January 30, 2003

Just finished Lamenita, which will be my submission to the February challenge, once I have it revised and ready. The first draft is 1600 words, which is unusually short for me. This is good! Shorter stories are an easier sell. I've got a lot of stories that are just not going to go far because they are too long, and I can't really see a good way of cutting them. Hells, one is actually going to grow, probably, when I hit it with revisions. *groans*

Anyway, the challenge rules can be found at the Challenge page of the SFFZoo.

An excerpt...

Dust rose from the battlefield. Hundreds of heavy boots stomped, digging into the dirt, bodies falling heavily to make still more dust. It was thick in the air, and raw in her lungs. She drew in a deep breath, holding it, and letting it out as she swung the great blade in an arc away from her body, sliding into the joints between the armored plates of her opponent. She felt the shock up her arms, felt it rock her, and she had to hold a moment before yanking the blade back and letting the lifeless body slip to the ground.

It also has what is perhaps my favorite finale line, which means, of course, it'll end up getting axed in a revision. But for now, it makes a good endcap to the story, I think (and can be repeated here, without destroying the rest of it)...

There was no answer, no sound as water welled within her eyes and slowly dripped, carving tracks through the mud upon her cheeks.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:10 PM
January 29, 2003
Wake up!

The problem with writing is that sometimes it acts as a wake-up call. I was exhausted this evening, wishing I could go to bed around 9:30 (odd for me, but I've been tired lately). But I had to stay up and await the laundry being finished.

So I settled in to write.

And then I looked up and discovered that 900 words later it was also more than an hour and a half later. Wow. I'm happy with what I wrote (we'll see if I still feel that way tomorrow) and now that I've noticed the time I feel like I'm about to pass out. So it's off to bed with me.

But even after all this time as a writer, I'm still amazed at how writing can feel like being "out of time" for a while. It just flits away and is gone.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:58 PM
Writing Marathon -- Week #4

Okay, so its just about the end of the marathon. One more week after this. Again, I've only produced 1900 words. Which means my daily average in real life seems to be more like 250 than the 500 I wanted. Yuck. However, that doesn't take into account gaming, blogging, critting, or revising. All of which take up a lot of time and do produce words, but they aren't counted.

On the other hand, I've been feeling really creative, trying to bounce off in sixteen different directions, and haven't been up for actually *finishing* things, just starting them. So my new goal isn't just to write, but to write the same bloody thing for enough days for it to be DONE.

Right now, I've got a modern day fantasy, an SF, a fantasy for the Feb Challenge (twist the old tired "The Chosen One" plotline and make it new), and I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something, all in the works at the same time, plus revisions on the three stories I already posted, and revisions on "Shades of Grey".

I need more readership on the Workshop. *groans* I'm not sure how to get it. I'm trying to crit more and more, but Grey still has only one reader, and I need far more in depth comments than that. I think its because it's YA. Unfortunately. So I'm just going a little nuts trying to do crits and hoping someone reads it and decides well, it's good enough to follow. Problem is, I think it's just a little too typical YA to engage their interest. It almost makes me want to trunk it, but I want to get through that first revision and really feel like it's done before I set it aside. Y'know?

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:24 PM
Icky Fish

We've decided that the fish have a small case of Ick. Yes, Ick. There is a fishy disease called Ick.

The treatment is actually pretty simple. We added medicine to the tank, and took out the charcoal filter so that it wouldn't strip all the meds out of the water. This means there is more oxygen bubbling through the tank.

The fish really seem to like the bubbling. Most of the ones which are left (the tetras -- both types, and the algae eater) are all very active and chasing each other about. So this weekend we'll go look for a bubbler for the tank. I think that'll make them happier in the long run. We hadn't though we needed one because its a smaller tank.

The fish are still a really peaceful thing. Dani likes to watch the fish and play while she is in bed, before she goes to sleep. She loves them. And I'm glad they make her so happy.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 08:29 PM
January 28, 2003
A Fishy Calamity

Well, we have had our first, and our second, fishy calamity. On Sunday evening Dani called out to us the BlackMolly was sick. And tonight we lost the marble molly.

Dani's upset. Not as upset as I'd expected, actually. She's got a good, level head on her shoulders. Although from past experiences, we should get sudden nighttime hysterics in about two months. I think that's how long it took for the reality of Chester being gone to hit.

We think we've got a minor bug in the tank. Kevin's going to go pick up some stuff to treat it with tomorrow after work. Hopefully we won't lose any more fish before then. I think I'm going to also suggest he pick up a small fishbowl in case we need to quantine the ones we think might be ill.

