Welcome to my world and beyond...

A collection of snippets of the books I write and, occasionally, my life and the things that inspire my writing...

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Final Six Sentence Sunday: sniff sniff



Thank you, admins. What a wonderful opportunity you've given to so many.  I've met so many fantastic people through SSS. My gratitude is immeasurable.

For the final post of SSS, I'll stay with the WIP I started my posts with. ATNS

The worst has happened. Rissa, while apart from Cuylrh, has been taken into custody by the High King, Daekartha (Cuylrh's grandfather).  She's been forced to make a choice that will keep her and Cuylrh separated--indefinitely, and the High King ordered her sterilized so that she will never produce an unwanted or unworthy heir to his Empire.

Cuylrh has just become aware that Rissa is in Daekartha's custody. They are in a holy house (church) celebrating the Feast of  the Giver (their God).  Part of Rissa's agreement to the High King is sworn on Jia's life. (the first ever female King's guard)  Daekartha realized Rissa's greatest weakness is that she cares for other people, and manipulated her using that knowledge.

Rissa's POV:



"Just like home, just like Earth.  The holy men talk a good game while they spend precious tithes, gilding walls and altars where starving beggars pray to a God who turns a deaf ear. Why believe, why believe any of it-- that the Giver above loves all? 

She fought her compulsion  to scream in fury at the miseries dealt to the paupers, dealt to anyone but those whom chance or corruption had gifted with wealth and status.  But the thought of two people whom she loved dearly, contained her internal hell-fire of smoldering rage.  Their safety-- Jia’s very life, depended upon Rissa to bite her tongue and just bear the hurt, the insult, and the dealings of self-righteous men who judged her on a random chance of creation—the color of her skin and  her eyes."

That's it. Left hanging in a bad place.  If you'd like to read more next week, please check out the post immediately following this one.  It's HERE

It sure has been fun.  Thanks, everyone.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

6SS-What's next? 8sunday Weekend Writing Warriors

January 27, 2013 marks the end of an era, the Six Sentence Sunday era--of little note to most of the parade of life traipsing by.  But among that parade, SSS had its few, its loyal, and now at its end, its very grateful participants.  Fortunate, I count myself  among them.

And something else that this date denotes is the changing of a guard, the figurative lighting of the torch by new keepers of the flame.

Six Sentence Sunday was such a beautifully simple idea.  You show up at their site, read the rules, sign their list (each week) and then go back to your blog and post your six sentences on Sunday.  Then you visited other people who had signed the list and done the same, leaving words of constructive criticism, encouragement, inspiration.




Writers helping other writers.  It's a beautiful thing.   <------ My favorite Twitter post.  And that is exactly  the spirit that this "Sentence Sunday" posting embodies.

Writing can be an incredibly solitary pursuit. I'd venture this:  It must be a solitary pursuit, at least for stretches of time, sometimes lengthy ones.  And coaxing writers out of their virtual caves once a week to say hello to each other is such a beautiful and beneficial thing.

And it can be a reality check.  Let someone else lay their eyes on a few sentences of your work, and you might gain precious insight.

With that all now said, and looking forward, I am happy to share our news news with other writers in that parade of life, and with anyone who wants to give it a try, join in on the fun, feel the camaraderie.

In essence, what Six Sunday was, will continue.
Here I note that the owner and admins of Six Sentence Sunday in no way endorse wewriwa (or any other site), nor is their logo for sale or available for use by others.

Marcia Kuma of Lettergo , Dana Renelt of Idiots and Earthquakes and yours truly, are continuing the Sunday postings, and invite others to join us by signing the linky-list at Weekend Writing Warriors .  That is www.wewriwa.com

The rules are much the same as our much enjoyed Six Sentence Sunday, with the exception that we have upped the sentence limit to eight sentences per post.

We are planning a giveaway for our first Sunday posting on Feb 3, 2013.  It is a random drawing based on participation. That's all you have to do to qualify--sign up and post your eight sentences to be included in the drawing.

