Friday, July 27, 2007

It's the little highs that sustain me

Guess what?

I'm alone, ALONE, I tell you, in my office. I'm at my computer, and I've been writing for a whole hour. I've finished a scene, at least the first draft of it, and I'm feeling good. And hey, I've earned it.

I have a talk-to-me face. I know I do, because people really do talk to me. Take today, for instance. I know about a father's cholesterol and leg difficulties. I know about a pregnancy scare. I know about a girl in Texas who has come through her surgery all right. I know about a private little beach someone found in our neighborhood. A malignant tumor, gone now, thank heavens, and aren't epidurals wonderful. (Yes!) $100 worth of impatiens that drowned in all that rain back in June. And it's what, 2 o'clock?

Edited at 2:40 to add:
I now have the Complete Scoop on the relationship between sleep apnea and high blood pressure. Apparently, there's a machine that hooks to oxygen tubes that go up your nose. It costs $1800, but insurance covers it. It's a noisy machine, and you might need a chin strap to keep your mouth closed.

I don't work in a hospital. For Chrissakes, I work in a computer shop.

I can see I'm going to have to work on my "I Like You, But I'd Rather Be Writing" expression.

Just for fun, and because I've never posted my writing yet, here's my scene. Is the hocus-pocus stuff tiresome? It's our first scene with this character.

From THE WITCH OF BADENOCH, copyright Cindy D, 2007

Gwynnedd drifted reluctantly back to herself, condensing slowly out of the ether, back into the warm dimensions of her waiting body. The plodding beat of her heart, the restricting rhythm of her breathing were at first strange to her, and her soul fluttered in panic and dismay. It took a few moments' deep concentration to will it back into the confines of her flesh. Gradually, she became accustomed, aware of the soft evening breeze on her hair, the light twittering of the birds in the forest canopy above, and the ache in her hips from sitting too long. Only when she could feel the shapes of her fingertips resting on her knees did she open her eyes.

The setting sun cast fire on the pool before her and she blinked, stretching. Her body was stiff, but her spirit was refreshed, renewed. She stripped off her clothes and waded into the cool, glittering water, whispering the words of a prayer to the Goddess as she bathed her long, pale body.

The sun was nearly set when she left the shelter of the forest, walking alone up the long slope to where the walls of Glamorgan Castle reared, glowing on the summit of the hill. The traffic that normally flowed to and from its main gate was mostly absent at this time of day, there were only a few people on foot headed toward the village, and a man with a handcart crossing beneath the ramparts.

Nobody spoke to her as she passed through the bailey into the great hall, and from there into the corridor beyond. The few people she met on the narrow, winding stair quickly cast their eyes away and shrank against the stones to let her pass. At the top, up where only servants and children dwelt, she followed the corridor to the west until it ended amidst chill and cobwebs, dusty things abandoned, and a faint whiff of decay.

She had disturbed the darkness with her passing and it spun slowly around her as she paused, curling damp musty fingers around her neck and shoulders. The recess before her was invisible without a light, less than the width of a man, set into an angle of the wall near a chimney. Only when she was certain there was nobody near did she slip through, silent feet finding each of the thirteen narrow steps that led to her room beneath the eaves.

Closing the door behind her and shedding her clothing again, she bent to build a fire in her tiny brazier. She rummaged in her kist, nimble fingers plucking up the things she would need. Sage, pennyroyal, a small tub of death-scented grease, and the powdered bark of an elm tree. Mixing the herbs, bark and grease into a paste with her fingers, she sank down before the fire, closing her eyes and filling her lungs with air.

Something was afoot. She could feel a displacement in the balance of power; it was drawn outward, stretched thinner. New forms were shifting, waking, just outside of her perception. Waiting, breathing, it came to her that there would be both an opportunity, and an adversary, though she knew not what, or who. Yet.

Tonight, she would perform the ritual to heighten her ability, to ready herself for the Coming.

The grease hissed over the fire, melting almost instantly. She pressed three fingers of each hand into the hot, fragrant oil, and made the sacred gestures, touching them to her temples, lips, the bottoms of her breasts, and between her legs. Turning toward where the rising moon was framed in her tiny window, she supplicated once, twice, three times. Then she dressed in fresh clothing and went to find the last thing she needed to complete the rite.

The stables were located at the back of the castle, built into the wall just inside the eastern gate. It was full night now, and nobody saw Gwynnedd where she paused in the deeper shadow cast by a towering woodpile. A curious piglet nosed about in the straw by her foot and she pushed it away with a soft hiss, careful not to make it squeal.

Across from her, the open half-doors of the horses' stalls were only just visible, but in a nearby room above an open window glowed. From it tumbled the rowdy laughter and jovial cursing of men at drink and cards. Once in a while, one of them would come down to piss, and she would lean out, hopeful, only to withdraw with a pout. Only one man would do, and it was nearly midnight before she saw him.

He paused at the bottom of the stair, blocking out the light with his height and broad shoulders. Gwynnedd whispered a spell and stepped out into the open.

He saw her immediately, with her blonde hair and light gown she would be an easy mark. He crossed toward her.