Wow, the whole fish thing seemed so *easy* at first!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:51 PM
January 22, 2003
They Got it

Got an email that the story was received by the editors. Time to keep my fingers crossed and pace around a lot. *laughs*

On the other hand, I've also outlined five more chapters for the novel. I've definitely got a lot of moving around of chapters to go through, and some new material to add in. There's a lot of fleshing out. This is the hard part, and it just seems to get harder and harder.

Joined a new workshop today. The online workshop has started a romance oriented workshop. Since I've got a few plans for romance novels I thought it would be good to go there and hopefully do some crits and get involved. I'm not ready to post material there yet, but I can make friends and be a part of the group. Which will help me learn and be ready to post sometime soon.

I'm going to be buried in writing projects if I ever really get going. Gods, wouldn't it be nice to write full time??

Now its time to do game moves and see if I can get a critique written for the SF/F/H workshop.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:25 PM
January 21, 2003

I wanted to find a song snippet I wrote nearly ten years ago -- intending to use it as a jumping off point for a story. The song referenced the "Taste of Betrayal", so I put in a search for files containing "betrayal."

I found it interesting how many times it turned up on my hard drive.

Some of the files are roleplaying files. Logs from PBEM or writeups of character backgrounds. One is an archived mail file. One is an ICQ log, which is interesting, considering I put the person who I chatted with as one of my top betrayers of trust.

I did find the song snippet, too. I originally wrote it for a roleplaying game -- my first Amber game. It represented Jenny's first taste of betrayal, both being betrayer and betrayed. It was a sour, bitter thing to get through, and changed her utterly.

But seeing all those files made me think how much a part of life betrayal is. And how sad that is.

Betrayal is such an intensely personal thing. What one party sees as betrayal may seem only a mistake by the other. Sometimes it is unwitting. Sometimes it is cruelly planned.

Have I been betrayed? Yes. My trust has been betrayed, most often by men whom I trusted to believe the same thing I did about a relationship. Often because they *told* me they did, only to find out later that they meant something else entirely.

Have I ever betrayed someone? I'm certain of it, although I don't think it was ever planned that way. Not in real life (I'm an expert at it in roleplaying games). I try to do what I would like to see done, but I also know I fail at it regularly. I'm not as good a person as I would like to be. And sometimes that is seen as betrayal.

Have I betrayed someone and have it nearly break a relationship? Gods yes. I have had things go horribly horribly wrong, and it was for varying reasons but was seen as betrayal. I hope I've done well by my friends since... like I said, I'm not perfect, but I try within the confines of my life. I love, I believe. I just don't think I've very good at getting it right. And those conflicts of belief... where I think one way, and someone else thinks another. They are hard to get past and to work through. But friends are worth it.

Betrayal isn't a pretty, or an easy, topic. I hope I can do it justice as a writer.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:25 AM
January 20, 2003
Slow Going

Fourteen chapters outlined now, and one chapter revised with about 200 words or so added. Slowly, slowly it gets fleshed out.

Tomorrow's goal is to revise chapter two so I can get them posted. Then I'll need to do more crits before I can post more anyway. Yikes! I don't know how I'll ever keep up. And I have no idea how people who've posted more than one novel have done it!! Critting takes a seriously long time.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:17 PM
Writing Marathon -- Week #3

And the third week has ended, with me at only 1900 words for the week, instead of 3000. Yikes. Yeah, that's way below limit. On the other hand, most of those words came from outlining Shades of Grey, which is starting to work on turning into a real novel, and not just a 50,000 word short story. Which is what it felt like.

Chris (yeah, the guy who got me doing NaNo in the first place) read through and red-penned the whole thing with some great comments. That helped jump-start me back into revising it again, and I'd like to get two chapters up onto the writing workshop per week. We'll see how that goes.

As I've already said, I spent time on "Metamorphosis" this week, too, revising it and getting it out the door. I've also spent an awful lot of time on market research. Unfortunately, I've been finding it really hard to sell stories over the size of 5k words, which is a bad thing. Since I tend to write longer stories. *groans*

However, I did find a possible market for "Fade", so that's on the rev list for this week. The publication is only biannual, so I have until June 1st to submit it. I just have to make sure to keep it under 1700 words, and not revise it to death. But it *does* need revision, very much so.

And again, like I said last week, as long as I'm doing *something* each day that's good, right?

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:44 PM
January 19, 2003
Making it difficult....

Why does the cat feel she absolutely MUST sleep on the pages of the novel I'm trying to write???

Posted by Deb Atwood at 05:47 PM
Random Weekend Ramblings

It was a long week, and a long weekend. But damnably productive, at least during the weekend.

Lots of random "I wish I had blogged this" thoughts this weekend. Let's see if I can scroll back and grab a few.