And we'd love it if you followed us on  Facebook Weekend Writing Warriors  and Twitter Weekend Writing Warriors Hashtags #wewriwa and #8sunday 

With Weekend Writing Warriors, we've striven to do something different--a complete departure from the Six Sunday name is most easily notable.  Yet we hope to keep some aspects the same, the most important of which is:  the kindred spirit among the writers who frequent the site and postings.  

And we want all of the SixSunday admins to know how grateful we are for all their time and effort, and what a good experience it's been for us.  And please know that our gratitude is immeasurable for having been given the opportunity to meet so many authors and writers.  One of our goals is to keep that opportunity alive for others.

Thank you ladies, from the bottoms of our hearts. And best wishes to all of you on your writing careers! 

Admins

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday is a bloghop--and one of the friendliest. Participants post six sentences of their writing, then readers hop from blog to blog, sharing opinions, critiques and encouragement.  We know what a solitary pursuit writing can be--and Six Sentence Sunday is a great way to meet other writers, and take a break from our solitude. Complete rules and a sign up form are at the site here.
 
Returning to ATNS. The scene:
 
Rissa,  Cuylrh (who rescued her from her alien abduction by actually abducting her ) and Cuylrh's first guard, Abraxum, are following a trail down off a mountain, the top of which they've spent the night on.  It's cold.
 
The old guard following Rissa, who is following Cuylrh,  notices Rissa rubbing her arms to warm them. 
 
The young King (Cuylrh) has taken issue with Rissa's langage, and is steeled to teach her his native tongue, Rialtan.  He's told Abraxum that it's for her own good. For her very survival. They each must do their part to teach her the language, and part of that is forcing her to speak it by ignoring her native tongue and her gesturing.
 
This is what happens:
 
"Without  word or whisper, Abraxum removed his jacket and put it on her shoulders, letting it rest over her thin blouse. 

She slid her arms into the sleeves, turned to look at Abraxum, at his perpetually stoic expression and said, “Thank You” in Earth English. 

The young King stopped, turned around and raised his eyebrows, then repeated a little more firmly but not unkind, “Rialtan.”  He moved to within inches of her, and with a fair imitation of her Earth English said, “Thank You.” After a  pause for—she guessed,  dramatic effect, he added, “Shushan.” 

Rissa nodded, looked at Abraxum again and said, “Shushan, Abraxum.”

Please visit the other sixers at the sixsunday.com site!  And thank you stopping by.

One more SSS post. It has been one heck of a ride.  And what a wonderful and generous thing those ladies of SSS have done. Thank you. :-)
 
 
 
 
 



Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Pocketful of Joy

Today was NattieFriday.  It happens every other week.  I pick my granddaughter up at preschool, and we get to spend the rest of the day together. Usually, we gear it toward something she'd especially enjoy; doting grandparents have that luxury.



Most recently, we stumbled upon her affinity for the soft pretzel joint in the local mall.  So after we picked her up today, we cut around town to get to the place with great pretzels--and the much coveted caramel sauce to dip them in.

It was pretty cold here today, in spite of the brilliant sunshine beating down from heavenly blue skies.  Colder than it's been most of the winter, so Nattie had on her thick winter coat. After eating our pretzels, and then leaving-- since when asked, Nattie needed nothing at the mall, we were almost to the doors when she stuck her hands in her coat pockets.  With her right hand she retrieved a pair of dirty socks.   Through giggles she said, "I forgot to give these to mommy".

What followed was her left hand retrieving from her pink jacket pocket, two strings of beads, one blue, one purple. Her face lit up with delight and her eyes fairly twinkled when she said through a big smile, "Look grammie! I forgot these were in my pocket!"  She proceeded to put on the necklaces, and she looked like a little princess for the effort. Like a happy little princess.

Pap said, "You know what I always find in my pocket that I forget is there?"

She shook her head no as we continued across the parking lot.

"Lint. Sawdust. Dirt."

"Eww!'"

Then do you know what her grammie (me) almost said????  I had to bite my tongue; it was so close to coming out. I wanted to tell her that  it's a really good day when you reach your hand in your coat pocket and find money you forgot was in there.

