Three day weekend


There are many reasons why I am and (and should be) grateful for the three-day weekend coming up, the only one I want to talk about right now is the fact that I intend to write at least 1000 words of a brand new, never-before-conceived-by-me story this weekend.

As well as finish the two papers that I have coming due.

But really, I just want to be giddy about the fact that I have a new story germinating and that it is so important to me that I am willing to try to schedule writing time to make sure I get a chance to write creatively during this school semester.

This has not happened to me before.

Every other semester, I’ve been more than content to put my creative writing on hold.

Whether the change is due to my finally declaring the two majors and two minors that I’ve always wanted to study or due to the fact that since I’ve started at my new school I’ve felt as though a missing piece were finally in place I will never know.

Nor do I truly care.

I am too busy reveling in the good feelings, the creative juices, the new opportunities, and the seamless way it all seems to be falling into place for me.

(Now, if I could just get a laptop, all would be [nearly] perfect).


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A new writing space

My winter gift this year was the gift of new writing space.

In my efforts to find myself as a dedicated writer, I unearthed a series of articles from the early 2000’s call Book in a Year.

The first month is dedicated to character building and to synopsis writing. But only after you’ve found your “writing space”.

All this time, I’ve blithely ignored that first, crucial step. Finding my writing space. Well, it seemed obvious to me that my writing space was wherever my computer happened to be. Since it is still tethered to the wall and not at all portable, I never really gave much thought to the actual location where I was asking myself to spend hours a day.

Preferably productive hours.

Right next to the front door has been my desk’s home for the last three and a half years. Drafty, high traffic, high stress, if there exists in this house an area less conducive to creative OR productive thought, I’ve yet to find it.

As some of you know, my spouse works nights. After having been together for ten years before he took this job, we miss sleeping next to one another.

That is to say, I sleep poorly half the week and he sleeps best if I’m in the room with him while he snoozes the day away. Add to that the temperature requirements (his cold as can be; me just this side of roasting) and it’s been a long, difficult journey to finding the proper compromise for us. But, I think today, we found it.

My desk was moved to our bedroom.

I’ve always hated the computer in the bedroom, though he’s had his in our room more often than not. I’ve hated the thought of the light waking me. I’ve hated the thought of the distractions of the internet being only a fingertip away.

Well, now I can admit I was wrong.

I love my new space!

His desk is on one side of the bed, while mine is on the other.

I can write and there will be no one peeking over my shoulder, no one to offer criticism before it’s asked for. I can play games. I can surf the internet, write email, pay bills, all from the comfort of my bedroom.

I love it.



Categories: changing behaviors, creative writing, hobbies, writing | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

A New Page, A New Start

I’ve had to come to a realization recently. It was hard. It took much longer than I wish it would have. And, I had no idea it was coming. Funnily enough, the realization itself crystallized for me when I decided to put aside my fears of making a mistake with my website and decided to just do whatever I wanted to do with it.

The past few days, I’ve been loathe to write. (Yes, this is the realization. Well, the main one, anyway.)

Not just reluctant.

The idea of trying to force myself to put words on the screen was loathsome.

I set too high of a goal when I decided to try to write two manuscripts this month. I’m already under enough stress- that’s why I withdrew from one university in favor of changing my life by attending a different one. That, and I couldn’t face the idea of another term while still waiting to purchase our house. With each passing day, that transaction gets more stressful, for one reason or another. The stress of school, child-rearing, and life in general had gotten to be too much. So I withdrew and applied at a closer institution. And then what did I do?

I decided to try to commit to writing 100,000 words in 30 days.

Sure, in a normal year, where I’m not going to school and I’m not involved in a lengthy house purchase, I could probably do it. Barely, but still manageable.

This year, not so much.

A couple of days ago I decided to revisit a different method of novel-writing. I am hopeful that I will find this method to be more sustainable. I need, desperately, a writing schedule that will fit into an already-hectic-and-about-to-get-more-so schedule.

I need to find a balance.