His voice came out of the darkness like a caress on her skin as the hulking shape of him drew near. "Can I be helpin' ye, Miss? Ye shouldna be aboot, the lads are deep in their cups, the night." He glanced over his shoulder to where the card game continued without him.

"Just taking the air," Gwynnedd replied. She saw him hesitate and stepped around him, trailing a fingertip as quick as lightning along the curve of his ribs. His expression was lost to the shadows, but she could feel his heat, and smell the sharp tang of his surprise mingling with the whisky on his breath. "Too bad I don't have an escort. You never know what harm might come to a girl, all alone out here at night." Coming round to the front of him again, she pressed close, smiling, and pressed her palm to the front of his breeks.

"Um," he said, stepping back and catching her by the wrist. He cleared his throat. "Where are your rooms, Miss, and I'll see ye safely there."

"No. I want you. I've been waiting."

For just a moment he hesitated, and she laughed softly. Rising on her toes, she wrapped one arm around his neck and whispered against his throat.

"Come with me to the forest. Now." Again, her hand closed over him, and he groaned softly. Her voice was silky moonlight. "Ye willna regret it, I promise."

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Still writing

I'm still here, still writing, though it's only a few words a day.

I'm trying to get to the bottom of an issue that's niggling somewhere in the back of my mind. It's one particular scene. The first half comes into focus very easily, I can see, I can hear, I'm there. But I'm trying to bring it in a particular direction, and it won't go. Tomorrow, I'm going to give it its head, and see what happens. Actually, I'm quite looking forward to it - you never know what happens at times like this.

Maybe tonight I'll fix myself an icy white russian and see what happens.

Maybe I'll have to fold the laundry.

Maybe I'll fix myself an icy white russian, and THEN fold the laundry.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


A short update, since I find myself alone in a house with two sleeping children.

it's very quiet

I'm really tired of blogging about how hard it is to find time to write, we know all that already.
I'm also tired of treading water with this book, needing to tell the story, yet unable, somehow, to figure out which way to swim for shore. Which way? I've taken a breath now, and I'm just swimming.

I've got some stuff written in one notebook, other stuff written in another notebook, and some scribbles on the back of an envelope somewhere. But I'm writing. It doesn't feel like progress yet, actually, I'm really struggling. I have to force myself not to give up, every day.

There are moments that make it worthwhile, single lines written three years ago that suddenly bloom into whole scenes. There are scenes I struggled with that I just *Plink!* deleted. Just like that, I hate this, it's gone. I am free.

Kind of.

I still have this feeling that I've failed, somewhere. How can that be? What it is, is the HUNDREDS of days over the past few years that I didn't write. Those days, I learned nothing. Those days, I didn't progress. Those days, I didn't build on my wordcount. Those days, I became so waterlogged with doubt that I was in danger of sinking.

Today, though, I did write. And tomorrow, I will too. I hope that as long as I keep going, I will find the me that really believed that I can do this. For now, it's one stroke after the other, just a little moment in my journey to the shore.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I'm so excited!

Yesterday I had a few quiet moments to myself, the rare kind, when I was neither tired and sapped of all creativity, nor needed by one of The Beloved. I got out the cue cards I bought for a buck a pack, and started writing things down. Just stuff. Scenes I have. Scenes I need to write. Points I need to make at different parts of the story. Things I need to remember, lists of what makes each character tick - their motivations, fears, needs.

As I went along, I placed the cards in piles. One for administrative things, then scenes for each pov, ordered the way they will in the story. Then I separated the piles into Beginning, Middle and End.

I'm not very good at outlines, not the way they taught us to make them in school. I've seen the cue card idea on Kelley Armstrong's blog, and in a few different variations on the net, including the Forum. I tried it with a different WIP I was fiddling with, but this story called me back, impatient, before I got too far with that. 'Scuse me, it said, we're waiting here, if you please.

I didn't realize how confused I was about my own (somewhat convoluted) storyline until I did this. I can't wait to get back to the stack of cards, in a Ziplock bag in my purse, each one a stepping stone on the journey.

See ya!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Creativity, and peace of mind

I'm a creative person by nature. I love writing, of course, but I enjoy other kinds of creativity as well: cooking, scrapbooking, even colouring with BamBam, to name only a few. With my schedule lately, there's been little or no time for me to use this part of my mind, and THAT, my friends, is cranky-making.

This afternoon, though, the cloud cover has cleared, and I'm spending some time happily scribbling on cue cards and thinking about my story. It's quiet. People are leaving me alone, at least for the moment. It doesn't add to the wordcount, but it is a very effective mental anti-oxidant.


This is The Stuff.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tag, I'm it!

Seven random things about me, hunh? Let's see..

1. I'm 34, I have two brothers, 31 and 25, and a sister who is 13.

2. I like my feet, and I hate my forehead.

3. I had a pony named Peggy, and then a horse named Mikie, when I was growing up.

4. Nobody likes me when I haven't been sleeping. Growl!

5. I'm very nice. You'd like me.

6. I believe in ghosts.

7. I have dreams of being a writer, but in the day-to-day I lack the drive it takes to be successful. Some days I forgive me, most days I don't.

Everyone I know has been tagged, except Carol.