We set up one of Ryan's Christmas presents today -- a rock'n rider trike. It can be a trike, or pushed as a trike, or it has a frame it can sit on like a rocker. Ry absolute loves it. He climbs on it to rock, and he pushes it around, and he laughs with glee. Its great! Of course, he also took it and neatly leaned it against the side of the play-yard so he could use it as a ramp to climb out. And he got yelled at for standing on the seat... he is such a climbing boy.

He talks more and more now. Words come out when I least expect them. Sometimes I hear a bit of chatter, almost under his breath, and when I listen I realize that what he's saying makes remarkable sense. Like earlier, when he was looking at the pocket on his new bib I could swear he was saying "pocket" over and over. And he did another one in the play-yard, but I can't remember it now. Finally, he's putting words together although I suspect I'm still the only one who understands most of them.

Unfortunately, it was too cold for sledding today. So Dani didn't get to have some Rachel time. Which was probably for the best, since we got to really spend a lot of time cleaning the house. Instead, we're going to meet Rachel for dinner tomorrow, before gymnastics, taking advantage of the holiday.

Dani has been a very helpful little girl today. We made a really intensive effort this weekend, really turning the downstairs inside out. I'd call it spring cleaning if it were spring! Dani jumped right in and helped (well, with a little prodding sometimes). She cleaned her room beautifully, reorganizing some of it to make it seem bigger and more well, organized. Then she cleaned up her able, and put away the things we asked. She helped Dad take down the Christmas tree and put away the decorations. All in all, she was very helpful and it is very appreciated!!

Yesterday Dani went to Carter's birthday party. She brought the camera that Santa gave her in her stocking and shot about a whole roll of pictures. Its her second roll. I've dropped both off to be developed and will pick them up tomorrow after gymnastics. I also found an exposed roll of film in the house so I dropped that off as well. I wonder when it's from?

We are trying to develop some organization in the downstairs. We're tired of being overrun by children's toys. So we have all of Ry's toys in a corner right now, with only three things in the play-yard. Tonight we are going to go through all of them, putting them back into appropriate groups, and then keep them organized. That way he can only have the ones we give him at a time, and we can keep rotating them. I think he goes into toy overload sometimes. It worked really well after his nap, earlier. With only one puzzle, the ball game, and the rocker, he really concentrated on one toy at a time and played with each one for a while. And I got to see that with only one set of puzzle pieces, he can pay enough attention to put it together mostly correctly! I was impressed.

And now its break time. We're treating ourselves to ordering dinner since we've been working so hard today. And I'm going back to work on reworking my novel. I'd like to finish getting the new outline done so that I can go through and add stuff in. I'm really excited to do the revision and start posting it.

Yeah, its been a long weekend, but definitely a productive one.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:39 PM
It's Off!

Okay, "Metamorphosis" is in the mail, sent off to the Law of Desire anthology as of yesterday (Saturday). I've got it logged into Sonar as out, and now I can sit here and whimper when I haven't heard. And either rejoice or cry when I have. *smiles*

The most important thing is, I'm not planning to send it anymore -- it's gone and I can't get it back!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 04:10 PM
January 17, 2003
The Terror

I suppose this belongs on the Voices page more appropriately, as it is about writing. But it affects me so completely that I wanted to put it on the main blog.

I've completed the final changes to the manuscript "Metamorphosis." I've completed the cover letter. Tomorrow they, along with a SASE, will be dropped in the mail and sent off to the anthology the story was written for.

I'm absolutely terrified. I haven't submitted anything in years. I'm looking forward to hearing back and at the same time and both scared they will and won't take it.

Why am I scared that they will? Well, if they do, then my first two credits will *both* be erotica. I may be making my own name difficult to sell. Not to mention that I can't really go around yelling about getting published at work if its erotica. I mean, what if someone asks to see it? *laughs* Oh yeah, they so don't know me there. Even some of those who do think they know me, don't. Okay, yeah, there is one who does. But the rest might be rather shocked to know that I not only write erotica, but that at least this time I wrote dark erotica about an obsessive gay man.

Well, there, I guess the secret's out. *chuckles* If any of them are reading this, now they know.

Gods, the worst part is most definitely the waiting. I'm going to be counting down. And I'm thinking they won't even be reading until the submissions are all in. So not a single word until way after March 1st. Eep!!!!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:56 PM
January 13, 2003
Is it a full moon?

Okay, I've gotta start tracking things better. I'm turning into bitch from hell today, and even though I *swear* I've got reason to be pissy about the things I'm pissy about, it seems like I'm going overboard. Which is usually a herald of things to come.

But still... I don't think I was entirely unreasonable.

