Marcellus’ House

One of the best suggestions I received about Substance of Shadows from author friends is that I should make the novel a little more omniscient. Yeah, that’s popular right now. 🙂

But you know, the novel wants to be omniscient. There would be an omniscient narrator who could pull things together easily, although the identity of the omniscient narrator would be a bit of a surprise. Still, shooting for that old fashioned Victorian feel. Need to pull away from the modern prose a bit.

Another thing I needed to do was get my houses right. My blocking was getting pretty obnoxious. Rooms were blending in weird ways. I went out to find template houses to pattern my three homes on. These houses will contain most of the action of five books, so they themselves are characters to some extent.

What houses am I using as my templates? Glad you asked. I’ll be happy to tell you in this series of entries!

Continue reading “Marcellus’ House”


Recently, there are two of my relationships that have solidified into something good. In both instances, the people involved seemed to have made a choice, that I was their friend now, and that they wanted to treat me differently than they have in the past. There is an active pursuit of friendship that I find very pleasant, and I do my best to reciprocate.

Both of these relationships were very good in the past, but both of them were much more casual. And then, for whatever reasons, click! a decision was made and I am reaping the benefits of that decision. One person indicated the shift by event; the other by announcement of intent. Very cool. Every time someone decides I am worth getting to know better, I am grateful.

There are also relationships where things work the other way. I’m not talking about a relationship where both parties have made mistakes and engaged in confrontation. Those decisions change the relationship fundamentally, and things often don’t go back to the way they were. Nor should they, nor can they.

The negative click seems to be when someone makes a decision to distance themselves from you. Of course there’s no formal announcement. But you notice. Sometimes it takes you some time to notice. That’s a little more difficult, because you wonder what the problem is, if you can fix it, and why it happened.

Eventually, you come to the place where you realize that this isn’t about you, and it isn’t about them. It’s about chemistry and decisions. Your style isn’t for everyone, and frankness isn’t always the best policy. A couple of years ago I let someone go under what appeared to be fairly mysterious circumstances. I made it clear to the person that I was going. The issue was that she had done something I found morally questionable, and I couldn’t ignore it. My problem, not hers. But did she really need to hear my baggage? Not so much, especially as I was on the way out. There was no way we could reconcile the experience. It wasn’t a compromise scenario.


There are those moments I can see those clicks in others about me. I can never know why. I can’t worry about why. If no one is interested enough to tell you, no remedy is possibly.

Fate is both sweet and bittersweet. We not only choose others, but they must choose us as well. And when things are one-sided, they hearken back to those junior high crushes. Of course, we are older now, and we have been around the block a little more, and we understand these things a little better. This, then, is the beauty and the sadness of experience.

And I write about it to mark the occasion of the beginning of two things, and the realization of the end of one. Life is like a stream. You never stand in the same stream twice.

And the Good News

While I haven’t heard from Taos Toolbox whether I’m in or out for summer (early days!), I have heard from my college about my professional development funding. You all may wonder why I work like a dog for Kirkwood. And the answer is that they do things like fund the majority of Taos Toolbox for me. They also paid for Viable Paradise. I love my job. While I will still have some expenses for Taos, the lion’s share is taken care of.

I love my job. It bears repeating. I love my job.

Of course, if I don’t get into Taos, I’ll put it back into the professional development pot and see what happens next.


Meanwhile, when I’m not at work, you might wonder what I’ve been doing. I mean, besides joining Bryon in the hunt for Monster High characters.

I’ve been researching houses for Mistraldol, Galt House, and Marcellus’ House. My plan is to work on Substance up through just before Christmas, doing some architectural and reference work, and maybe some first scene writing, and then over Christmas break, do some revamping (no pun intended) on Abigail Rath, as well as some research on Hollywood and that area, as it turns out that’s where Abby lives, her dad being a retired actor and all.

So, having fun with the writing. Yay.


And I discovered that I cannot yet return to Super Hula Hoops. The ribs aren’t ready for that. It’s an advil popping day. But you never know unless you try. Believe me, now I know.


I hope you are enjoying getting ready for Christmas. I think I have to plan a Christmas dinner in there somewhere soon.