Yeah...  I almost said it.

And you know what stopped me?  That look of complete joy on her face as she slid those necklaces on.  How could finding money ever compare with finding something that brought such delight? Such complete  joy?

She has all of her life to form the misunderstanding that money is happiness. And if she's really lucky, she'll develop a realistic perspective about money--in the bank, or discovered in a jacket pocket. It's just money, not a thing of delight.

I write this without trying to deny a truth:  A lack of money can cause a lot of things that aren't good.  Stress is high on that list, and unhappiness for a lot of different reasons. I've been there.

But in one of those complex laws of life, the exact opposite isn't true.  Having money doesn't necessarily equate with having happiness.

But...sometimes a little string of purple or blue plastic princess beads does.

It's all in perspective.   And sometimes, it's a lot more joyful to see things through the eyes of a child


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Six Sentence Sunday January 13, 2013





Six Sentence Sunday is a bloghop--and one of the friendliest. Participants post six sentences of their writing, then readers hop from blog to blog, sharing opinions, critiques and encouragement.  We know what a solitary pursuit writing can be--and Six Sentence Sunday is a great way to meet other writers, and take a break from our solitude. Complete rules and a sign up form are at the site here.




This week, I return to ATNS.  During a celebration of Rissa successfully competing with a sword, Rissa had a scene with Cuylrh and his crew, and fled.  She's been hopping shuttles at space stations, and Cuylrh has been searching for her, quietly putting out the word (quietly so his grandfather doesn't learn that Rissa is undefended).  In this scene, his cousin, Dracorh, came across Rissa playing with refugee children at a station and briefly began to hit on her until he saw Cuylrh's pendant slip out of her shirt.  He contacted Cuylrh and gave him the news, then proceeded to occupy Rissa's time until Cuylrh could arrive at the station.  Rissa figured it out just before Cuylrh and his crew arrived.  She took off running across the shuttle docking area.
~note~ "chade' is a Rialtan word, translated means "bitch".

Next to reach her, Dracorh tackled her, tumbling both of them onto the metal floor.

Underdog or not, it was a full out assault on Rissa’s part as she kicked her feet against his ribs, and bit anything coming close to her teeth. 

More guards arrived and tried to get a grip on an arm or an ankle. She was crazed, scratching, punching, slapping. Her foot connected with one of them, buckling his knee as he fell--cursing in pain, "Crazy chade!"

Limited to defending himself, Dracorh had one arm raised shielding his face while he batted at her hands and feet with the other.

Money passed from hand to hand as a crowd of eager-faced dockworkers gathered to witness how this was going to end.  No one would have wagered in her favor if they’d known that a new player was about to come on the scene.

That's it. Comments and criticisms greatly appreciated.

Anyone hosting a sunday bloghop--to replace SSS? It's getting close...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Camelot-not: Winter, mid-latitudes

"...And there's a legal limit to the snow here
In Camelot.
The winter is forbidden till December
And exits March the second on the dot..."

Lyrics by: Alan Jay Lerner

And who wouldn't like it that way?  Alas, here in Camelot-not, in the mid-latitudes of temperature and precipitation variations, there is no such thing as rules for the weather.  

I was reminded of that while watching the  local forecast today.  We had a snowstorm dump 8 inches on the 26th of December, and an additinal 4 inches over the folowing few days. It has remained cold; Camelot in action, I think.  And now?  A January thaw.  A BIG January thaw.  A week's worth of temps well above freezing through the day, and flirting with freezing overnight.  Oh, and a couple days of rain mixed in.

No matter how you stack it, it adds up to ice.  And with 3/4 of a mile of country lane between me and a public road, no matter how you stack it, ice adds up to...adventure?

That might not be the correct word, but hey, I'm trying to be upbeat about all of this.  I like snow, and I even like the cold, but ice? Now there's something I've had a love/hate relationship with all of my life.

Part of that probably comes from having lived on a hillside since the day I was born--and I was born in mid-Decemebr when the season of ice was just getting a grip.  My dad used to joke that we all had one leg longer then the other just so we could stand up straight.