Mondays are gymnastics day. I leave at 4:45 in order to pick up Dani early and get her to her class enough before 6 that we have time to get a dawdling almost 5 year old inside, shoes & socks off and put away, and a pit stop all before going out on the floor. So I'm getting onto route 90 so I can speed down the highway towards daycare, and I'm driving Kev's car so everything's just a tad unfamiliar, and my pocket starts ringing.

Well, too bad. My phone's in my pocket, and with two layers of outerwear over it, plus nicely molded seats that mean I have to be a gymnast myself to get to the phone, not to mention the lack of a hands-free device since I'm not in my own car... this all meant, not answering.

About five minutes later, still on route 90, still under the same exact conditions except now I'm off the entrance ramp and going a good bit faster, the phone rings AGAIN.

Finally, I'm almost to daycare. Unless its work, the phone has to be Kevin. So I figure I'll call him when I get there before I go in to get Danielle. And while I'm stopped at the light just before turning down the street to get to daycare, it rings yet AGAIN.

Three times in about ten minutes. Tops. I figure its important, so I go through the contortions required to get the bloody phone out of my pocket and answer it, sans hands-free device. I tell him I'm still on the road, and without device, can I call him back in a couple of minutes?

And you wanna know what's so important that it can't wait? Dinner.

*heavy groans* I ended up putting the phone down so I could manage to turn the two necessary corners and shift at the same time. I called back when I got to daycare.

But was I unreasonable? I figured it had to be an emergency to call that many times when he must've realized I couldn't answer it for some reason. I mean, he knew I'd call back. I always do. And I told him I couldn't talk, but he made it sound urgent still, and then it was dinner.

Yeah, when you're married, sometimes the fights come over really silly things. Especially when everyone's overtired, and overworked, and there's just too much stress going around.

Dani got herself punished this evening, too. No book tomorrow night. I may change that to no card game -- I'd rather read to her because I so want her to learn to love books as much as we do.

What was her offense? She has a really bad habit of saying "SAWWWREEEE" in an exceedingly sarcastic tone that means that she isn't really sorry, not one bit. And then she apologizes when yelled at, and still doesn't sound apologetic at all. Today, I asked her to hurry up and move things so I could get her buckled in and get out of the way of the huge van that wanted to get by and might take off the car door while doing it. She knows the importance of not leaving the door hanging open. But instead, she started laughing. I said it wasn't funny, mommy could get hurt, and she laughed harder. Then the "SAWWWREEEE". And I flipped. She now knows that she doesn't get to apologize for that attitude. She says sorry in that way and she gets punished -- its mean and cruel and doesn't actually say she's sorry. And its not funny.

Being a parent is a bitch sometimes.

Or is that *I'm* a bitch sometimes.

Probably both. *sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:18 PM
Writing Marathon -- Week #2

I joined a writing marathon. I set out a plan of 500 words per day. This sounded do-able to me, when I said it, although since then I've found flaws with this plan, like it doesn't take into account revisions.

The first week I averaged 808 words per day. Of course, that was the holidays.

This past week I averaged 456 words per day. Not all that far below average, and at least I wrote every day just about. Which is more the point, I think.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:06 AM
January 12, 2003
Not Feeling Right

I'm having a not so good night. That seems like when I write, right? When I'm frustrated and depressed? Well, yeah.

I feel like I'm fighting against myself, trying to get things done. I feel like I'm fighting against life. Fighting against trying to be myself and everything else at once. ANd of course, I'm frustrated by things that one cannot blog about, be they work or personal or whatever.

Which means I'm dying to write, to talk, and cannot. Which makes it all the more frustrating.

Its been a long weekend. Kevin had to work -- both days. So by the time he got home, we went out to run errands, and I'd gotten nothing done all day. I did plan a menu today, for the week, but that's blown up already because tomorrow's dinner isn't defrosted yet, so I can't set up the crockpot contents before I go to bed. Still rock hard actually, so that gets put off until Tuesday or Wednesday dinner. *sighs* I'm just relieved the laundry's done. But I'm frustrated by misunderstandings between Kevin and I.

Every time I think I'm starting to get a handle on my life and figure out how to live it to stay in the manic stage, something happens and suddenly I've swung the other way. I spent most of the first week of 2003 really really up. Things are coming together at work (more about that when it all goes official) and I'm settling into a good phase there, I think. I've been writing, which always makes me happy because it is such a dream of mine. I've been better with the kids -- not losing my temper so much because the rest of me is on a more even keel. The diet's still been horrible, and I cannot breathe thanks to the latest cold. So that's not good, and still frustrating. But hells, I had more of me under control than usual before this weekend.

