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NaNoWriMo 2012 – Day One

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Day One

      It’s here! It’s here!
      Wheee! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) began at midnight and I’m so excited I could spit.
      Since I am going to be super busy meeting my daily goal (1667 just to reach the 50k, but double that to actually complete the novel in November) I will probably not do a whole lot of blogging. Which is par for the course, isn’t it? I’ve been a terrible blogger these past few months.
      Please forgive me.
      At any rate, I was going to stay up and write starting at midnight, but alas, I was tired and fell asleep at about 10 on 10/31. But, I woke around midnight-thirty and the words just wouldn’t wait. Thus, I put to pen the official ‘first words’ of “Inferno” (first draft) – a line six words long.
      I then returned to bed and slept until four or so, woke, and wrote.
      In total, despite reading 95 issues of The Walking Dead because I. Could. Not. Stop., I added 5211 words to the first draft of “Inferno”, completed the Prologue, Chapter One, and part of Chapter Two.
      This may sound like a great start to NaNoWriMo 2012, but I really wanted 10k for Day One. C’est la vie. There are 29 days to go in this frantic month of writing and I shall make it to 50k for sure. Its the 100-120k I’m worried about reaching…
      Wish me luck!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Chomped it Good.

Chomped it Good.

      Fear.
      What do you fear?
      Spiders or clowns? Falling or tight spaces? Vampires, Werewolves, Zombies? Dying? Living?
      Whatever it is you fear, does it prevent you from really experiencing life? From doing what you love? From being who you are meant to be?
      Maybe, maybe not.
      Fear is a powerful thing. Right? I mean – its FEAR.
      But successful people don’t let it hold them back. I don’t necessarily mean fiscally successful, but people who have broad interests, help others, fulfilling lives, and who are successful as people.
      October is a month in which a lot of people talk about scary things, about fear, about terror and horror and all those Halloween-y topics. I’m not sure I’ve got anything particularly helpful to contribute about facing your fears, or related topics. That said – I can talk about my own fears and be pretty open about my personal demons and flaws.
      Here’s a top five list of things that scare me:

  • Snakes: Don’t like ’em. Fascinated by ’em. Have horrible recurring nightmares about them. Ick.
  • Heights: Okay, to be honest, its more the falling and painy-splatness that scares me.
  • Dying: Despite a strong faith, I am a total hypochondriac and every twinge or cough automatically means I’m dying. Not ready yet. AAH!
  • Losing All My Weight & Still Not Being ‘Pretty’: Oh, come on. This is legitimate and close to my heart. I have a tremendous fear of doing all that work and ending up saggy and gross. I’m cute as is. But my health decrees the tub must be lost… so yeah.
  • Failure: Rather, confirmation of suspected suckage. Or of putting myself out there are being rejected as ‘not good enough’. Failure of many kinds. Of not living up to standards. Of disappointing people and myself. Failure.

      So, there’s that.
      And being aware of your fears means you can confront them. Which means you can conquer them. Which means you do not have to be ruled by fear! I sure as hell don’t want to be diminished by the things that freak me out.
      In the year of Tangerine Tango, I have conquered my fear of letting others read my work. Maybe, not entirely. I mean, I still get nervous and feel uncertain, anxious… but I do it. The bullet has been bitten. Chomped it good.
      I have not conquered number four, but I will do.
      And number five.
      Do you ever get past that? Is submitting the novel to Harper-Voyager enough to say I’ve passed it by? Is deciding to self-pub, enough?
      No matter what, I’ll keep plugging away. Improving myself and making strides toward being a successful person. A person worth knowing and worth the love and support of the people who care about me.
      That, my friends, is all I’ve got to say on ‘fear’.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Winner Announced!

Winner Announced!

      Booyah! I totally forgot to announce the winner of the Blurbity Blurbity Blurb give-away!
      Drum roll please!

      Number Two!
      Going back to the post, that would be the lovely “Mary”! I will be contacting you via email, Mary, to get your information and let you know when a copy will be ready for you!