Part of finding that balance, for me, is giving myself the freedom to write about whatever I want to write about. That’s what this site is supposed to be for me.

Somewhere, I lost sight of that. I forgot that I had decided not to try to fit in to the normal mold. Other wise, I would still have a series of separate blogs.

Instead, I have one website.

The byline is “An Author’s Voice” for a reason. I have not yet pigeonholed myself into one category or genre. That’s what I had forgotten.

I had shackled myself to the idea that I had to write around themes I’d already established.

I had shackled myself by over-committing myself when already overtaxed.

I gain my freedom today by launching a new page: A Culinary Virtual World Tour.

I gain my freedom today by forgiving myself for making a commitment I cannot fulfill and releasing myself from my promise to try my best to fulfill the NaNoWriMo requirements.

Instead, I will be writing about the fabulous restaurants I’ve visited recently and researching for the two stories I started for NaNoWriMo. Once I am re-familiarized with the other writing plan, I will begin following it. I will be writing about that, too.

All in all, it has been a much-needed beneficial realization.

I am once again looking forward to writing and sharing my experiences through this medium.

Thanks for reading.



Categories: changing behaviors, creative writing, hobbies, NaNoWriMo, writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

I have a secret. . .

. . . that I want to share with you: I secretly fantasize about being one of the first anthropologists on Mars.


I know, it’s ridiculous, but articles like this http://lightyears.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/16/mars-radiation-levels-tolerable-to-humans/?hpt=hp_t3

help me to dream. I’ll settle for the Moon, but Curiosity has given me hope that within my lifetime we will have made great strides toward sending astronauts to Mars. And in my wildest fantasies, a colony ship. . .

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I’ve been a bad, bad author. . .

. . . I haven’t written anything for days! Literally!

Ok, so only a couple of days ago I was neck-deep in research and writing my stories. Then, I got distracted.

I can justify the distraction, but it is a distraction, nonetheless. Let me explain.

One of the stories I am working on is the beginning of a multi-volume world. As such, during my research, I should have expected stories and characters to leap out and demand attention. However, I didn’t expect it to be so hard to put them aside and focus on the one I’ve already begun.

It’s, it’s, well, it’s been nearly impossible.

And frustrating.

Yet, I must overcome and persevere.

I’ve tried to cut myself some slack and expect that I’ll get back on track in time to finish NaNo successfully, but the time has come to buckle down and force myself to focus past the other characters crowding my brain. So, to that end, I am creating character worksheets, titles of stories, and one-to-two paragraph blurbs. Hopefully, that will stave off the tendency to flit from one story to another so that I can actually focus and be productive again.

To all you NaNo-ers out there, I wish you good luck and great success!


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A comparison of definitions. . .

While doing research for one of my stories that I’m struggling with this month (Oh, NaNo, you siren luring me onto the rocks of inadequacy. . .) I was reading dictionary definitions. First, there is succubus. The dictionary definitions reads pretty much like this:

Succubus: noun, plural, succubi

  1. A demon in female form, said to have sexual intercourse with men in their sleep. Compare incubus.
  2. Any demon or evil spirit.
  3. A strumpet or prostitute.

Notice, if you will, where it says “compare incubus”.

Being the person I am, I did compare the two terms; I have to know these minute details if I’m going to give my story credibility. It might be erotic fiction, but it is still a world unto itself.

So, the definition of Incubus reads:

Incubus: noun, plural incubi

1. an imaginary demon or evil spirit supposed to descend upon sleeping persons, especially one fabled to have sexual intercourse with sleeping women. Compare succubus.

2. a nightmare.

3. something that weighs upon or oppresses one like a nightmare.

I never really thought much of these two terms when I first read them as a teen. It never occurred to me to question the fact that they are basically male and female counterparts of the same type of entity, yet if one is female, the term is much more broadly applicable. As in, a prostitute can be a real being. A strumpet could be a term applied to a real person. Then we cross to the metaphysical side. If you’re female, “Succubus” could apply to any demon or evil spirit.

