My Big Fat Book Launch is coming together, from somewhat more humble beginnings it seems to have grown on it's own. What fun! Looking forward to nibblies and a glass of something to toast Maximillian and Charlotte's story.
Now that I am some way into the second of my Bladewood Legacy books I am researching a whole new area of Napoleonic warfare - naval battles and navy life of the 1800s. Imagine my envy when I read a blog post from someone who happened to pick up a tatty notebook which happened to be a signals diary of a Captain of the line during that time period. They lived in England and had found it in a jumble market or some such. Sigh. Here on the other side of the globe such finds are rare and unaffordable even if you should find such an item. Anyway in a wonderful act of generosity she has scanned the pages for the viewing pleasure of her readers. Yay. So in a synchronous moment I was able to find some great background colour for my main character just when I needed it.
Character development is moving more slowly but the relationship between the two main characters is slowly finding it's feet. This week is full of distractions though, so even when I should be writing I am shamefully not in the moment. Never mind, even words which eventually find themselves orphaned from the book have done their magical work of inventing and populating the imagined world.
The blade of grass was a clean soft spear between her toes. How many times had they walked this path and never noticed the fresh wonder under their feet? Shoes. What a ridiculous impediment! To never feel the velvet crush between your toes? The discomfort of sharp small stones and vicious prickles. The danger of poisonous barbs or slicing glass shards. Never jump away squealing at mystery wet squelshes against your naked arches. Never feel the anarchy joy of oozing mud over your toes. No, none of those things were possible in shoes. Black shiny shoes and bleach white socks. To feel the grass you have to take off your shoes and risk all the joy, pain, happiness and danger the grass has to offer.
In a world made of colours it was white. Like snow, like parts of clouds, like small round pebbles, like the stab of sunlight on a naked eye. In winter places where ice and snow prevail, where my beginnings lie, white is the colour of camouflage, the colour of hell and death. In the damp green heat of always-summer where life bursts from the ground and grows up walls in hued frenzy, white is a conspicuous uncoloured spot. I cupped the frayed wings against the glass, the tiny protesting feet tickling against my palm. Only for a moment I murmured. The darkness is only for a moment. Then freedom. The white wings erupted from their prison out into the singeing glare. White is made of all the colours. I let the sun pinprick my skin with all of its colours while the butterfly flashed against the deep dark greens. How could it hide its brilliant self in the safety of the shadows? Then in only seconds worth of time the little white creature vanished against the blue sky. I forgot, white is also the colour of ghosts.
She put her hand to her lips. They were warm and moist. She could feel the tip of her finger as it ran lightly over the curves. Was she smiling? It was possible. It was so long ago it was difficult to remember what smiling felt like... what breathing felt like ... what anything felt like. The light was so bright it hurt but she didn't want to close her eyes. They had been shut for so long. She was floating up, no, she was not floating ... she was being held. Someone was holding her. Warming her cold flesh, brushing her hair from her face, murmuring words she did not understand but words that felt soft and safe. She blinked the water from her eyes. Tears. They were called tears. But she was not crying. Then she saw his face. His bruised and weary face. She traced the clean path of the tears with her finger. Her warrior had come for her, as she knew he would. They would leave their story for others to tell. Let them populate it with dragons and briar forests and vengenance. A castle, a citadel, a spaceship, a cryofreezer ... It didn't matter. That was an old story. They had a new one to live. A warm breeze hugged her briefly before hurrying on to embrace the rest of the world.
There was patch of paint-box blue between the wisps of rain cloud. In the gap a rolling bleach white cloud curled in on itself, heedless of the world below. What did it care about the crawling things far below? What did it care if it's seconds of unique beauty were only seen by birds and creatures in silver tubes? It sang and danced on the unseen current of a wind high in it's own element. Unworried by thoughts of falling, of failing, of being anything other than what it was - a dance of a thousand million droplets of water vapour. Why should you be any different. Why don't you dance and sing with all the joy of the millions of cells in your body? We are at the beginning of things - always. Between now and the next moment is a new beginning. Leap joyously into the void between the moments.
This is a time for new beginnings and to celebrate I've decided to write a Friday Flash blog post based on whatever the moment's void decides to show me. Should be an interesting exercise.
So here it is the final day, or so, of my sort-of writing retreat. So what have I achieved? Well, some words of course, and as an extra bonus, reassurance that I’ve got this. What I mean is, that the first book wasn’t a happy accident.
I’ve spent the last three or so years in the good company of Mr Google hunting down writing resources. I’ve read blogs, posts, articles, books and watched interviews and listened to authors talking about writing. I am now happy to put words on paper, or whatever. The words are in the right order, almost all perfectly spelled and make a pleasing story taken all together. I should be content, but I am not. I know that the words could be in a better order, make an even better story. So the story is not an end in itself but a process like breathing, where one breath follows another. One idea follows on the heels of the next.
But it is not a regular process for me. Yes, I write every day. Some days are filled with words. But they may not be part of any story. They are like this blog, droplets. The real story brews like the dark clouds outside of my window. Slowly rolling across the blue, rumbling with the promise of rain and tempest. That’s my writing process, the brewing storm.
It is day 3 of my cat-sitting house-minding writing retreat. So far I have picked cherries, outlined my book, worked out why my hero was where he was and am writing a lovely scene in a garden where in a moment my hero and heroine will share one of those small uncensored moments that offers a glimpsed vulnerability of the soul and ties the first binds of love.
There is something that readers and writers of romance seem to do well and that is get together to eat and drink. Regardless of whether your preference was tea, coffee or champagne it was all books and glam last Saturday at a high tea in Brisbane's Room with Roses. I was just fizzy happy to be sitting with Anna Campbell and then she gave us all book pack gifts. Haven't done much work since - who can let a stack of books with bronzed male magnificence sit on the bedside table without at least a peek in side the covers?
What I found interesting was that although our corner was supposedly the regency or historical group there was ready fraternization with the the contemporary and the steamy, even a little spot of champers with the tea and scones. As a reader I often wander from my genre and will pick up a book if it is a good read. I wonder if there is really any value in this genre classification and division aside from ease of shelving books. I've noticed that the e-book shelves are mighty flexible when it comes to categorizing a story. We certainly didn't turn up our noses up at any of the offerings on the day. Who wouldn't love a free book! Thanks ARRA for organizing such a lovely event and the authors for their time, Anna, Kylie Scott and Tina Clarke.
Just a scant few months ago I was just another aspiring writer, somewhat ahead having at least a finished manuscript. I did not yet have a respectable number of rejections and was therefore unprepared for the publishing offer which appeared, like a Djinn from a bottle. I approached the offer as cautiously as a bubble collector. Even now, having signed contacts and launched social media pages and re-read my words until I developed a Pavlovian distemper towards them, there is a feeling of unreality. My characters have moved on and are busy adventuring through the next phase of their lives and although I have attempted to keep up with their travels, there is this feeling of it all having happened to someone else. As if I had actually written the entire episode in a book about my own life.
Last night my most esteemed and excellent writers group listened to a lovely talk in our local library by Professor Peter Roennfeldt author of Madame Mallalieu, an accomplished and remarkable musician of early Queensland. We were bold enough to ask him if he would like to stay and chat with our group, as it was our usual meeting night. He told us that his own relationship with his book was one where although he felt like it was a child of his mind he did not have any desire to read it. I understood completely. As much as I have loved my characters I do not wish to read their tale again - it's a little like listening to Great Aunt Millicent's story number 26 about how she had an interesting experience on the train as a young girl travelling in central Bulgaria. The first few times it's charming and interesting, after about the tenth time you start to check your texts under the table.
Now all I have to do is wrestle the Facebook and Twitter button on here so they link through and this job will be done.
I wonder what Maximillian and Charlotte are up to?
Tea-drinker, writer and editor. Ecologist, environmental scientist, futurist and student of irony.