      To the other entrants, thank you tremendously for your advice and your entries! I hope to see you all enter again next time.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

September 11th

September 11th

      Let me briefly preface this blog post by saying that while it is not about writing, or “Incandescence”, or related topics… it is about something important and even though this is primarily a writing blog, sometimes, the things I think just have to come out.
—————
      Before 2001, September 11th had no more significance to me than any other day. It was the birthday of a guy I had crushed on for years in Middle & High School, but that’s all. Just another day of work and school and life.
      Then 9/11 happened.
      I was up really early that morning. Something like, 5 a.m. on the West Coast, and I had been writing (okay, and possibly playing a web-based roleplaying game) instead of studying or preparing for classes to start. I was living with my mother at the time, and she was up at that ungodly hour as well, watching the stock market tumble on the CNN ticker obsessively. The effect it was having on her investments was awful and she was not sleeping well at the time (being a widow with a full-time job, a mortgage and a daughter working full-time and going to school full-time takes its stressful toll).
      I heard her gasp from my bedroom and then she called out for me to get in there, quick. I remember stubbing my toe on the leg of my half-moon Ikea desk as I ran out to the living room. It was happening in real time. The planes, the people leaping from windows to escape the fires & explosions, the towers coming down. I couldn’t breathe for a minute, an hour. We were transfixed, teary-eyed, unable to look away. It didn’t seem real — it had to be impossible, an attack like that. Who? What? How? Why?
      Why?
      In the days that followed, I was truly proud to be an American. Proud of how we rallied around each other as a nation. Over the years, that solidarity has dimished again. We are once again divided. Its an election year and one of the most heated I have ever experienced. I won’t spout the cliché about standing together or falling divided (except, I sort of just did, huh?) but I think its true.
I wish we could find a way to return to the sentiments of that day, without enduring further tragedy. I wish we could learn to live and let live, to not separate ourselves from each other based on superficial things like race or even deeper issues like religon, to exist peacefully and supportively with our fellow man. I think that we forget so easily, especially in this ADHD age where everything moves at a rapid pace, that at our cores, at the most basic level, are are all the same.
      We share the same atoms, the same origins, the same blood.
      Maybe we don’t all believe the same things, but that’s okay. Diversity is good. Acceptance is better still. And while I cannot say that I am proud of all the events that occurred in the wake of 9/11, of knee-jerk reactions, I can state emphatically, that I remain proud to be an American.
      Before 2001, September 11th was just another day. Now, it makes me stop and reflect, remember and honor those who have fallen, write rambly blogs about it, and despite the fact that its been almost 15 years since I saw him, wonder whatever happened to that curly-haired boy I adored.

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Blurbity Blurbity Blurb

Blurbity Blurbity Blurb

      As anyone who has followed my journey writing and editing “Incandescence” knows, its been a battle. Its not my first book, not in the literal sense, but it is the first one which I am writing as a fully-grown-up person with intention to send off into the world to be read and (hopefully) enjoyed by a broader audience than… just me.
      Still, as much as I complain about how editing is both the worst and best part of writing, I have to say that the very hardest thing I have attempted to do for “Incandescence” is writing the blurb. Yes, the blurb. The quick synosis you find on the back of a book that makes you go ‘Hells yes! I gots ta read me summa dis!’ or ‘Ugh. More vampire lovers and tight black leather? Hells to the nah’.
      The blurb has to contain so much information, yet be written in such a way as to not seem like an infodump. It has to be catchy and exciting, yet ask question or end on a cliffhanger, yet not give away too much of the plot.
      There are many blogs out there discussing the anatomy of a perfect blurb. Start with a hook, choose only the main character(s) to highlight, leave them wanting more… all great points. But there’s an art to putting that advice to practical use and I have not yet mastered the technique.
Here’s my work-in-progress/beta-test blurb for “Incandescence”:

      The world has been on a downward spiral for awhile – even 14-year-old Hannah Brighton knows that much – but no one was really expecting it to end quite so soon. Yet on one hazy afternoon in March, Hannah, her older brother Michael, and their 102-year-old great-great-grandmother find themselves running for their lives and struggling to exist in a world on the brink of collapse.
      Fortunately for these siblings, magic is real. They are the last two mageborns on Earth — at least as far as they know.
      As the world descends into utter chaos they must survive earthquakes and tsunamis, maurauding looters (or looting maurauders?), a greedy empire-building bastard named Alexander, and at the heart of the destruction, an ancient enemy with an army of hungry children at her command. Their peaceful mountain valley may provide some protection but it only delays the inevitable confrontation.
      Trapped between the avaricious power of Alexander & Isaac, the collapse of civilization, and an indescribable evil – Hannah, Michael, and their assembly of exiles have no choice but to fight.