How generous.

In contrast, “Incubus” seems to give much more room for credulity and be much less applicable to reality. It seems to send the message that if a man is seduced, there must be evil intent on the part of the female, but if a woman is seduced, well, you know, that may or may not have actually happened. Being as the creation of one of humanities most popular deities was from the consummation of the sexual act of a spirit with an unconscious, or sleeping, woman, I’m a little amused at this point. Ruefully so, but amused still.

I don’t know all the deep, mysterious origins of the concepts of demons, gods, devils, djinn, et cetera, though I have been trying to find out more about these ideas in my spare time. Thus, this post. And likely many more to follow.

I can’t write creatively when I’m shaking my head in awe at the webs humanity has woven to control itself.

I could never be that detailed, creative, and all-around phenomenal. Therefore, I must try to understand it in order to better emulate it. That does not, however, mean that I have to like putting such constraints on my characters.

We’ll see what more my research can teach me. Perhaps there will be a way for my bookwork Succubus to fight the sexist system that governs her new existence.

Perhaps not.



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Distractions, distractions everywhere!

So, as you may know, if you’ve read a bit of my blog the last couple of weeks, I am attempting to participate in National Novel Writing Month, or, NaNoWriMo for those of us who are “in the know”.  😉 Well, I am on my Monday, the first day for my darling husband going back to work for the day. As such, I decided to motivate myself. I went for a walk, intending to eat a nice brunch and write before grocery shopping and coming home. Well, life doesn’t always work out the way we intend it to.

The sushi place I wanted to eat was not open for another 35 minutes, and I’m way to impatient and busy to wait around for that long. So, I nixed brunch and went shopping. Two packages of chicken, some carrots, celery, a small bottle of soda and a small bottle of water later, and I was on my way. I am intending to make delicious chicken soup for dinner, and was happily marching along, nearly home, when my morning took a turn that thrilled me.

One of the establishments in our neighborhood is an old-fashioned country store-workshop type of building. I believe it used to be a general store. Perhaps I’ll learn a wee bit more of its history after today.

The proprietors of this establishment have a couple of small, cute dogs. One is a pug. She is friendly and willful and the elder gentleman that I talked to today simply cannot seem to get her to listen and being hindered by limited mobility doesn’t help him much. By this I mean that he walks with a cane and cannot chase the energetic little pug as she scampers off, eager to investigate whatever strikes her fancy. Today, that was me.

As I grew up on a cattle ranch, I have experience with dogs simply running up to sniff me. The fact that I have a natural affinity for dogs helps matters in that I can usually get the animal to listen to me, even if it won’t listen to its owner. It’s nuts, because my own dog ignores me until he’s pissed me off; then he cowers like Pain and Panic from Disney’s Hercules.

No matter. Today, this little pug wouldn’t listen and I walked her back home, even stepping just inside the doorway so that she would enter her owner’s home. He was grateful, so he gave me a copy of a map of Historical Orenco. I was, of course, delighted. I love seeing what the world looked like in the past. I mentioned how perfect this little photocopied gift was for me, since I am studying to be a cultural anthropologist. Upon hearing that, the gentleman stopped me from leaving as I had intended, saying, “Hold on, I have something else for you.” He disappeared into his shop again, returning with a roll of paper that made my week.

The outer layer is a newsprint from 1879!

You may not be excited about that, but I am! 🙂 I have long had a forbidden love-affair with old (1920s and prior) printed work. I had the opportunity once to explore a couple of abandoned farmhouses that each had a few dozen books in them from 1950 and before. I was in heaven and wished I knew how to protect them and had the time to read them and study them. Unfortunately, I never did.

Now, I have as much time as I need to study these prints. I can’t wait to see what glimpses into the past they provide and when I’m done reading them, I’m intending to frame them. They are, currently, my most prized academic possession. I just hope I can set them aside until the end of NaNoWriMo. That’s going to be the challenge, right there. How to stay focused on my crazy goal with the siren call of historical print media singing to me. . . Ah, it’s a good thing I am strong!