My dad was an ice-fighter from way back.  He'd save the ashes from the fireplace to sprinkle on the paths leading down over the hilldside to the barn, the grainery and corn-cribs, and to where the car was parked--waiting to haul us to the Catholic school 5 miles away. 

I can picture an icy winter morning, making it almost to the top of the hill on the lane, my dad leaning slightly forward, a death-grip on the steering wheel, and he'd rock, forward, back, forward, back (not the car--him). The tires were singing as they spun at breakneck speed while we went nowhere. Just sitting on that hill spinning.

I could see my father's lips moving--not sure what he said to himself, but always sort of figured it was prayer--"Dear Lord, just nudge us up over this last little bit of hill and we'll be on our way."

And I knew that, just like me, my younger sister and all three of my brothers were, no doubt, reciting prayers of their own, "Dear Lord, please, don't let the car make it out the lane. Please, let us stay home today."

Obviously my dad's prayers held much more weight than ours--combined. I can't recall a single ice-fighting morning that we didn't make it out the lane, and then to the Catholic School. ~sigh~

One winter morning, years later (and years ago) , after my father (along with his direct prayer line to God on icy days) was gone, I was living in that same valley with those same hillsides.   I went to bed knowing that the night was cold outside of the house. Still, in the sub-freezing end of evening, there was something in the air, something faintly recognizable as a Chinook. There was something almost alien about the gentle wind kicking up. It felt like it could warm up a bit.

My alarm sounded at 4:00 AM, set so early so I could be on time for my 5:00 AM start at work. I hurried to dress and pack my lunch, then was ready to go.

I poked my head out the door and discovered that it was raining and  warmer than when I'd gone to bed.  Pennsylvania February...marginally less predictable than a Pennsylvania January.

I started down the hillside to where my Jeep was parked, doing the side shuffle-slide-scoot-scoot move with my feet the whole way down past the springhouse. Then the hill got really steep.  I sized it up in the pitch black of the winter morn, and knew I had no time to dally. So, I went for it.

The side shuffle move worked for a split second, and then I was on my hip, being sucked down the hill by gravity on the rain-slicked ice. There is not time to think when things like this happen. Any amount of elevation and subsequent grounding can lead to bad things--broken bones, concussions for example. So, I instinctively stretched uphill, sliding with my feet first.


The rainfall and the melting ice had converged at this part of the hill, fairly flushing me down in the middle of a small stream. Nothing like an ice cold romp in a temporary creek. ~the memory is funny--but I was pretty crabby that morning~.

I continued to gain speed, and in the darkness, even panicked, I could see the Jeep tires looming ahead. Stretching, I rolled from my side to my stomach, reaching...reaching...   while the world continued to blur behind me. I lunged for a tire, hoping to grab it's studded lug tread, but soon discovered how it must feel to compete in a greased pig contest at the county fair. I had it for a second, and then...gone.

I was now sliding down the hill on my stomach, perpendicular to the hill, making a five foot wide squeegie of the water ahead of me.  I won't lie: four letter words let loose from my mouth--and they weren't dang! or darn!  Briefly I pictured my journey continuing down across the lower pasture field,  and then being dumped into Rough Run Creek.

Right where things briefly leveled out, I finally slowed, you know, right where all of the water slowed too. I was now laying on my stomach, on top of ice, in a small pond/very large puddle. 

At this point, it became quite clear that it was actually a really bad idea to try to drive the Jeep out a half mile lane of sheet ice slicked with rain.

I then began the arduous journey back up the hill, on my hands and knees.  As the old saying goes, "three steps forward, two steps back."  The hill was a lot longer going up than it was coming down. 

Ice 1 Teresa 0.  I didn't make it to work that day.  It was one of those silver wintery days, when rain came and went, and a gray veil of mist hung among the trees and fields.  

My tea was hot, my clothes were dry and warm. And I'd added one more story of survival in the harsh winter of Camelot-not in this mid latitude existence.