      Well? What do you think? What should change? How can I improve this blurb to make it the bestest most blurbity blurb that ever blurbed? Can you tell I sort of love and hate the word blurb? Its great, and awful.
      Still, I honestly seek your advice. You’re a reader, you’ve probably picked up a thousand books over the years, flipped ’em over and read the back cover copy. What makes you pick up Book A over Book B? I know the cover is important, both front and back, so its crucial to me that I get this one right! Right?
      In the future, maybe I should take a fellow author’s advice and write the blurb first. Then it can act as a mini-outline for how I intend the story to go. But I bet if I wrote a blurb right now for say, the “Rudabet” project, the actual novel will be vastly different. Maybe not. Let’s give it a try.

      A serpant with an insatiable appetite has swallowed the continent whole over the course of 100 years. Now, it sets its greedy black eyes on the island nation of Baidra and girds its loins for war.
      But fierce Queen Rudabet will not give up her country’s sovereinty without a fight. A wild, proud people, the inhabitants of Baidra know they cannot fight the Empire’s expertly trained troops on equal footing. They take to the trees and trenches, declaring guerilla warfare on supply lines and scouting parties.
      Lead by the Queen’s fearless consort, Kimaran, the nation’s fleet of merchant ships and pleasure boats transform into a powerful navy and rock the Emperor’s carefully laid plans. Victory – and freedom – are within their grasp and despite heavy losses, the people of Baidra refuse to be beaten. Yet, there is a traitor in their midst instigating trouble within the Queen’s court and selling information to the Emperor.
      Will Rudabet’s ferocious fighting spirit be enough to lead her people to victory?

      Hmm.
      Not 100% awful for a first try. I don’t know if I should focus more on the war or the interpersonal stuff. I didn’t mention General Abeterus at all, and he’s pretty plot-critical, but the sweeping storyline of invasion and war might be more encompassing.
      Anyway, I’d appreciate opinions (on both, but particularly “Incandescence”). I’ve read that a blurb should be under 250 words. Normally, I find that to be painfully limiting since I tend toward the verbose, but in both cases presented above I came in just under 170 (162 & 168, respectively).
      Please please please, give me some advice, guys!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

* * * * * * * * * * *

[Editor’s Update]

      Okay, taking into account some feedback I’ve gotten, let’s try an updated version…

      Although the modern world has been on a downward spiral for awhile, no one was really expecting it to end quite so soon. Yet, one hazy afternoon in March, Hannah, her brother Michael, and their 102-year-old great-great-grandmother find themselves running for their lives and struggling to survive in a world on the brink of collapse.
      As society descends into utter chaos they must withstand earthquakes and tsunamis, looting marauders, a pair of greedy empire-building bastards named Alexander & Isaac, and, at the heart of the destruction, an ancient enemy with an army of hungry children at her command. Their peaceful mountain valley may provide some protection but it only delays the inevitable confrontation.
      Fortunately for these siblings, magic is real. They are the last two mageborns on Earth. At least as far as they know.
      Now, trapped between the avaricious power of Alexander & Isaac, the collapse of civilization, and an indescribable evil – Hannah, Michael, and their motley collection of allies have no choice but to fight back.