Now, off to write and have a long-delayed meal. Good thing it’s only lunch time, huh?


Categories: Anthropology, creative writing, education, hobbies, humanities, NaNoWriMo, reading, writing | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Kaliah Chapter One Post Four

After a small meal of roasted fowl and bread, with sweet wine to quench her thirst, Kaliah met Sindai Tarzia at the front entrance. The other woman, whose long brown hair was pulled back into a tight knot at the back of her head, handed her a tiny package along with Kaliah’s freshened cloak.

Slipping the package into her waist-pouch, Kaliah bowed courteously and slipped the bar on the front door. The disdain on Tarzia’s face had left her with an unexpected chill, and Kaliah was absurdly grateful of the heat of the midsummer sun. One of the twins reached past her and pulled the door shut, prompting her to jump forward as his arm brushed her back, a heated blush staining her cheeks.

Her face set in an intimidating scowl, she set off, pulling her hood up to shield her skin. It was red enough from embarrassment, she didn’t need to add to it with sunburn. Now that the food had been cleared from the tables which had been stacked along the left Temple wall, the main square of the village was crowded with people jostling about on their various errands. Sometimes, it felt as though she never had a moment of true silence. People seemed to be everywhere!

Sidling close to the buildings lining the lagoon, Fisher’s Row, as the locals pretentiously called it, Kaliah kept to the shadows as much as to ease her passage through the crowds as to keep out of the sun. Finally, after long minutes avoiding, dodging, and accidentally brushing against her fellow villagers- who, whenever she made contact, spat a little to the side and made the sign of the Protection Ward in her direction- she finally made it to the Jeweler’s Court.

From there, finding Master Volster’s establishment was easy. The brightly tiled doorjamb of his shop shone like a beacon as the sun glinted from the various colors and filigree imbedded in the oak. It was by far the most elaborately decorated storefront on the street. Perhaps in the entire Court, though Kaliah had no intention of loitering long enough to make a comparison.

The interior of the building was cool, thanks to the thick stone walls, and brightly lit from reflected sunlight streaming in from windows set high in the walls and glinting off strategically placed mirrors. The clever arrangement offered light with an absence of heat that was much appreciated by shopkeep and customer alike at midsummer.

“Welcome. May I interest you in a choker to adorn your throat? Or perhaps some earrings to frame your undoubtedly lovely face?” The young woman, no doubt Volster’s clerk, spoke from behind a table of jewels, her eyes leaving the display well after the words had left her lips. When she did lift her eyes, they widened as she blanched at the sight of Kaliah’s white hair.

Lifting her chin, Kaliah stared down at the shorter woman with her customary icy reserve. “I am here on Temple business to see Master Volster.” Her voice sounded unnaturally loud in the silent shop, and she winced at the slight echo that came back to her.

“Master Volster is not here presently. Perhaps you’d like a jeweled belt? We have a fine collection of them.” One small hand gestured at the arrangement draped over the table in front of her. “I’m sure we can find something you like.”

Kaliah had a moment’s shock; the girl was one she had known in school before she became Mishrey. They’d never passed a civil word between them, and now the other girl was behaving as though Kaliah was no different than anyone else in the village, as though her visit were not an off-putting event. Even the color had come back to her cheeks and a sparkle positively lit her eyes as she held one belt after another against the fabric of Kaliah’s cloak.

“Master Volster is the only thing that I am looking for at the moment. When will he return,” she asked, frustrated and more confused than she’d like to admit.

Categories: creative writing, Excerpts of longer work, hobbies, Kaliah, writing | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

A Long Due Update

I have a passion for the Mars Curiosity Rover. I have been denying that passion, for fear that anyone who stumbled across this blog may find it boring to read about a robot, remotely piloted, on Mars, while it’s drivers are still on Earth.

I know!

How could I be so silly?!


This is my latest favorite photo from Curiosity.

Whether the item in question turns out to be from Curiosity itself, and thus likely made of plastic, the scientists are thinking, or if it turns out to be something phenomenal from Mars itself, I simply do not care. It is amazing to me that we can have presence, and control of a machine ,so far from Home.

I think the image should be shared. I think people should see that we can “lay eyes” upon the surface of a world far, far, (farther than most people can actually conceptualize) far away.

The item just to the left of center screen is what Curiosity is currently investigating.

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Kaliah Chapter One Post Three

Kaliah watched as the acolyte disappeared down the corridor that lead to the laundry rooms and the Temple baths. Still sweating from the heat outside, Kaliah took a step toward the bath hall before she could stop herself. Duty warred with desire as she brought herself to a stop. The High Priestess was not such an understanding woman that she would forgive Kaliah’s frolicking in the baths when she should be attending to her duties and waiting for her next errand.

Closing her eyes, she fell into the meditative trance than she had been taught to achieve here at the Temple. Within moments, she felt the anger and hostility draining from her body, leaving her calm and centered once again. Her hands laced lightly together in front of her waist, she made her way quietly down the carpeted hall leading to the Sanctuary. Just beyond it, through a narrow, crooked hall that was once merely a crack in the stone wall, were the High Priest Cassandran’s private quarters.

No one ever went there.

Turning her attention from that hallowed hallway, Kaliah surveyed the Sanctuary with a critical eye. As Mishrey, ultimate responsibility for the Sanctuary was hers, in addition to being the High Priestess’ personal errand runner. The two occupations kept food on her table, clothing on her and her mother, and afforded her a treasured bit of independence.

The Sanctuary was quiet, deserted, though freshly lit incense wafted up toward the ventilation hole in the ceiling in tight little eddies of smoke. All the acolytes and students were at midday Services. No doubt the room would fill in another hour, as the most pious of the residents would come for devotional time before evening Services. Kaliah herself would be home by evening Services; Mishrey’s were not required to attend Services more than once a week.

Plucking wilting petals from the wildflowers on the altar, Kaliah made a mental note to pick some fresh ones when she next found an opportunity.

“I trust that there were no problems with your last delivery, Mishrey.” Though it was not a question, Kaliah knew that Cassandran, High Priestess of Ishlia Temple, was expecting an answer as though it were.

“There were no problems, my Lady. Merely a delay, as I was forced to seek Caffran at his Farm, as he was not at his shop at the appointed hour.” Kaliah kept her manner subservient as she reported, and her eyes trained on the floor. “He bade me to give you this,” she said, withdrawing a small paper-wrapped parcel from the pouch sewn into her wide belt. She presented it in the flat of her palm, lifted above her head as she knelt on the floor in front of the priestess. She’d assumed the position as soon as she’d heard Cassandran’s voice, though she’d never lifted her gaze to confirm the speaker.

She kept herself from flinching, barely, as the soft scrape of the other woman’s nails tickled her palm as the package was taken from her. The first and most important duty of a Mishrey was trustworthiness. She must always demonstrate impeccable trustworthiness. No Mishrey ever knew what they carried to and from the Temple. Kaliah was very careful to never set eyes on even the wrapping of the packages and missives she carried. Her fingers had become very deft in the two years she’d been serving as Mishrey.

There was the sound of crackling paper, then silence. Evidently, the package from Caffran contained a message. Anyone with common sense could deduce that, Kaliah thought with a touch of scorn. Just because she never knew what was in the packages and parcels didn’t mean she didn’t speculate. She was only human, after all.

Just when she thought she’d been forgotten and was about to indulge herself in a little harmless fantasy, Cassandran spoke. “Sindai Tarzia will have a package waiting for you at the door after you’ve eaten. You will take it to the jeweler, Master Volster. After that, the rest of the day is yours. I will not have need of you tomorrow, either, so return the day after.” Cassandran swept away, presumably back to her private quarters and Kaliah slowly rose.


Categories: creative writing, Excerpts of longer work, hobbies, Kaliah, writing | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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