Then this weekend hit, and we had such fun things like this morning Ryan blew out and made a huge mess and got an impromptu sponge bath and all his linens washed. *sighs* And tomorrow morning Kevin has to be to work early, which means not only do I have to get the kids going on my own, but I get less sleep than usual because he gets me up. With any luck, Ryan'll sleep through the night. And oh yeah, Ry's not eating solid food right now -- he's on a milk only, well just about, kick. So that's just totally messing up his digestive system (like this morning).

Dani's being good, but she's so excited about her birthday party that I'm just about ready to scream. I'm trying to organize everything for 20 little kids at the YMCA and a date with my husband the night before so that we can have some nice times for *his* birthday. And then I figure the next morning will be just like Christmas so we'll be doing the whole thing on very little sleep. And of course, the whole house has to be cleaned top to bottom before the birthday because the relatives will come back to the house after the kids party.

*tired groans* I don't know how to do it, I don't know when to do it. I've just gotten this whole family thing working as a partnership, and suddenly his job's changing and my job's changing and we're both being asked to be superhuman at the office and it just doesn't work that way. There's no time to be us, no time to be parents, no time to be husband and wife. I look at the house and it looks like shit and I realize that half the time, I just don't care. I can't summon the energy to deal with it.

And then, of course, we fight about it. These are all the things I was trying to get past this year. Trying to develop the perfect home and make it so that life is good. Instead I'm just getting overwhelmed by the same old shit, and dealing with people at work who don't understand that this shit even exists.

I'm tired, can you tell?

A part of me says write it. Put it all into words and let it come out and become something. Its a way to purge it.

I would, but there's nothing to write. I can't think of a way to make this into any sort of an interesting story. Something with rediscovered romance maybe. I wonder if I could find a way to make this a paranormal romance. *rueful smile* Mind reading as a way to renew the romance? Gah... that really doesn't sound right. *laughs* Mind reading is only a way to make a bigger mess, I suspect. Besides, they just did a movie with Mel Gibson about that.

For now, I'm just tired. Feel like crying, but too strung out to really get that right even. I should probably get some sleep. In the long run, its one of the best things for me. Pity I have such trouble doing it before 11pm. It'd make life simpler, I suspect, if I weren't always running on sleep-dep, eh?

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:32 PM
January 11, 2003
Ambercon Games

Well, everything's submitted. I'm running two games this year.

One will be my campaign -- "Rite of Passage". I started the campaign live at ACUS back in 1997. Had to take a break in 1998, the year I brought Danielle to the con. But I managed to run even with Ryan in hand this past year. It runs via PBEM between cons, and has been going fairly decently. I'd really like to pick up a new player or two, but I don't want to increase too much. And I'd like it to be someone I know. But I'm shy when it comes to rating my own GMing capability, especially with regards to a campaign, so I don't want to go out specifically hunting someone. So I figure if someone crosses my path and sounds intrigued, I'll talk.

The other is the game I am co-running with Bridgette -- To 'Scape the Serpent's Tongue. I'm *really* looking forward to it. We ran the game at TBR and just had an absolute blast. I'm hoping it goes half as well at Ambercon. Although at TBR we only had 4 players, and at ACUS we will have at least double that, I am sure. But its a romp of a game, and adult, and silly. So it'll be fun.

I've got a roommate for ACUS and am working on a driving companion. Working on getting the whole trip settled out. And this is my big trip on my own for the year... my big chance to relax. Which is a major deal to me.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:29 PM
January 09, 2003
Excerpt -- In the Flickering Light

Once upon a time, on the Vampyres mailing list, someone asked the question -- how does a vampire view a candle? Is it an invitation to dinner? Romantic? A death threat by fire?

This story was an attempt to answer the question.

She had a small table that took over one corner of the room. A linen cloth covered it, and in the center two forest green candles stood in silver holders, their light flickering in the dark room. The table had been set with the good dishes. "Please..." she paused behind one seat, her hands resting lightly on the high wooden back of the chair. "...sit." Her eyes dipped, peering out shyly from under her lashes. "I'll serve you."

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:00 PM
Excerpt -- Choices

This is a story I wrote to hopefully submit to an anthology. I had written another version of this story long ago as a straight vampire story, but this one is a bit more twisted than that. I also was able to flesh the story out quite a bit more and I am now very very satisfied with it.

Light from the hallway slipped across the floor as the door crept open. Then the light was blocked by a huge form in the thin space between door and wall. He made a black blot in the corner of her vision as she tried to pretend she still slept. The darkness hovered there. Jolene didn't breathe, trying desperately not to move until the darkness moved, slipping back into the hallway and drawing the door after it.

Thank God, he was gone.

Footsteps moved only a few feet down the hallway and stopped. Not far enough, not nearly far enough. It was twelve steps to her parents' room. Twelve steps -- almost every night she counted them as he went by after coming up the stairs. Four steps from the stairs to her own door, then twelve steps to her parents room.