The fine print about the give-away. One winner will be randomly selected using Random.org and that person will receive an electronic copy of “Incandescence” as an ARC before it premieres to the world. NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY. Jack is not eligible because he can have a copy anytime he wants, LOL. Otherwise, its open anyone over the age of 18 and a resident of the US. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. The entry period for this giveaway ends on Saturday September 15th, 2012 at 11:59 PM Eastern. The winner will be chosen, at Random, on Sunday September 16th, 2012 and contacted via email to claim their prize. If the prize is not claimed by September 30th, 2012 at 11:59pm EST, a second winner will be drawn. To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog entry, giving your opinion or advice on the ‘blurb’ for “Incandescence”. Ensure that you have left a valid email address. I retain the right to disqualify any comments which appear to be spam for additional chances to win, but multiple entries will be counted. PenelopePrice.net reserves the right to collect and use the winner’s name and likeness for promotional purposes. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. There is no cash alternative, this prize is provided by PenelopePrice.net, and blah blah legal jargon blah.

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

      Okay, I know I haven’t been posting much, so this meme is a big of a cop-out, but it looked fun and when my friend Nicole Storey tagged me, I couldn’t help but join in the Wacky Wednesday fun!
      Technically, I am supposed to tag five writer friends and make them do it. But… well, I think most of my writer friends were already tagged in this challenge (darn it!). C’est la vie! Read on to find out my oh-so-fascinating answers to these ten questions, and feel free to comment at the end.
      Also, if you want to be tagged – link back to this page and fill the questions in on your blog! I would so love to read them!

What is the working title of your book?
The working title is “Incandescence”. At this point, I’m sort of married to that title in my brain, but there’s always a chance it’ll change. Who knows?

Where did the idea for your book come from?
*scratches head* A random thought occurred to me while I was sitting on the couch at my bestie’s house. I texted it to Jack (and my own email account, as I am wont to do) and the rest is history. If it hadn’t struck so hard, I might not have ended up using it for NaNo two months later, but gosh I am glad I did. I’ve grown so much as a writer and social media maven (in training) this past year. More on that later.

What genre does your book fall under?
Modern-day Fantasy. Possibly young adult – due to the age of the protagonists – but I’m not really sure. I didn’t write it with a target audience in mind. I wrote it because the story had to come out. You know? Anyway. Hannah is 14/15, Michael is 20, Alexander is in his 20s, and then great-great-grandmother Torovaldi is 102. So… does that ‘qualify’ as young adult?

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
This is so hard for me. Previously, I mentioned that the girl who plays Alexis Castle on “Castle” could have played Hannah a couple of years ago (probably too old now), with her lovely red hair and bright eyes. But who could match the image of Mike, in my mind? 20, fit, olive-skinned with dark brown hair and eyes, and a smile that makes chickadees melt. I’m sure my future readers will have great ideas, but I just don’t know!

What is the one-sentence synopsis for your book?
While the foundations of civilization crumble around them, mageborn siblings Hannah & Michael find themselves thrown into a coming war they never dreamed of and up against an ancient enemy with powers beyond imagining.

…er… maybe?

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Good question. Probably self-published. At this point, I admit it, I am too disillusioned by the whole process of BIG SIX publishing to even think about pursuing that and although I am totally open to smaller presses, I’m still a little leery of legalities. If I do it myself… maybe it won’t be so… scary? Or will it be scarier? AAAAAHHH!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
For “Incandescence”, I started on November 1st with NaNoWriMo and the first draft was complete in March. The second draft, well… Jack’s whole medical issue threw our world into chaos for three or so months, so I’m really just now getting back on track with editing. I had originally hoped to have it released by September. *sniff*

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I wouldn’t. I don’t. Honestly, I’m still not sure what this genre is

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Well, I’ve written all my life. But I think between Jack and my best friend both PUSHING me to get back to writing and following my passion for words… its their fault. That’s all. They inspired me to write it and finish it.

What else about your book might pique the readers’ interests?
It features magic and mayhem! What’s not to love?

There’s a teenage girl confronting adolescence, her birthright as a magess, dealing with death and loss, with boy-trouble and with the creepy, stalkerish attention of the villain.

There’s a twenty-ish guy trying to find his footing in the adult world, coming out of the closet as a mage, thrust into position as a leader, trying to figure out how to build a future while the world he knows comes to an end.

