Quote and updates

“A quiet and modest life brings more joy than a pursuit of success bound with constant unrest.”~ Albert Einstein

Our Halloween party was a lot of fun with good friends and an awesome conversation always. I was Charlie Brown for the evening. I shaved my head bald and added the one curly cue on the front of my head with black eyeliner and on the back was the pumpkin face that Lucy had drawn from the show. I wore a yellow and black shirt like his with shorts and ankle socks to finish the look. My hubby was the angry cat, my grandson was a wolf. Among our guests we had Julius Caesar, Athenia,  a vampiress,  a demon, a  star Trekkie,  a hazmat worker, a rainbow unicorn, an executive, a musician, a cowboy, a zombie… just to name a few. Like most parties, we also had those who came and didn’t dress up. The companionship was awesome. I enjoy entertaining especially setting the scene and the prep work.

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This afternoon a friend of mine, Sara and I joined some other writing friends from our local writing at a coffeehouse meeting in Willow Grove where we had the pleasure of meeting Jon Mcgoran and Keith Strunk. There were so many different genre writers published and unpublished filling the meeting area at Barnes and Noble.  The discussion about the process— how we approach our writing was interesting. Some outline, some just free write, and others do binge writing and then stop and come back to it with the hope as they write a story will appear. It’s knowing how we work and understanding what it takes for each of us to write is important. We all need to use what works best for us and go with it. There is no wrong or right way, we simply have to do it. The meeting flew by before I knew it. What I did learn today is how important it is to be with other writers to replenish our wells, validate in our own minds that we’re sane in our love affair with words. One of the writers today at coffeehouse also gave an awesome reminder too. It’s not going to be a perfect piece of work, it may very well be a piece of crap. The important part is to meet the goal and then worry about polishing it.  Sitting down every day and doing it… that is the key to success. I felt rejuvenated and ready to do next month’s writing challenge.

I’ve completed all the prep work on Writing. com two days early. I met the deadline and feel good about all my prep work.

“Strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle.” —Napoleon Hill

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” —Friedrich Nietzsche

 

One of my scenes in Death and I

In the Cemetery
Mairin found herself wandering again in the cemetery. Sleep was elusive these days. She found it harder and harder to sleep knowing that her inevitable demise was a reality. Cancer, that terrifying six letter word changed her perspective on a lot of things these days.
She wandered off the cobblestone path in search of the trickling water sound because of a sudden urge to put her toes in the icy water of the stream that ran along the cemetery. She’d forgotten about the meadow, it would be a superb place to lie on a blanket and read a book some afternoon. Mairin didn’t recall seeing a headstone before over here. Strange place for it and why does this gravestone sit alone?
Mairin was sure there must be more to this unresolved story than meets the eye. Why this crooked headstone isn’t perfect like all the other stones in Craven’s Loft Cemetery. The stone carver would be disappointed to see his work isolated and in such bad shape. She felt confident there was a good reason it was placed in this leaf-strewn meadow along the stream’s edge but looking around under this fog-shrouded moon the answer wasn’t clear. What was clear that sleepless nights were becoming her norm. The tall pines cast an eerie shadow but the earthy aroma felt comforting in this lonely place.
Mairin traced her finger across the stone edge. The cold granite felt smooth like glass except for the right corner. Ow, damn it, that hurt. Mairin looked at the blood trickling from her finger. She sucked on her finger savoring the salty taste as she noted the name on the stone. Bruce Lewis. Oh my god, that can’t be. Mairin stumbled back. Her feet refused to budge and her knees buckled. She collapsed on the ground.She shook more than the birch trees in the night breeze as she read.
Bruce Lewis age 64 years of age. The marker said deceased on October 31, 2001. October 31st 2001, that’s a year from now. The birthdate read March 3, 1953. What the hell was going on? The name and birth date are correct but he’s not dead. Bruce was very much alive. Bruce was on a business trip and was due back on Friday. Mairin trembled knowing there was something creepy but she couldn’t for the life of her imagine what. She looked around feeling uneasy when she noticed lying beside the stone a lacy black glove haphazardly across some dried maple leaves. The fog dissipated and the moon glowed brightly above her as Mairin picked up the strangely familiar glove. It’s not possible but there were three black pearl buttons along the edge. It can’t be…. how did my glove end up here?
The wind rustled the pine and the pungent aroma wafted in the air. Mairin staggered to her feet with the glove tightly. Her throat felt raw and scratchy as she retraced her steps back to the main walkway out of the cemetery. None of this made any sense. She should call Bruce and tell him what she discovered. On second thought probably not. He already thinks she’s losing her mind since she got the diagnosis.