Twelve steps.

And this time, he had only gone five away from her door.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:56 PM
When the Voices Overrun

Writing does strange things to my psychology.

I have been so many people throughout my life. I have shifted and changed and discovered new aspects of myself. I have adapted to what my life is, and on occasion, railed against that as well.

Right now, I am married and a mother of two. My life is changing yet again, professionally, and in a better way I believe. I am really looking forward to the advent of those changes, and there is almost a date set for me to look forward to. It'll be a big difference, and a welcome one.

I have started writing again. When I last wrote, at least intensively, I wasn't the same person I am now. I hung out with different friends in some cases, and the social scenes I went through were different. There were different influences, different callings to the voices inside my head.

In some ways, I liked myself better back then. In some ways, I didn't.

Writing again throws me backwards in time, in part, in terms of headspace. It makes the voices rise up. They aren't babbling coherently yet (if they were, I'd be writing a hell of a lot more easily!). But they are there, roiling under the surface of my thoughts.

And I find myself on edge, as if waiting for something to happen. I am introspective, looking into things. I am far more lighthearted, yet there is something out there that I am waiting for. The other shoe to drop. I find myself wanting to go places and be the me that was freer, easier of heart. Someone who was more comfortable in a crowd, someone who did not feel she needed to hold back on things she thought or felt.

God, that's starting to make me feel loose. Which so isn't the truth. That is one thing I certainly have never been.

But I always was very physical. I hugged people. I reached out and touched them to get their attention. I curled up on the couch with my friends and felt their contact, felt them as a part of my space. I understand the werecreatures in the Anita Blake books. They crave contact. It isn't sexual or wrong. It just is.

For some reason, writing brings back that part of me. The part that misses curling up in a pile of friends and watching movies, just being comfortable. I am tired of being proper. I am tired of being isolated. Writing is an outlet for so much of it, but it is still isolated. It is still inside my head, and still just me.

Sometimes I wonder if it is better to let those parts of me just stay where they were.

But then I realize that no, I'm happier now. I've been upbeat and cheerful. Something I haven't been in a couple of years. I'm not snapping peoples' heads off as often. I am more myself. And that I do need. Otherwise I will work myself into a grave.

And I'm not ready for that. Not for a VERY long time.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:51 PM
January 08, 2003

I am listening to music as I write. The story is Metamorphosis, a story I am working on for an anthology on gay male lust and obsession.

The music I chose is Adrienne's soundtrack. At first, it seems a strange choice.

Then Animotion's "Obsession" starts playing, with the line "who do you want me to be to make you sleep with me" and I realize that wow... its perfect. Just perfect.

The story is nearing completion. Then I need to find unoffendable readers (not only is it gay male and erotic its also not exactly a *light* story) to help crit it so I can get it out the door and subbed to the anthology.

It'll (hopefully) be my first thing out the door in years. Scary, huh?

Posted by Deb Atwood at 10:00 PM
January 07, 2003
What a day

Did you every think that no matter what you do, you just cannot win? I have had minor difficulty after minor difficulty for the past several months. I am told its excessive -- clean up my act. So I try.

But it seems that no matter what I do, something interferes. It snows, and I am late because daycare goes on a 2 hour delay. Or the kids get sick (or I do). Or my car just dies completely in the parking lot.

I was doing well this morning. I worked last night, blowing off my personal time to get reviews done (redone, actually). I got up early despite my vaguely remembered attempt to shut off the alarm while I still slept. I would have been damned close to on time to work, despite bad roads and crappy parking conditions.

Then I smell burning rubber and when I go to start my car nothing happens. I think my alternator's gone. And now I'm stuck being way late. Damn.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:49 PM
inch by flaky fluffy inch we will be buried
Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:44 PM
January 06, 2003

Added a link on the sidebar to Jenn's site for Stranger Still to Come and the Dreamer. I still haven't found the absolutely perfect quote for the character, but I did find one that worked well.

I am slowly trying to flesh out my character pages, but I will be lucky to keep up with them. Writing 500 words per day, along with work, is tapping me out quite a bit. Today I've written nothing. But then, I also didn't finish working until about half an hour ago.

On the other hand, writing has been well, working. I'm in the middle of a twisted little tale of gay lust and obsession, in an attempt to get into the "Law of Desire" anthology. I suppose it would be odd if my second published piece were also gay male erotica, but why not? If I'm good at it, why not?

I've also finished Choices, which I want to submit to another anthology (vampire cockroaches, and yes, I'm serious) but its too long. I need to query for that, but beforehand I need to do revisions, and well, I really really could use some critical reading on it. I've already done my first pass and I know its not perfect, but I'm not sure which parts need fixing, either.