There’s a 102-year-old matriarch with more secrets than even she knows, there’s the pair of villains, an an ancient enemy, there’s magic and natural disaster, and just when things can’t get any worse – they do!

Don’t you want to read it?

* * *
      So there it is! My Ten Questions for the Next Big Thing! (Lots of Caps for No Reason! Yay!)
      If you want to participate, snag the questions below and blog it up!

Ten Interview Questions for The Next Big Thing:
What is the working title of your book?
Where did the idea come from for the book?
What genre does your book fall under?
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

FFF: Harbor Lights

FFF: Harbor Lights

      Trying out a new feature here at PP.net. It probably won’t be weekly, but I’m hoping it’ll give me an excuse to step away from the WIP each week and flex my creative muscle.
      That’s right b*tches, PP is doing FLASHfictionFRIDAY. I’m hanging out with the cool kids. At last! Wheee!
      Tonight I just went to Mangle.CA and got a bunch of random images from LiveJournal. The first one I saw struck me as something I could run with. I think this link should take you to a lovely nighttime photo of many boats in a harbor which are apparently Croatian (or so Google Translate of the blog tells me). Its such a beautiful shot (and in that associated blog post there are MANY other images of picturesque towns and lagoons in (so they say) Croatia, I just can’t help but close my eyes, crank up the music and see what comes out in the next 20 minutes.
      Aaaaand away we go!
—————————–
      Nikos pulled a knee to his chest and wrapped his arms around it. Below, in the harbor, he could see the whole island had turned out for the party. Dinghies, skiffs, fishing scows, pleasure barges and rafts. Even Gazeborea’s yacht was there. Those uppity bastards, just showing off in that big old thing. Fuck…, he thought, furrowing his brow.
      They bobbed gently on the tide, all lined up with luminous white paper lanterns swaying from twine draped between the vessels. He had read a story once where glowing, floating etherial balls called will o’ wisps had danced and frolicked and sucked the life right out of some adventurers, nearly killing him.
      Nikos wished fervently that those damned tacky lanterns were really soul-slurping gloves of unlight that would slowly, torturously murder every single one of those two-faced jerks down on the water. Not all of them, he supposed, for his mother was there, and his cousin, Jemmy. But pretty much everyone else. How dare they sit around down there? Drinking and eating and dancing and fucking? How dare they?
      “They haven’t forgotten, Nik,” a familiar voice from behind him said. He stared out across the water, shifting only slightly on his perch to make room. Stubbornly, even as she slipped her arm around his waist and lay her head upon his shoulder, Nikos refused to acknowledge her. “They’re saying good-bye the only way we know how. What would you prefer? Keening wails and cutting widows’ weals?”
      “A few tears and a genuine sense of sorrow, at least. For Heaven’s Sake, I know he was not exactly well-loved around here, but do they have to be so- so bloody happy about it?”
      She cleared her throat and failed to answer. Nikos did not blame her for falling silent. There was no answer that would have made him happy anyway. If she admitted that people were somewhat pleased that Gabor was dead, he would have grumbled and pushed her away. And if she stroked his wounded pride and coddled him by agreeing with him, he would have been called her insincere and offered to take off his boots so she could lick them without hurting her back.
      Ruminating on her wisdom in the face of his juvenile reaction, Nikos smiled inwardly. She got him. Always had. She understood his moods: manic, maniac, somber, or black. She laughed at his jokes and celebrated his victories, no matter how small or large. She never made him feel self-conscious about his back hair and when she looked at him with those big, brown doe eyes… he knew that she truly did love him.
      Nikos felt unworthy.
      Without a word, he slipped his arm around her and pulled her close. The warmth of her affection was tangible in the cool, moonlit air. Maybe he would never be important, or wealthy or famous. Maybe his name would not be recorded in the annals of history as a hero and a traitor like his brother, Gabor. Maybe he would only ever be Nikos Burdavara, fish shack cook.
      But he could strive to be better.
      He could work to be worthy of her love.
      He would do.
      “I’m sorry,” Nikos murmured, kissing the top of her head as they sat side-by-side on the edge of the cliff. “Want to grab a bite and head home?”
      Shafeela nodded and he helped her to her feet.
      “There’s nothing you could have done,” she said as the gravel crunched beneath their shoes. The moon was nearly full and shone bright from its nest in the cloudy night sky. “You’re not your brother.”
      “I know.”
      They walked in silence for a few peaceful strides. At length, she broke in again. “I love you, Nik, that’s all. I hate seeing how you beat yourself up like this. Just- Just know that Gabe’s mistakes were just that, mistakes. He never meant to cause… you know…”
      “I know.”
      Shafeela squeezed his hand, wrapping both of hers around one of his. “Stop brooding, my love. It will all work out. C’mon, I’m starving. Let’s race!”
—————————–
      Well that sucked.
      As usual, I took myself off on some crazy tangent and then sort of sputtered out. O’well. It took me like, an hour of concentrated effort to get this eked out tonight. C’est la vie. Its 700 words more than I had written this week before tonight.
      What do you think?
      Should I keep torturing myself this way each Friday?
      Should I start a-new or try to find out where Nikos & Shafeela are headed? What Gabor’s traitorous deed was? Why they’re having a funeral-slash-boat party?
      *grin*

