Archive for May, 2009

Food and Guests, oh my!

Posted in Food, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 31, 2009 by Jaym Gates

This morning was our first ‘serious’ Farmer’s Market run. There’s a nice big one within 30 minutes of the house, so that’s our Saturday morning run every week during the summer. The produce selections are just beginning to really flourish, but even so, we got a LOT of stuff! (pictures tomorrow!)

In the bags: Peaches, berries, fried pies, fresh Greek pastries, peppers, tomatoes, green mango, over half a dozen bunches of herbs, fresh goat cheese, Asian veggies, snapdragons and peonies, medicinal herb plants, marigolds and a bougainvillea plant and a dozen more things. The fridge is full, there’s a pot of veggie stock simmering, a pan of roasted chicken in the fridge to become chicken stock, and peaches and berries to make jam out of. Yep, tomorrow is canning day. Yay Champagne-Ginger Peach jam!

Sadly, life got in the way of life and I had to bow out of Femme Fest tonight. Friends invited me along a few weeks ago, so I went over for BBQ first, but no concerts tonight. So the morning was farmer’s market, the afternoon was southern lesbians and BBQ. Right. At least I didn’t fall for the blond this time… Great fun, and a much-needed unwind. Going to miss some of them when I leave though.

In other news… Master Havoc of Fifthwind Forums will be launching a guest-blog soon! Bi-weekly (at this point), he will be coming over here to discuss his massive original forum-based RPG Wastelands and how it interacts with writing. I’m looking forward to this, and you should be too! Wastelands is an intricate and deeply detailed world with many adventures going on, and Havoc is as passionate about it as any writer is about their original world.

The difference between most ‘worlds’ and Wastelands? Wastelands has an ‘Open for Business’ sign in the door and Havoc and his muse Kuro encourage feedback, ideas and sharing!

When it rains, it pours.

Posted in Rants on May 30, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Eight, almost nine years ago, I was riding one of my horses in a pasture in CA. It was early spring, good weather, and my grandmother was out walking with me. I’ve always had a habit of grabbing a halter and rope and catching a horse to ride any time I was going somewhere on the property. So the mare had a halter and a rope casually looped around her neck, and I was riding bareback. I also had a bad habit of zoning out at times, and I did so that day.

Star was a predictable, reliable horse. ie. if there’s something to spook at, she probably will. If there’s a tree to run under while spooking and she gets the two for one of scaring the crap out of you AND dumping you off, she probably will. The only thing you couldn’t know about Star was whether she’d be paying enough attention to spook at all the things in this wide, wide world.

That day, the culprit was the dirt pile left over from a new road we were constructing. Somehow, coming around the corner, she must have made a wild leap of logic from ‘dirt-pile’ to ‘pony-eating-bloody-mad-BEAR!’ and a similarly wild leap into the stratosphere. All I remember is that one moment, we were facing the dirt pile, and next, we were bucking the opposite way, down a bank, across a paved road, down another bank, and off across the pasture. Except I didn’t travel so fast. I landed, shoulder-first, on the pavement.

After that, it’s a vague montage of rolling across the road and skiing down the opposite slope. On my face. And SOMEHOW, the pony managed to take long enough (or else I really did fly!) that she nearly trampled me as I rolled. (Yes, I did get back on her within 20 minutes. After I cleaned the blood off my face)

By the time I made it to the house, my nose was broken and my shoulder almost useless. A later fall completed the damage, and x-rays later confirmed that not only was there muscular damage, a rib was actually somehow detached from my ribcage and held in place only by damaged muscles. A year of physical therapy, and I at least had a few pain-free days, as long as I worked out and kept up with the therapy.

But I’ve been two years without therapy, and it’s caught up. The last few days have been excruciating. Today I mentioned that pain to a coworker, and a woman standing nearby asked if I had ever had trouble breathing or with my heart since the accident. She said that there is a nerve in my shoulder that connects to heart and lungs, and that it sounds like it might be pressured. She’s a chiropractor, and told me to get that looked at asap.

The last two weeks have been one bad piece of news after the next. This one isn’t too unexpected, I knew it would become a serious problem at some point. Well, it’s a problem now.

Ten Sentences or Less: Results Soon!

Posted in Fantasy Magazine with tags , , , on May 29, 2009 by Jaym Gates

First off, I am incredibly happy to see the turn-out from the forum. I believe we got about ten pieces submitted from there. Congratulations guys. I know it’s no fun to get the rejections, but believe me, that’s part of writing. Get used to it, and use it to improve! (I’m still jealous though, that I couldn’t join. I love Micro-fiction)

Secondly, get ready to go vote, the final choices should be up pretty soon, and you get to choose the final three!

If you haven’t been following it, here ya go: Can You Fantasize in Ten Sentences or Less?

Inherent Update!