Its always easier to read someone else's work critically, rather than my own. *sighs*

Posted by Deb Atwood at 11:12 PM
January 05, 2003
Book Review -- Dancing with an Alien

Dancing with an Alien
by Mary Logue
hardcover from HarperCollins 2000

When I see an intriguing looking YA genre book on sale, I tend to pick it up, without really paying attention to much else about it. I picked up this one on sale at Media Merchant for $3.99 (rather than the cover price of $14.95).

It is told in a style which seems common, almost, in "literary" YA genre novels. The chapters switch between Tonia (a 17 year old girl in St. Paul, MN) and Branko (an alien who has come to Earth to find a female to bring home). each chapter is told in the first person, so we are able to get inside the heads of both protagonists.

This works really well for Branko. His style matches well with someone who doesn't know our culture except for training, with someone who is somewhat alien. But for Tonia, her style of speech seemed choppy in writing. I didn't like the way the sentences seemed to always cut short and talk down. I have never liked the idea of making writing too simplistic -- I have more faith in our childrens' reading capabilities than that.

The basic plot is an old one. On Branko's planet a virus wiped out the female population. They have been surveying nearby worlds and discovered Earth and that they could interbreed with our woman. So they come and court them, and return home with them and turn them into precious baby-producing commodities.

Despite the style and the standard plot, this is a decent book. I wouldn't say its great. I didn't regret reading it, and it was certainly a quick read (perhaps a half hour to an hour, tops). Its short.

The story focuses on the relationship between Branko and Tonia and on the decisions that they face. And in the end, the decision that is made is not necessarily the easiest one, but in Branko's mind, it is the best. There is no happy ending here.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 02:45 PM
New Experience

Well, we've gotten a lot of snow here recently. 20 inches on Christmas day, then an ice storm a couple of days ago, and another 18 inches following that.

We're buried.

It could have been worse. I mean, Kevin could have been out of town. At least he's here and could show me how to start the snowblower and everything. But the duty of cleaning the driveway was mine. Kev's sort of couchbound for the weekend, and not into heavy lifting (minor voluntary surgery -- don't worry, he's achy but fine).

Our driveway is long. Its the length of the house (which ain't short) plus the front yard. Then we have a parking lot at the back, between the house and the detached garage. It isn't a small project.

The backmost part was the easiest. Just passes across, with the huge 10HP machine rumbling and vibrating under my hands. I gained a good groove with it -- shift into 1st gear for forward, and 2R for reverse so I could pull it back quickly. Over and over until the driveway was mostly clean. I cracked Kevin's car open then brushed just enough to see out the front window and pulled it up into a clean place.

Then I took a break. The worst was yet to come.

Nigel called and offered to finish the job. But the snowblower is an awesome huge machine and was cutting through drifts like they weren't there. Last spring we bought one that was twice as big as we'd expected, but at 50% off we could manage it in the budget.

Now, I'm glad. Although its like the gods of winter have said "well you've got it, let's use it." Eep!

After lunch I went back out and started down the length of the driveway. It went smoothly, aside from the wind blowing cold snow back in my face, until I reached the end.

First I had to dig out our trash can. Friday was trash day, and because of the storm, we'd forgotten to drag the can back up. Yet... it didn't matter, they'd never picked it up. So there it was, lying on its side and buried by 18 inches of snow. It was bloody heavy. I got cleaned off, and dragged, still on its side, about a foot up the driveway. It took both Kevin and I to right it, and then he was able to easily haul it back up to where it belonged. But trust me, an ice-caked, full of wet trash, trash can is no light object. Thank the gods its on wheels.

Then I was able to break through into the street. I started pushing back in from that direction. I realized then that I was a rare person -- I didn't want to throw the snow back out into the nicely plowed street, so I was coming in and blowing it off to the side. I couldn't manage to do that if I went down -- coming back from the street was important to make it work.

The snow at the end of the driveway was heavy and thick. I would push the snowblower forward, letting the drive mechanism take it, and then when it hit the bank it would suddenly start to climb up over it instead of chewing through it. Next thing I knew it would be almost on its back, tipping over. I had to switch to reverse and haul it backwards, then rock it forwards again. The drive mechanism did most of the work, but I kept catching it so it didn't tip over. I figured I'd ache the next day, I didn't figure on how much.

When it was over, though, I'd done a good job and was proud of it. The end of the driveway (and all of it really) still had snow, but it was smooth and ready for driving. I really was happy with it. Hard work, but it felt good to be done.