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Slacker

      Yes, I admit it. I, Penelope Price, am a slacker.
      Sometimes, at least. Lately.
      I have been working and trying to get some external ducks in a row and I have not been blogging as much as I ought, which is why the last three entries here have been VBT posts. And those are AWESOME (and this Sunday’s interview with the talented team of TL Burns & KR Hughes rocks!) but I really need to buckle down and be more productive here.
      And in “Incandescence” & “Inferno” where it really counts.
      I won’t lie to you. I am a little discouraged. After stellar initial reviews from my betas, they’ve gone silent and I can’t help but worry about the worst. Jack says to stop being dumb – but gosh! Its hard to maintain that positive mental attitude (PMA! PMA! PMA! *ahem* Sorry, flashback) when you’re not getting any feedback.
      Even hearing “Dude, this sucks hardcore!” would be infinitely better than silence.
      Argh.
      I try to keep my Facebook page clear of insecurity and whinging because…well, who needs it? There’s been a lot of that going around lately and while I totally empathize (and I DO. Mega-empathize) its not really appropriate to share with your ‘fans’ or ‘friends’. Which is why I could slap myself for writing this blog.
      Oh well. Sometimes you do need to vent and I promise, this is the last time (er…re: Incandescence, at any rate) you’ll have to see me crying about radio silence from my peeps. Because damn it, I know Incandescence is good and since I cannot afford to hire editors, I do have to rely on the people whose opinions I value (and who will read it for free).
      No more slacking off, PP. No more!
      I’m feeling motivated today. Editing for the WIN!

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.

Home is Heaven…for Beginners.

Home is Heaven...for Beginners.

      Home.
      They say its where your heart is. Or that where your heart is, so then is home. There are two interpretations of that statement as far as I can see. The literal; that in which ever physical location your actual beating heart is, that is your home. Or the metaphysical; your home is where your heart lives – where your love lies.
      Both can be true, I think, depending on circumstance. Technically, I am at home right now, where I sit writing this rambling, potentially incoherant essay. My literal heart is thumping away in its usual, rhythmic manner whilst my body occupies a seat before the computer at my desk. In my apartment. Surrounded by my (okay, our) things. I am, to speak in the most semantical of ways, at home.
      But if you were to ask me, “Penelope Price, where is home to you?” I would most certainly not answer: “That brown chair in my apartment.”
      Well, I might. Because I spend a lot (no really, A. LOT.) of time in it. Chances are, however, my answer would be something more philosophical.
      “What a wonderful question, friend!” I might say, if I were a patronizing douche (which I fervently hope I am not, generally speaking). “Home can mean so many things to so many people! But for me, home is [redacted].”
      I really like my apartment. I adore its location (mostly) and our neighbors. I quite like that Jack’s mother lives a matter of minutes away on foot. I absolutely love that Jack is there and that we are building our life together there. It is “home”. But…
      Home is [redacted]. Not the suburb of Seattle I grew up in – though I still get a little misty when I see my mountain rising up from the mists on a foggy King County morning – nor is it any of the cities I’ve lived in here in Pennsylvania – though I have spent about five years here now. Home is the sleepy collegiate cow-town I moved to after High School. The town I have tried to escape a few times. The town that always draws me back. The town that I dreamt of raising little Jack Jr. in. The town where my mother lives, and my platonic soulmate, and my best friend.
      [redacted].
      That’s home to me. No matter where I live, where my ‘stuff’ is, or where I travel, I have never just felt home the way I do when I see the valley sprawling out before me. It calls to me with a siren’s song, “Come back to me, Penelope, come back…baaaaaaaack…” And I do. Over and over again. Hell, I wish I were there right now. And maybe one of these days, when I no longer have to rely on an income generated outside of the house, I will move back and raise my family there and let them spread my ashes into the ever-present wind and rest there eternally.
      Because I believe that while I live wherever Jack and I lay our heads, and that my heart belongs to him, for me, home will always be defined as [redacted].