Posted in QWIPS with tags , , , on May 28, 2009 by Jaym Gates

With 1200 words today, I now stand at 97,000 words for the story. About 25 pages left of Abadinur’s rough draft before I can start on Kadaraita and Logrozana. The prologue and epilogue I won’t write till last. A little shift though. The format of Inherent will still be the three acts, each focusing on a different group of characters, however, instead of beginning the book, Abadinur will be in the middle. Logrozana will lead off, and Kadaraita will finish. Since the characters of Kadaraita are the wild cards, that takes all the loose ends of the first two acts and ties them neatly up.

That also puts the bulkiest of the acts in the center, balancing the story out a little. I don’t have any chapters marked in the book yet, that will wait until all the acts are mostly done. Then the final stitching will include chapters.

I’m excited about this story. The characters rock, it’s got touches of mythology and fairytale in it. It has evil witches, good witches, despotic kings, grand battles, demons and all the goodness that makes a fairy tale so fun. I can’t wait to finish it, but it’s going to be one hell of a book-end blues for me!

Sherlock Holmes, Fantasy?

Posted in Musings with tags , , , on May 27, 2009 by Jaym Gates

I’m STILL not feeling great, which is rare for me, and so just going to leave you all with a couple of questions.

Sherlock Holmes, pulp fiction or speculative pulp fiction? Would you hand the stories to someone who only reads fantasy, or to someone who only reads ‘reality’?

Interested in thoughts!

Blogs You Should Be Reading: Pt. 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 26, 2009 by Jaym Gates

First off, apologies for a few days of absence. I’ve been pretty stressed lately, and it finally caught up to me physically. So updates haven’t been as regular or content-y as I would like.

That being said… Here’s a list of more blogs you should be reading! These are more technical/less fun maybe, but should be a daily visit.

In a possibly interesting side-note… There are–at latest count–about 29 sites I visit daily, ranging from email to web-comics to etymology blogs. The bulk of these is the writing blogs at 12. Make it part of your morning reading. Like the newspaper. You will pick up a LOT of good stuff. It is time-consuming, but these are things you can read while watching tv, eating breakfast, etc.

Blogs part 1 was largely author blogs, from both extremely well-known and newer authors. Today’s blogs are agents from well-known agencies who have taken time off to talk to us lowly mortals.

In the running to be one the QueryTracker Queens, Colleen Lindsey has been nominated as one of the best agents to work with. An agent at FinePrint Literary Management, her blog has articles on query letters, manners, and Douglas Adams, as well as the occasional poll of ‘what shoes should I wear to the pitch session?’. A fun and informative read.

Rachelle Gardner is another agent in running at the Query Tracker contest. A lot of good articles about the more technical aspects of being published.

Not so much an agent blog as a place for writers to get great advice from editors, Blood-Red Pencil is a recent discover and a gold mine. A good look at the sometimes unsung heroes of the publishing world.

The Rejecter is an anonymously-run blog by an assistant at an anonymous literary agency. Great Q&A format. This is one of the people who either puts your query in the rejection pile or passes it on to one of those super-agents. ie. ‘Yet another person to impress’.

The official BookEnds, LLC blog. More great articles by one of the powerhouses. Great links too!

I just followed a link to Jennifer Jackson’s blog today. It looks like she links out to some good articles

Lyons Literary LLC has an article on the front page of a guy who queries multiple agents daily, over and over again. He has been asked to stop. His response? “I’m going to knock down the doors of publishing.” Well, no, you’ll probably just eventually get EVERYONE pissed off at you and not even be able to get a POD to publish you. People, read this article, weep, and for God’s sake, don’t be that sort of person… Please?

Aaaaand, that’s it for this post folks. I’m going to go put all this good info to use and edit up that gem-in-the-rough that is ‘Inherent’.

Blogs You Should Be Reading: Pt. 1

Posted in Musings with tags , , , , , , , on May 24, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Jonathan Carroll blogs like he writes: gentle, thoughtful, reflective, and edged with a brutal understanding and interpretation of human nature. If you haven’t read his works yet, do so. One of my favorite authors.

Martin Dubow is an author I discovered through Twitter (and you said nothing good came from Twitter!) who writes excellent horror. His novel ‘The Horrifying Tale of Mrs. Trollop‘ is being posted, chapter by chapter, on the website until it publishes. He’s up to Chapter 4 now. A real vampire tale, no sparkles or vegetarianism here!

John Scalzi is fun, witty, and irreverent. Besides that, he’s got some really good opinions on the publishing industry and writing in general.

Mr. Billy Bones is a cute skeleton boy. His daily tale is posted every morning on Twitter, and gives me a quick dose of fiction for the day.

Neil Gaiman. Need I say more?

Janet Reid and Query Shark are both Ms. Reid’s blogs. The one provides snippets about publishing, life, authors, and plenty of rants. The other, well, if you are a writer who wants to ever submit a query, read this site or don’t complain about queries!