534 w/c

Random Thoughts

“She made broken look beautiful and strong look invincible.
She walked with the Universe on her shoulders and made it look like a pair of wings.” ― Ariana Dancu
I posted my entry in the NaNoPrep a few minutes ago for today and the date hit home. There are only eleven days left in this month and November is here. I have so much work left to get myself ready to do the 50,000-word challenge. 1667 words a day.  I’ve decided to block out every morning for 3 and hours and write no matter what. Then get what I need to do otherwise for the Airbnb part of my life and then if I have more writing I can go back to it. A pot of coffee and 5 CDs of dark classical music playing my muse and Narda should be happy. Yes, that’s witchy’s name.  Someday, I’ll tell you her story but for now, I need to get back to scene building.

 

 

If I’m feeling stagnated I do have lots of inspiration surrounding me. Normally, I take everything down the first week of November we’ll see how that goes this year. I may have Halloween, Thanksgiving decorations joining my Christmas.

 

My Muse Asks Why?

Why does her headstone sit alone?
There must be more to this unresolved story
as to why a crooked cross headstone
is not restored to its former glory.
Sadly, it sits neglected in a leaf-strewn meadow.
How lonely it must feel under the fog-shrouded moon
with those tall trees casting an eerie shadow.
Hardly a place for families come to commune
They are all resting in such a lonely place.
One stone indicates a family man but
another indicates nothing, was there a family disgrace?
If only the spirits would help solve this mystery
why several names share the same stone.
I’m sure there must be an interesting history
As to why the neglected headstone sits all alone

with a lacy black glove haphazardly lying across. ©
My character Mairin in the story knows why, but she’s not ready to say. Though I will give you one itty bitty clue the black glove plays an integral part.
If you lived closer I’d say come join us at our annual Halloween costume event. This year it is on Saturday, October 28th. The house is decorated to the nines and most of the baking is done. I have a good friend coming on Wednesday and together we’ll finish the last minute stuff.

 

Motivational Quote About Inciting Incidences

” A novel can be set in motion by an incident, a character, a location, a mood,  by anything at all Sometimes the stimulus can be an idea, which will rapidly clothe itself in a character.” Cynthia Ozick

  • The inciting incident happens in the first act.
  • The inciting incident happens to the protagonist.
  • The protagonist is usually passive at this juncture; the inciting incident is generally set in motion by someone or something else (a letter, a visit, an encounter)

 

Background on Antagonist

I wrote for a contest on WDC in October NaNo Prep this short blip on Thanatos.

Thanatos noted every tick-tock of his favorite mantle clock, it was only a matter of time before another human interrupted his beloved solitude. If Hades hadn’t intervened, he would be living like a God should be but oh no, thanks to his supposed good friend Hades he’s a glorified errand boy fetching humans when their time is up while Hades gets all the fair goddesses. The women swarm around Hades but ignore the errand boy. Thanatos felt his life was cursed and he had no idea how to change it.
These humans have no idea how inconvenient they really are. They don’t follow doctor’s orders, do unsafe things and eat way too much and then wonder why their life ends earlier than anticipated. I knew it was too much to hope for, damn humans. I never get to drink a coffee and enjoy my pipe.
Thanatos sighed as he saw Mairin Leith in her doctor’s office. The woman looks like she is in her mid-forties, slightly on the young side for a death sentence. Although Hades does love redheads, that’s probably why he’s messing with her. Is she even hearing the doctor at all? Odd, She didn’t shed a tear or make a sound at all, unassumingly walked out of his office without so much as a word. Nor did she schedule any treatments. Very unusual woman, I need to see what she’s doing before Hade orders me to collect her and I can’t change her circumstances. Thanatos set his coffee on the table and vanished into the chilly autumn air.
He waited beside her old car, it looks like a Monte Carlo. What a wreck, it’s a wonder it gets her to and from. Thanatos pulled the hood up on his coat and fastened it. The air was nippy compared to home. He wondered why Mairin wasn’t cold as he watched her strolling across the parking lot blissfully unaware of his presence until the branch snapped.
“Who are you? Why are you leaning on my car?”

 

 

13

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October 13, 2017, is our second Friday the 13ths in 2017. Most calendar years have at least one Friday the 13th, but no more than three Friday the 13ths. The last time there was only one Friday the 13th in a calendar year was in May 2016 and the next time won’t be until August 2021. Did you know there were three Friday the 13ths in 2015 (February, March, November)? Yup, we survived! It will happen again in 2026. This year, in 2017, there are two Friday the 13ths (January and October). Today is it.

Now if you have friggatriskaidekaphobia – an irrational fear of Friday the 13th – Here’s something to consider this year’s second Friday the 13th on October 13, 2017, happens exactly 39 weeks (3 x 13 weeks) after the last Friday the 13th in January 2017. Just think 2018 is right around the corner and it has two Friday the 13ths. The first one comes on April 13, 2018, exactly 26 weeks (2 x 13 weeks) after the Friday the 13th in October 2017. Then the second Friday the 13th of 2018 falls on July 13, 2018, exactly 13 weeks after the first Friday the 13th in April 2018.

Just noting the coincidences involving the number 13.