Freaky, Chic, and Fly

Sometimes, life just toodles along, and you’re not looking for anything new to happen. At those times, you might let your guard down, and before you know it, you’re suddenly a toy collector.


My husband Bryon is an avid toy collector (he hasn’t been a rabid toy collector since the Justice League slow down). I appreciate his hobby, although sometimes I have quite enough of the smell of polyvinylchloride, and I feel like I’m living in a children’s room.

To be fair, this isn’t all his fault. I have a few toys of my own–stuffed animals, some Disney princesses, the occasional toy here and there. But I was a dabbler at best, a poseur at worst. Bryon was the real deal. I gave him the guest room for his hobby years ago. It does spread elsewhere, but that’s the lion’s share of it.

Somehow I’ve always felt morally superior. You know, thumbing my nose at Western materialism. Nevermind that I have loads of books, DVDs, and CDs. Oh no, I was more zen than thou.

So, as I said. Not looking to become a rabid toy collector. Until this…

Continue reading “Freaky, Chic, and Fly”

What I Learned from NaNoWriMo this Year

I know you’re out there. You’re like me. You’re the self-editors.

You can’t write a bad draft. You write some, think about that, fix it, and evaluate it. In a best case scenario, this works for you. Life goes on, and you write a story. In a worst case scenario, you have a lot of unfinished stories.

Let’s live in a different world for a moment. Let’s give ourselves permission to make a mess. A gooey, gloppy, precarious mess. The Leaning Tower of Pisa of all messes. Messes that scream Jenga!

Bryon and I have very different approaches to creativity. My husband has been known to scream through the house on a bender. He will leave swaths of discarded material. He will glue where he ought not glue. He leaves scissors in hidden piles of debris. It’s almost like his creativity is loosed from its cage and it runs all over the house, knocking over the furniture.

I create more like a prissy cat. I make piles. I put away instruments. I clean up after myself.

This year, in NaNo, I didn’t clean up after myself. Loads changed in the draft. Pieces of it are crap. But I played around and I got dirty, and I had a fine time doing it.

I dunno. Maybe those folks who write complete first drafts are totally onto something. Maybe. I’d be willing to try it again, the messy approach, and see what I find out.

It’s kind of nice to have a whole mess of words, and not have agonized over them.



I’ve got to give it to them: the Sanduskys are pretty brazen.

Ten young men initially came forward with claims of abuse. An additional twelve charges have been laid at Sandusky’s feet. It’s pretty unlikely this is a conspiracy designed to tarnish Sandusky’s reputation. Besides the men’s accusations, there are several witnesses and Penn State reports that are adding up in a way unfavorable to Sandusky.

And yet Dottie Sandusky had this to say about the situation:

“I am so sad anyone would make such a terrible accusation which is absolutely untrue,” she said. “We don’t know why these young men have made these false accusations, but we want everyone to know they are untrue.”

She elaborates, “I have been devastated by these accusations,” she said. “Our children, our extended family and friends know how much Jerry and I love kids and have always tried to help and care for them. We would never do anything to hurt them.”


Jerry himself has given two interviews. Why would the man go so public? A theory: This is what abusers do, according to psychiatrist Dr. Michael Welner, ABC’s forensic psychiatrist. “The way he helps himself is by communicating in the way that predatory sex offenders relate their crimes, through cognitive distortion. A way a defender relates about his actions to another that sounds convincing but denies, justifies, rationalizes and minimalizes in such a way to say, ‘nothing to see here, move on.'”

Continue reading “Brazen”

Bad News, Good News

Bad News: I watched V for Vendetta last night. I understand that the movie took great liberties with the comic, but sending the message that a torturer is doing you a favor is NOT OKAY. My reaction was visceral. I don’t know anything about the Wachowski Brothers or their background, but using that sort of crap as an intellectual exercise clearly shows they lack a certain empathy for those of us who have been victims.

In the original, I understand, V is an anarchist, and Evie is not drawn to him, and I suppose the whole things comes off as horrific, but more acceptable. But the movie, it’s just messed up. Gah.


Good News: I just sent off my last student loan payment after 10 years. My PhD is now paid for. My entire education is paid for. For those of you who have been in grad school, you know this is huge.

I guess I should celebrate. Maybe throw a party in a library or something.

Back to the salt mines.