Today, however, I'm paying the price. My shoulder feels like someone is shoving knives into it, along with the place right by the shoulderblade. I've tried heat for tight muscles, I've tried cold for swelling in the shoulders. Nothing works. Gods, I hate my body sometimes. Just lifting Ryan brings tears to my eyes, and there is little I can do. Laundry, the kitchen, the cooking... the kids... it all has to be done, and although Kevin is doing his best to help, he cannot do too much this weekend. He hurts as well, and I promised to take care of him. The storm was just bad timing. In another week or so, we'll all be better.

Assuming we don't get too much more bloody snow!!

Posted by Deb Atwood at 01:52 PM
January 04, 2003
Forcing Creativity

In the past couple of weeks I've pushed out two short stories. Both flowed from my fingertips, ideas brought to fruition with an ease and grace that surprised me. One just because, and one inspired by an anthology.

So now, I'm sitting here with another anthology concept before me -- one I should be able to do in my sleep -- and I've stuttered multiple times. I keep starting and restarting and redeciding on what I'm doing. I just can't seem to get started. Its like creativity has slipped away, leaving me bereft and lonely with my fingers resting on the keyboard and nothing left to type.

Its frustrating. I sat here, staring into space, working out an idea. I thought I had one, but I couldn't seem to flesh it out quite properly. So I figured hey, start typing. That always works, right? But the dialog is forced, the concept faltering. I think there's something there, but I don't have it right yet.

A story of obsession centering around a gay man. Good god, there are so many gay men in my head, and I swear all of them are obsessive... this should be easy. Why is this one story I want so desperately to write so hard to get out???

Posted by Deb Atwood at 09:59 PM
January 03, 2003
Book Review -- Kushiel's Chosen

Kushiel's Chosen
by Jacqueline Carey
hardcover from Tor 2002

Oh. My. God. Jacqueline has done it again. And this time, I hope she gets the Hugo nod she well deserves.

Kushiel's Chosen is the sequel to Kushiel's Dart. And again it is lavish, with a beautiful setting and wonderful characters. Jacqueline is an amazing author, and I will be anxiously awaiting more from her.

Phedre no Delauney is an anguisette, an incredibly rare woman for whom pain creates near blinding pleasure. She is chosen of the god Kushiel, and bears his dart, a red mote in her eye. In the land of Terre D'Ange, where the god Elua declared love as thou wilt she is an accomplished courtesan. She is also a spy.

Phedre is certain that Melisande, the woman who betrayed the crown, is still alive. She is obsessed, and when she receives a sign, she heads to La Serenissima to find her.

This is a story of love, and of understanding what love means and how love can change. We see those around Phedre changed by knowing her, and by becoming a part of her world. Phedre inspires an emotion like no other. And she is not simply beautiful and sensual, she is also intelligent, ferreting out plots and saving her queen and her homeland.

This is a long book, yet in reading it I only wish it were longer. It reads quickly, flowing from sentence to sentence, from chapter to chapter, pulling the reader along in a whisper wind of sensation. I craved more and hated to pause in my reading.

I highly recommend both novels to anyone who is interested in a novel with deep history, a rich world, and emotionally vivid characters. There is sex in these novels, but it is not overdone nor too explicit for those who would not care for it.

Jacqueline writes like a dream. This is a woman to watch for. I eagerly await more.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 03:37 PM
January 01, 2003

This is a following on to those goals I set. These are my official resolutions, with regards to writing and gaming, for the year.

I resolve to write 500 words of fiction per day. Real, live, hopefully saleable, fiction.

I resolve to do a blog entry for at least one blog per day. Any blog is valid, so it could be about writing, about life, about gaming... anything.

I resolve to get six stories out on the market by the latter half of the year.

I resolve to revise Shades of Grey and start seeking an agent by year end.

I resolve to participate in NaNo. Only this time I'll outline the novel first and have a better idea of where I'm going!

I resolve to do enough crits to really learn more about what *I* am doing right and wrong. I learn from what others do in their writing, so crits can help me too.

I resolve to better plan and plot for both RoP and Mask.

I resolve to do PBEM moves once per day, to the best of my abiilty.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 05:36 PM

So here it is, a new year. Which means I should be making some resolutions.

I refuse to resolve to lose weight. Or diet, or exercise. I won't resolve anything that I'm not sure I can manage. I can do my damnedest, but sometimes life just interferes with it all. So I'll try, but no guarantees.

I do resolve to work on my writing career. I'll go into details on that on the Voices page. But the base gist is to write every day and get stuff out on the market.

I also resolve to work on my baking skills, and relax more. Both spending some time with and without my family. I've learned I need both.

That's about it. I can't resolve anything else and be certain of getting it right. Because there are only so many hours in the day, and only so much of me to go around. So I'll take it a little at a time, and learn my new habits in pieces. And eventually, I'll change it all around to be better.

Posted by Deb Atwood at 05:31 PM