Poe’s Betrayal

A hunter’s moon illuminates the abandoned old house with
traces of white billowy clouds linger overhead.
The malevolent glowing pumpkin sits on the tree stump
with a lurking expression if seen anyone would dread.
Raven shudders her wings and hesitantly opens her beak but
not a sound could she make to warn Poe of what was ahead.

Before that fateful Halloween night that changed it all
Raven had spoken with Poe, trying to warn him.
Poe said, never more and locked Raven in the great hall.
The witch and her glowing pumpkin came in a hurry
creating such a fury, there was no one but raven to recall.

What it was like before the witch cast her spell only
now her vindictive pumpkin returns each year.
Making sure that ghosts do her evil bidding and
confident the scared raven will not interfere.
The evil pumpkin savors the feeling of power
knowing his helpless victims would soon be near.

Raven shudders her wings and bravely opens her beak
Poe, Poe, can you hear me, remember your Lenore.
The pumpkin eyes flared as he heard Raven speak
Poe, Poe, hear me, I am her, the one you adore
At first, Poe spoke in a whisper then in a roar
Raven, Raven, Lenore, I love you forever more!

 

A tribute to one of my favorite poets, Edgar Allen Poe.

 

 

 

 

Please use the following quote as inspiration

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-legged beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

~Scottish Saying

 

This is where my mind went with that saying.

A Prayer

Imagine having your own village ghost
Happily haunting your guest room
Joining you for a bit of wine and pot roast
But will you be safe on this night of doom

Imagine having ghouls rise from the grave
Chasing the unlucky ones until they scream
Beasties howling from a nearby cave
Joining their forces, they make a good team

Imagine hearing things go bump in the night
When you would rather be sleeping
Everyone knows Hallow’s eve is a demons delight
Come All Saints Day, will you be safe in Gods keeping?

Getting Myself Prepped for NaNoWriMo

There are so many things to establish in the background to assure continuity in a book that hadn’t crossed my mind until I began this undertaking. It made me appreciate all the authors I’ve read in my lifetime. Wow!

I feel reasonably comfortable with my conflicts and my protagonist. I have several minor antagonists and one major one who will definitely make his handsome presence known. Putting pictures on my character trait list did help. I found looking at them and imagining how they would handle different complications enjoyable. Yesterday, I worked on my antagonist, oh he’s  handsome and dangerous. I looked at a lot of pictures of men before deciding I really like how Patrick Dempsey looked in all black, I could easily see him as my Thanatos.Thanatos1

Now, I’m working on an outline I’ll be comfortable working with over the next month. Who knew there would be so many different types– Snowflake, 3-point,  5-point, 8-points, traditional bullet point, Vogler’s, Campbell’s, pure summary, skeletal outlining, flashlight outlining, free writing, visual mapping, contextual prepping and of course all the different software for outlining. Yikes, it’s confusing.

I’ve been reading Vogler’s Writer’s Journey and Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces. Some days I feel like I read more than I write because it’s all part of the process of fine tuning my craft. And naturally, everyone has a different take on successful writing techniques.

My setting was pretty easy I’ve created a fictional town in Maine called Bayhollow, the next town over is a college town called Stone Lake with a university called Kampden University. There’s an active military base about 10 miles away in a town called Deadzone. All of these locations are very near the Canadian border.

On WDC they have prep challenge which thus far has kept me to the task which I’m finding helpful because it’s all new to me. Also, there’s the lingering dread 50,000 words hovering too. I find comfort in seeing familiar names pledged to do NaNoWriMo. Misery does love company.

I was reading Theresa’s blog this morning and thinking about how I overcome writing challenges. My go to is my camera when nothing else works. There is something about looking through the portal of small space that makes my muse happy. My perspective is different and very targeted.

The other day while I was creating my setting I had been gathering all the logistics like population, restaurants, and businesses. (world building) I took a break and caught up on reading blogs. Yes, I’m guilty of reading and not always leaving comments. But in this instance, Theresa had drawn a fence on a white background with shading to give the impression of winter or even a sandy beach. I took it as winter in my mind and I saw my protagonist breaking down on a back road and trodding along this seemingly endless fence. The timing was perfect for my muse because it sparked another opportunity for frustration in what seems like mountains on her journey to better her life. Thank you Theresa.

Another way I open my mind to writing is cutting the newspaper into shreds, readable shreds. I grab random titles and move them around I create a poem or a line that fits perfectly in what I’m working on that may have never crossed my mind.

 

The first poem could easily be part of a conversation my protagonist has and the second could be a fearful moment added to the scene in the cemetery.  Muses work in interesting ways as Barber Adagio for Strings by the London Philharmonic Orchestra plays in the background.

I do enjoy having dark classical playing in the background. What can I say my muse is a bit twisted.

My compost bin enjoys all the snippets of paper when I’m done so everything has a purpose if you open yourself to the possibilities.

Quotes about Conflict

“Whenever you’re in conflict with someone, there is one factor that can make the difference between damaging your relationship and deepening it. That factor is attitude.”~ William James
“The greatest conflicts are not between two people but between one person and himself.”~ Garth Brooks