Nathan Bransford is another agent who really takes time out of his busy life to interact with the world of writing. He posts contests, write a weekly ‘This Week in Publishing’ feature, etc. Very worth a daily visit!

Tricksters

Posted in Rants with tags , , , , on May 23, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Nothing like casually glancing through your storm-door and seeing a beady-eyed little bandit! Yup, the Zorro of the animal world was ‘liberating’ my strawberries from their imprisoning plants. And for some reason, he decided to say hi by looking in the door. When we went out on the back deck, he trundled off into the yard and waddled up a tree, where he paused every few moments to peer around the trunk and see if we were still watching. He seemed irked that we wouldn’t go away and let him get back to his War of the Strawberry. Finally he plumped his fat little butt on a big branch to watch us.

Cute bugger. But those are MY strawberries dammit. This war shall not go unchallenged. Save the Strawberries!

Flying

Posted in Stories-Thunder Songs with tags , , on May 22, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Don’t try to understand what happens when you first start flying. It’s like magic, you question, you fall, you crash and burn, you die. Wings aren’t made for logic, not these wings. We aren’t birds, we aren’t insects or fat metal tubes hurtling through the sky. We’re magic. We’re pretty impossibilities. We’re the thing children point at and scream in delight over.
Let go, fall. Watch the ground. See? See it coming for you? A hungry lion, a bear, a monster with shark’s teeth and a rapacious grin. It’s going to eat you. It’s going to smash you. Every bone. It’s going to rape you and devour you and you are going to beg for it. Scream for it.
And when its reaching its dirty fingers, its fat, slimy fingers for you, when you know you are going to die and you welcome it and hold your hands out to it, then you fly. Then those beautiful magnificent exquisite wings billow open and you go screaming towards the sky, caught in blood and death and sex so perfect you could cry and then you’re backfloating in the sun’s ocean, and looking down on that hungry and greedy ground, and you start laughing because you’re flying. You aren’t human. It’s all there below you, and it’s not you.
That’s what flying is. It’s not wings and feathers and hollow bones. It’s not air currents or speeds or velocity…

Thus endeth the tale. Or what I am posting anyways. If I decide I’m not going to do anything with it, I’ll post the rest. Or email me, and I’ll send it to you.

No, no! Don’t MAKE me stop!

Posted in Excerpts, Musings, QWIPS on May 21, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Then again, if that’s my mood on looking at the clock and seeing that my time is up, hey, it’s a great thing. I started this morning in a bad mood, which usually affects my writing negatively due to lack of focus. The other challenge was that this ‘editing’ is actually writing a new scene to tie some pieces together and deepen the religious and cultural aspects of the war.

1100 words later, and I’m loving it. A new concept for a ‘gifting’

Sviera’s songs had awakened many a latent gifting in the people of Jastu, and impromptu schools were hastily organized for them to learn how to use their power. The largest of these was in Senestri’s temple, an austere structure of gray stone that served also as an armory. As Amarog ascended the last stair and stepped into the court-yard, the war-masters were schooling their apprentices in the arts of their gift. Motioning them to continue, Amarog leaned against a pillar and watched.

a new aspect of Jastu’s military training

Each movement could be broken down to its base components, each symbolized by a piece of a word, a word that meant nothing on it’s own, but everything to the trainers and students.

a temple

Amarog silently led the way into Senestri’s hall, a place without statues or icons. The trophies claimed off of defeated opponents were collected here, tokens left by those who had lost families or lovers in war, those were both icons and offerings to Senestri. The priests cleaned each thing, kept candle burning and incense smoking.

history of a slain sister

“There are curses, terrible curses on anyone who sheds a dragon’s blood, and on their children and the rest of their line, marking them for vengeance.” He seemed to have forgotten Berikao, who had been only a common soldier in those days, but who knew these things as well as his own history. “The demon wouldn’t raise a hand to kill her himself, but watched as she battered her life out against the cliffs, her wings trapped by the steel nets. Then they butchered her, made weapons out of her bones and armor out of her skin, turned her into a hundred foul things and mounted her rotting skull on seven poles and their slaves bore it into the next battle, her tongue still dangling from her jaws.

and to cap it off?

“I want you to organize a summoning. Find the avatars. You know what to look for. Have them ready for my return.”
“Where are you going lord?”
Amarog caressed the cheek-bone with the pad of his thumb, his eyes rising and focusing on the north. “I go to speak to my goddess and ask for my power back. Four avatars will ride to war.”

The next part is where Amarog gets his first glimpse of the final Avatars, the Marasran who herald the “Ragnarok” of their race, a war that will decide the course of history and the future, and where he learns whether or not he will succeed in his missions. Those scenes are ones I love, and this entire section of the story is fun for me to write!

Now, hopefully my truck is actually fixed, my boss doesn’t hate me too much for being , and my allergies won’t act up today. It was a lousy start to the morning… Until I started writing, and now I’m in a good mood again.

THIS is why I write!