Love & Nostalgic Rainbows,
P.P.

P.S. For the sake of personal privacy… and because the residents may or may not have chased me out with pitchforks and torches on more than one occasion… I’ve omitted the actual name of my home town.

P.P.S. The title is a quote from an American clergyman called Charles Henry Parkhurst and when I think of home, and how much I love home, I can’t help but think that even if he meant something entirely different… for me, its utterly true.

Liebster Blog Award!

Liebster Blog Award!

      So, I’m a total fun-killer because although I am totally going to fill-in the questions and post them… I don’t think I’ll be tagging 11 people just because… um… I’m lazy and I don’t want to admit that I probably don’t have 11 blogger-friends to tag.
      This is what I know about the Liebster Blog Award

The Liebster Blog Award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word meaning: sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

The rules are:
      1. Thank and link back to the person who presented you with the award. Add the award logo to your blog.
      2. Answer the eleven questions posted for the nominees.
      3. Share eleven random facts about yourself.
      4. Write eleven questions for your nominees and then…
      5. Nominate eleven worthy blogs and contact those bloggers so they know about it! (No tag backs.)

      Without further ado, here are my answers to the 11 questions the sassy, witty, sexy Ellie Mack sent me!

1. Which genres do you read and write? Why?
      Technically, that’s two questions, but since I love Ellie so dearly, I’ll overlook her clever ploy.
      I read fantasy, horror, thrillers, historical fiction, sci-fi, blah blah blah. Basically, anything I stumble upon and like. Despite my huge issue with infidelity, I am not a single-genre woman. I’m open to the world of words and will likely try anything once – literature-wise. Recent reads have been “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” by Seth Grahame-Smith, “What She Knew” by TL Burns & KR Hughes, and a re-read of “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo. I’ve got Catrina Taylor’s “Xarrok” coming up next, and a whole slew of other things after that.
      I write fantasy. Usually, fantasy of a political/low magic/epic variety, though I have drifted toward standard high-fantasy (yes, I wrote about Elves) occasionally. Right now, I am writing modern-day fantasy, which is a major deviation for me. But let it not be said that I cannot or do not write in other genres. I have a sci-fi WIP simmering on a back burner, a historical fiction, and in the past I’ve written paranormal, crime, romance, erotica, comedy… I do it all! And some of it, very well.
      Why? Because I love words, I love how other people put them together to create different feelings and moods. I read everything because I think that if you limit your writing to being ‘just’ fantasy or ‘just’ thriller – it will suffer. I like to think that even in a ‘fantasy’ novel, I can bring elements of romance or horror or comedy or tragedy. And the best way, in my experience, to write better (regardless of genre) is to read more. Thus, I have a book at hand at all times.

