowds my view with a seven foot dragon’s eye. The reflection of my image swirls in the prism of his iris; facets of me tumble and fold as if in a kaleidoscope. His fathomless pupil holds a glare that stops my declaration mid-statement.
“Er, um . . . one writerly love besides my indispensable muse, of course.”
“Naturally,” he purred.
StarDust is the name of my series. But before you go conjuring the image of glittering debris suspended in air, this is not the fairy pollen you know and love. Trivia fact re: Star and Dust represent two distinct entities– my protagonist and my villain. Can you guess which is which, or what each represents? Second trivia fact: my epic is filled with new rotations on traditional concepts.
Lumen, is my current project. It’s the first in the series and introduces the reader to the world of O’a, and the four cultures that inhabit it. Two cultures are mighty nations, one excelling in technology, and the other in magic. A longstanding, cold war between them never progresses due to the dangerous landscape which separates their lands. The third culture is the “undesirable” element no one loves, who cannot even find it within them to love themselves. The fourth are the destroyers, driven by a bone-withering evil. They are created of the stuff nightmares fear.
At the heart of the matter are two very young, abandoned children, Michael and Arianne. Each follows a separate path that takes them headlong into danger. Their prospective guardians, Rhys, and Copper, are the most unlikely and, for all appearances, unsuitable for the job. Rhys is the Warden of DrakaenWood’s son who has just lost his birthright and wants it back at any cost. Copper is a barren, social pariah who married the Chancellor of Edo’s defiant son. Though her dearest wish is a baby of her own, Copper’s high-profile status makes it difficult to hide the child she shouldn’t have, the one whose origin, in a place like Edo, is a death sentence for them all.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
My work is a marriage of the ordinary laced with Magic Realism, and the extraordinary–High Fantasy in all it’s full glory. Even if you don’t read Fantasy, I’m going to suck you in with characters that feel like people you know; troubles that resonate; and a landscape that feels so familiar that you will have fallen in my world, accepting that stone gryphons fly, before you realize it.
Why do I write what I write?
To quell the voices in my head. And to win a few battles for those who have no voice.
How does my individual writing process work?
Each word is dragon-breathed. Seriously. And as long as I feed him, Zeb is a virtual well of ideas. Though he’s known for favoring cat treats, the real sustenance is music. The notes reach deep into my subconscious and draw forth the emotion and memory, providing building blocks for the construct. It’s a process. While the music is absorbed, the mulling wheel turns. Then it’s time for silence and keyboard clacks. I’m a terrible typist in that after thousands of words, I still watch my fingers–but those practiced little digits are a speedy blur.
Oh–and lots of liquids keep everything well-oiled. Preferably coffee lattes with almond milk, please.
Please meet a few of my Writing Tribe members whose gracious consent has landed them in the middle of this blog hop. (Thank you so much for playing along) ~
“Mama” Jo, as she is lovingly called by *Pitches & Plots members on FB, is a highly effective, can-do bundle of energy and spitfire. She writes Comic Fantasy, peppering it with the Paranormal, and also delves into both Urban and High Fantasy. Her current work, Clock Strikes Twelve, features an endearing but beset head-minion, named Twelve. As suits his position, Twelve’s standards are impeccable, and he’s quite determined to divorce his vampiric master of a newly developed pop-culture fetish–one that endangers the lives of each household member in his service. Setting the household back to it’s proper standing, is an honorable task that Twelve would happily die for. Unfortunately, the only way to fulfill his duty is the acceptance of change, a condition abhorrent to the very nature of his soul and, for a proper minion, a fate worse than death. Jo’s sublime mix of comedic timing and magic realism had me laughing so hard that Pie (my cat) ran off to hide under a bed.
Is it surprising that Jo lives in FutureLand? Let’s spice the **soup pot, and share that home is a caravan in the middle of a paddock in the bush. With this much resourceful determination you can’t be surprised that, at the age of four, she had already declared her intention to be a famous author. There’s no doubt in my mind it’s only full steam ahead for her–on batwings, of course.
*Pitches & Plots is a Facebook writing group.
**There has been discussion among P&P members that Jo’s muse may actually be soup.
Bernadette “Bee” doesn’t believe in genre profiling–“I just write the story that comes to me, and as it develops other people put it in genre category.” she says. That process works well for her as her debut novel, Burning Lily (Wild Child Publishing), is set for publication in 2014. It’s a Paranormal/Magic Realism with a touch of Macabre, evokeing haunting visuals, and realistic, sometimes gritty dialogue. I would call her writing fearless and captivating, much like the author herself. Her deep respect for life comes through her work and her voice, something I admire greatly about her. Bee’s currently working on The 7th Spinner.
From Burning Lily (with the authors permission): “Some days, Phil joked that he’d lost that incisor in a fight with a mean-ass poltergeist in the Hills’s family crypt. Other days, he claimed he got shit-faced drunk, fell into some rich old dude’s open grave and whacked his tooth out on the ornate coffin trim. Lily could never tell what the truth was, and what he made up.”
Nicole’s blog is well-visited for the wonderful short stories she writes and serializes over a several week stint. Though her talent is big, she’s much beloved for the genuine warmth and the generous support she brings to her Writerly Tribe. Her steady heart and work ethic is a constant inspiration to me. Shout out to congratulate her and her loved ones on their recent (and very beautiful) addition to the family! Nicole’s newest short story, The Mortal Years, is published in the the TV Gods anthology. Her current WIP, Empyrean, is a Sci-Fi tale of two extraordinary cultures who must overcome mounting odds, and redefine themselves in a visually rich world. Nicole starts her day with green tea and raw honey, and loves to run the rural paths near her home where the gorgeous landscape — (I’ve seen it in photos). She says if it weren’t for the GPS on her phone she’d probably be lost on a back road somewhere.
Kim writes historical fiction. Her current work, The Oak Lovers, is based on the colorful life of her great-grandparents; and landscape painter Carl Ahrens and his second wife, Madonna, an artist in her own right. I first met Kim through Writer Unboxed where she works as administrative assistant, more specifically in the lively posting feed of our large and wondrous WU Facebook community, whose members we lovingly call our Writerly Tribe. Her father’s career of building golf courses took her afar as child; she’s lived in Mexico, The Philippines, and Finland, but today she calls Dallas, TX home, and resides there with her husband and two artistic daughters.
Marta oozes creativity. When she’s not developing eye-catching artwork–novels cut and sliced to make memorable images–she’s using her talent to create words into Magic Realism, that encompasses both YA and Woman’s Fiction genres. Her debut novel The Blue Jar (published by Plum Tree Books) is described as quirky and off-beat and was born the day an imaginary set of marbles clattered down a wooden staircase. She’s currently working on her sophomore novel, Drowning Karma, and on an online serial of sorts, named The Fairy Tale Asylum. I have already dubbed her the Title-Master for obvious reasons. She makes her FB friends laugh with her humorous observations, and balances her quiet work with speed skating for exercise.
Thanks for visiting! 😀 What is your writing process? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below: