I Return From the Wild West

And I want to go back! The only truly western states we visited were Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona, and I can safely say that the west is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Arguably, the most beautiful place in the world.

Simply put, I’m in love.

A particularly lovely bunch of peaks

A particularly lovely bunch of peaks

A rainbow on the way from Tombstone to Roswell

A rainbow on the way from Tombstone to Roswell

When you’ve seen rainbows glowing over the craggiest peak you’ve ever seen, watched seemingly endless miles of defiant landscape roll by, daring you to step out and see what’s beyond the farthest ridge…the rest of the world pales.

When you’ve tasted food so hot your face went red even under the sunburn and specialties no one’s heard of at home, but loved both of them(well…maybe not the enchilada crafted from the heart of an active volcano, but I at least enjoyed the flavor if not the heat)…your tastebuds may never be the same–partially because they’ve been seared, but no matter.

This is pinon, which is a variety of pine nut. They sell it off of pinon trucks in Sante Fe. It. Is. Amazing.

This is pinon, which is a variety of pine nut. They sell it off of pinon trucks in Sante Fe. It. Is. Amazing.

When you’ve seen a thousand stories left behind, some written on wooden crosses, others in the broken glass of abandoned businesses, and the best burned into the people who remember the tales worthy enough to survive…you wonder what kind of story you’ll leave.

A town on the New Mexico border. Population: 1

A town on the New Mexico border. Population: 1

A particularly interesting marker in Tombstone(naturally).

A particularly interesting marker in Tombstone(naturally).

When you’ve seen canyons that dwarf stadiums, trees harder than rock(because…well…they are rock), and the blackened remains of the volcanoes that shaped the terrain…and realize just how big the world is. And just how much more you have to see.

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon

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Happy Anniversary!

On this date one year ago, I started a blog. I had no idea what I was doing; I still don’t, but I’m having fun doing it.

I had no expectation of gaining followers; through no fault of my own, I now have quite a few.

I expected less comments than followers: at last count, there were over 300.

Don’t even get me started on the views I expected.  Amazingly enough, there are now over 2,400 views from around 40 countries. None of that would’ve been possible if not for…*drumroll*…wifi.

And you guys,too, I guess.

English: A chocolate cake decorated with icing...

Here, have some cake as a thank you.

I thank you all for your readership, your kind comments, and your encouragement in my writing. Thank you for bearing with me when my posts have been far beyond inconsistent, when I really have no idea what I’m talking about, and when my views differ from yours. It’s been a fun (if bumpy) ride thus far, and I have no intention of quitting any time soon.

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Worlds Away Writing Challenge: Day 7

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                                           Worlds Away Writing Challenge:

Seven days of questions, prompts, and ideas to keep you writing. The rules?

 

  • Answer each question/prompt as completely as possible.
  • Add the link-icon to your posts.
  • If you are so inclined, challenge other writing bloggers(or just any blogger in general) to challenge the challenge by completing the…um…challenge.

Day 7: As an easy out for the last day, pick seven fictional worlds you would want to visit or live in. Explain which one and why.

  •  Narnia: I would quite happily live there. Talking animals, mythical beings, nobles who are actually noble–what’s not to like? (Provided you arrive during the Golden Age.)
  •   The Marvel Universe: Visit. Definitely visit. Visiting decreases your chances of being skewered by Loki, eaten by Venom, or dying in some other equally horrid manner. Still, it would be an interesting place to see. Seeing what a world where the forces of good and evil are so present(and colorful) would be infinitely interesting.
  •  The Doctor Who Universe: Visit. As amazing as it would be to live in a world where essentially anything is possible, your chances of surviving an alien coup(which happen every Christmas, apparently) are slim to nil.
  •  The River of Time Series: …Undecided. Visiting would lower your chances of Black Plague, while living there might result in meeting the love of your life. Your very short life, should you contract the plague…
  •  Middle Earth: Live there. I want to be a Hobbit. Life would be ever so much simpler. And it would be socially acceptable to eat in excess of three meals per day.
  •   The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Universe: A world in which all of the classic literary characters not only exist, but converge? Let me at it. For a day or two, anyway.
  •  The Agatha Christie Universe: Visit. I love her books(all of them), her characters(again, all of them), and it would be lovely to meet some of them.

…             Provided I wasn’t the victim.

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Worlds Away Writing Challenge: Day 6

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                                           Worlds Away Writing Challenge:

Seven days of questions, prompts, and ideas to keep you writing. The rules?

  • Answer each question/prompt as completely as possible.
  • Add the link-icon to your posts.
  • If you are so inclined, challenge other writing bloggers(or just any blogger in general) to challenge the challenge by completing the…um…challenge.

Day 6: Do you have plans to continue writing the world you’ve used in the challenge?

Definitely. I have partial outlines of several new projects set in the Victorian Vagabond universe.

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Worlds Away Writing Challenge: Day 5

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                                         Worlds Away Writing Challenge:

Seven days of questions, prompts, and ideas to keep you writing. The rules?

  • Answer each question/prompt as completely as possible.
  • Add the link-icon to your posts.
  • If you are so inclined, challenge other writing bloggers(or just any blogger in general) to challenge the challenge by completing the…um…challenge.

Day 5: Most novels (and story worlds) tend to have more characters than they actually need. List all the characters from one of your worlds, then try parring them down to three characters plus antagonist. Could you still tell the story?

No…not my babies…

As far as listing them all goes, that could take pages, so I’ll only go with the ones from book one.

  •  Zissa Churchill
  • Alec Griffin
  • Prilla Rossi
  • Alistair Sterling
  • Warren Churchill
  • Benedict Churchill
  • Enola Graves
  • Theo Baker
  • Inigo Migez
  • Squeaky

In parring them down, I would still need-

  •    Zissa Churchill
  •    Alec Griffin

-as main characters, and-

  • Prilla Rossi
  • Warren Churchill

-as a minor character and an antagonist. I think I could still tell the story, but the novel would be cut by at least a hundred pages. Still, it’s something to think about.

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Worlds Away Writing Challenge: Day 4

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                                    Worlds Away Writing Challenge:

Seven days of questions, prompts, and ideas to keep you writing. The rules?

  • Answer each question/prompt as completely as possible.
  • Add the link-icon to your posts.
  • If you are so inclined, challenge other writing bloggers(or just any blogger in general) to challenge the challenge by completing the…um…challenge.

Day 4: What is the imagery of your world like? Is it sweeping, descriptive, and epic? Humorous and snappy? Dark? Gritty? Explain, then share a small example of your imagery.

Typically, I try to aim for somewhere in between. I want to sketch an idea in the reader’s head, but let him fill in the gaps with their own imagination. I want a mix of fun and serious with a healthy dose of camp thrown in–though it can take quite a few rewrites to get it the way I want it (if I ever do).

Example:

The house, as usual, was totally different than when I had left it. The walk was still trimmed and the garden well-kept, but Mayhap Manor itself…It was never well-kept.

Of course, that was mostly my fault, as having an inventor’s lab on the main floor doesn’t lend itself to keeping a house intact, free of odd chemical odors, and smoke-free.

However, the full-size mural of Venice that now unfurled across the east wall had nothing to do with me, and–while a splash of color was nice–there are certain limits. And I think Prilla just may have reached them.

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Ahem

I would like to draw your attention to this.

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Worlds Away Writing Challenge: Day 3

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                                             Worlds Away Writing Challenge:

Seven days of questions, prompts, and ideas to keep you writing. The rules?

  • Answer each question/prompt as completely as possible.
  • Add the link-icon to your posts.
  • If you are so inclined, challenge other writing bloggers(or just any blogger in general) to challenge the challenge by completing the…um…challenge.

Day 3: Does your world have an overriding theme? What is it? Explain.

In a way, it actually has several. Though I’ve written quite a few short stories placed there, in addition to the novel, there are several points that keep coming up. Number one is individuality. Most of my characters are somewhat…well…unique. Like the florist who is in fact a mercenary/fence/whatever-she-decides-she-is-today. They all do precisely what they want, regardless of social convention. Secondly, the fact that human nature is always fundamentally the same comes up a lot.

Those two themes dominate the whole of my work, in that world or otherwise. And I don’t really have a problem with that.

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I’m Out

I’ll be offline for approximately two weeks, but I have scheduled posts to keep you guys busy until I get back. Depending on various factors, I may or may not be able to check in to respond to comments(but please do continue to leave them! They make my day.) and do site maintenance. Love y’all. Behave yourselves. I’ll be back at the keyboard soon.

 

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Worlds Away Writing Challenge: Day 2

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                                       Worlds Away Writing Challenge:

Seven days of questions, prompts, and ideas to keep you writing. The rules?

  • Answer each question/prompt as completely as possible.
  • Add the link-icon to your posts.
  • If you are so inclined, challenge other writing bloggers(or just any blogger in general) to challenge the challenge by completing the…um…challenge.

Day 2: Pick a story world(one of your own, obviously). Push the setting either fifty years forward or fifty years back. How does it affect the world? The characters? Write a short scene describing the new world.

As I currently have just one world(I’m fiddling with another, but it’s nowhere near ready), I’ll stick with the one from last time. The Victorian Vagabond universe. As it is set in approximately 1870, fifty years could make a significant change either direction. Going back, you have the 1820s. Missouri became a state during that period, and since that’s the setting, it could make for some interesting plot points. Now, going forward, it gets really interesting. The 1920s. The Roaring Twenties. Fun, fun…

Of the two, I would probably go with the 1920s, simply because of the great disparity between the 1870s and the 1920s. You have cars, telephones, new fashions, new taboos–it would change everything. And as far as change goes, the characters wouldn’t escape it, either. New careers would be in order for some, not to mention new backstories. Simply put–nothing would ever be the same.

Scene:

I don’t like heels. Or lipstick. Or complicated hair. Or any of the incredibly uncomfortable things that undercover work was forcing me to deal with. It was so much easier to simply sit in the auto and wait for interesting things to happen, and then get in on the action.  That was where I was comfortable. Actually, I was comfortable anywhere, but where I actually was. Sitting in a speakeasy, far too dolled up for comfort, and expecting more trouble than I’d ever wanted.

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