2. Are you a “pantser” or a “plotter”?
      Ah, the eternal question!
      Both.
      “Incandescence” was begun on a whim, but in my determination to FINISH it, I decided I needed an Outline. It was rough, but it was definitely more than I had done for any of the dozen unfinished WIPs I began during the tumultuous Aughts (er… is that what we’re calling the decade between 2000-2009?).
      I always do a lot of research, but historically, I have not always done a lot of plotting. I feel like, for me, a lot of the story just needs to come out organically. It will be sliced and diced and chopped and chipped in the edits and rewrite, but during the initial draft – I tend heavily toward “pantser”.
      After the success of finishing “Incandescence” though (and with the addition of Scrivener to my daily life) I may have to start changing my game. Time will tell. I am definitely plotting the outline for “Inferno”.

3. Is there a writer who inspires you?
      Yes.
      Several, really. Even though I believe I identified as a writer long before I read anything by the following authors, these names have inspired me to do more, do write better, to keep going.

  • Timothy Fields
  • Victor Hugo
  • Melanie Rawn
  • Raymond Frazee

4. If you could talk to any three people, dead or alive, who would they be?
      In no particular order, and assuming language would not be a barrier:

  • My Dad
  • Naoko Takeuchi
  • …um. I’ll get back to you on this one.

5. Describe your work space
      Hmm. Presently, my work space doubles as my office cubicle. I have a small workstation on which rests my work laptop, monitor, keyboard, reference junk, et cetera. When I twist my chair to the left, I am facing the fold-out table Jack and I use as a computer desk.
      Nothing fancy here. Just a worn-out old Dell, my external hard drive, a bottle of Jergens Ultra-Healing (for my über-dry hands), a lamp, an alarm clock with extra-big numbers so I can see the time without my glasses, a Himalayan Pink Salt grinder (why is it out here?), assorted nail polishes & products, vitamins, Clorox disinfectant wipes, my spare glasses, some junk mail…
      I do a lot of my writing on the bed in a notebook these days, just because this is not the most creativity-enhancing spot in the world. When we move, Jack & I intend to really go all-out in putting together a writing space. I want red walls. I wrote some GREAT freaking stuff when I had a red office…
      With handcuffs on the wall.
      …*ahem*

6. Who is your favorite author?
      That’s pretty much impossible to qualify these days. In addition to those listed above, I adore or have been positively-influenced by so many writers (pubbed or no). Call this answer a cop-out if you must, but I simply cannot choose.

7. If your book were made into a movie, who would play your main character(s)?
      Oh gosh. I have five characters for “Incandescence” whom I would call main. Can I dream up actors/faces for all of them? No wait! I hate to put faces to them now and color the reader’s imaginations.
      I do have a couple ‘potential’ Hannahs picked-out, and a Luke. And an Alexander, in fact. But I never have found a face that really screams out Michael to me. I’d be more interested to read what the readers think about who should play who…

8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
      Married. A baby. A dog. About seven more novels under my belt. Possibly published traditionally. Definitely published electronically. Writing and finding happiness in all the small things that I am blessed to have in my life.

9. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever eaten?
      Mealworms.
      Yes…Mealworms.

10. What foods coax your muse into productivity?
      Although I like to describe the food in my character’s world with detail and invisible drool on my chin, I don’t generally eat while I am writing (because I’m too busy eating to type). I do find that when my creativity seems drained, however, some lovely potato chips and a break to chomp on them while reading, tends to to get the muse jumping again.
      It might have more to do with the reading than the food though.
      Plus, I’m trying to avoid chips, so its best I don’t associate them with productivity. Tee-hee.

11. Coffee or Tea? What’s your favorite, how do you like it, and in what quantity?
      Tea. I am drinking a lot of green tea, iced, lately. I’ve always preferred tea to coffee, though in the past year or so… I have found it pleasant to spend a chilly morning on the porch with Jack and a steaming mug o’ joe. We banter back and forth, talk about plots and characters and generally just be awesome.

—————–

      Well, that’s done. I hope you know me a little better after this adventure into Liebster-dom. I hope I didn’t scare anyone away with that photo of mealworms. I would have directly placed it into the post, but alas – I’m getting paranoid about copyright law in the wake of this article.
      So – what did you find out about me that you didn’t know before? Do you think I should try to tag 11 people? Should I tag YOU?

Love & Rainbows,
P.P.