26 August 2014 0 comments

Teaser peek without spoiling anything.

With a story as short as my piece "Blood & Peyote," I don't really feel comfortable actually offering an excerpt. Even a small one offers up too large a chunk. I've seen a few readers comment that they don't want to spoil the surprise and pleasure of reading the anthology when it comes out.

So I've devised a substitute. It offers a bit of the mood, tone, and flavor of the story and the characters without divulging anything of the actual narrative.
Behold, I give you the soundtrack to "Blood & Peyote." Each song was chosen to coincide with a specific scene and section. The exception is the twelve-minute "Blackfoot Fire" which is included for the sole intention of conveying something of Apisi Howling's culture, as well as his weight in the story.

In the event that Spotify doesn't work for you, I've created an abridged Blood & Peyote from rhi.e on 8tracks Radio as well. There are a couple songs missing from it, namely "Healing Touch" by Green River Ordinance, and "Blackfoot Fire" by Niall. Apologies, but I make use of Spotify quite heavily in my writing process, so that's my preferred venue.

I've added these to my website as well. I'm planning to discuss the music choices and influences more in depth after the anthology releases, since I don't want to go spoiling the surprise for anyone and there's little chance I can manage to avoid that.
17 August 2014 0 comments

Rediscovering the groove.

Perfect porch perch weather is perfect.
It's something I have to do every time I start a new project.
The right atmosphere to encourage the muses. The right music for white noise. Rarely does the same music work for more than one project.
This time, I couldn't even stay in the same genre of music. Perhaps because this project is in a different realm than my most recent works. It strays back into the universe of the Doctrine and Alliance, political foes constantly at each others' throats, though its cast of characters is entirely removed.

It has no name just yet, and it's shaping up to meld together a couple ideas that had been gestating on the back burner. One based on a dream I had decades ago about the reclamation of a military base by the indigenous locals, and an unrelated story about a genetically modified assassin whose xeno-genetics overload its psyche--the ensuing bloodbath of a killing spree lands it in a maximum security intergalactic prison. It seems my writer brain has decided that one event is the precursor, the trigger, of the other.

There's something about analog writing.
The combination should make for an interesting writing journey, since the reclamation story had a pair of assassin arch-rivals lurking in the shadows trying to best one another. Sort of ... black ops, white noise.

So I broke out the closest pen and a notebook and settled onto the chaise lounge on the porch with the window open. The weather was surprisingly cool and breezy for late summer, but you won't hear me complaining about it.
I got more written-- fleshing out a thorough overhaul of scenes written from dream sequence memory long ago-- than I expected. I don't know if the steady white noise of crickets and cicadas was to blame. Later in the afternoon when it got too muggy, I fortuitously stumbled upon a "Rainy Mood" app that creates the perfect ambiance for this story when overlaid with traditional Japanese Koto and Flute music through Spotify.

 Given the name and moniker I'm using for one of my assassins, I'm not terribly surprised that this particular combination of sounds is conducive to the mood of the writing. Also, the planet where this clash of forces takes place is a very wet rainforest-jungle sort of atmosphere, and I am absolutely having fun wreaking havoc left and right...

It's a relief to realize that I've managed to find that almost perfect combination of sensory inputs that satiates the muses and gets them to open up enough to make the words flow. I have to rediscover it anew each time I embark on a new project and unearth new muses whose skeletal remains require some assembly before reanimation is possible. I never feel like I'm creating so much as I am recreating, taking discarded shards of inspiration from a thousand different places and recombining it into something that, one day, might give off some glimpse of beauty.
I feel like Doctor Frankenstein. Mind you, that's pronounced "fronkunsteen."
11 August 2014 0 comments

Ooh, writer porn! What notebook nerdery.

The wolf, it mocks me with its laughter.
As a kid, I was a nerd. I loved learning, and the scholarly aspect of my formative education was far from a burden -- with the exception of that damned section on quantum mechanics during Physics 2AP my senior year.

Anyway, I used to look forward to going back to school. It was a relief from the endless doldrums of summer, for one. Granted, I usually found plenty of time and energy to invest in writing, and going back to school sort of cramped that. And the actual interactions with my peers? No thanks, I could do without that.

But all the school supplies. Notebooks, and pens, and erasers, and mechanical pencils...it was enough to make me drool. And yep, it's that time of year again. I really didn't intend to go buy anything. I seriously didn't. I'd splurged on a hoard of writing utensils earlier this spring, actually, and didn't need anything. Really. Plenty of space left in the notebooks I've got.

I certainly didn't need these.
But they came home with me anyway. An entire rainbow of composition books.
That array was Not Planned. I'm dead serious. It just... happened. I got home and unloaded them from the bag and blinked in amazement.

Yeah, I still use good old pen and paper to write, at least some of the time. I am not yet to that point where I can justify purchasing a tablet that has the size and capability to have both ease of mobility and convenience of either my laptop or desktop computers. And sometimes my thoughts just seem to loosen up and flow more easily when I pick up a pen. Especially when it's a gel pen that just slides over the paper like silk bedsheets (which are terribly impractical, mind you, if you're at all energetic in bed--I like my sex sans contusions or fractures, thanks--or a mobile sleeper).
Anyway. Pens. And paper.

I have a collection of smaller Moleskin notebooks hiding about for potential giveaway material in the distant future, their content the arduous working material of a few different WIPs. These, though. The composition notebooks are my workhorses. Clamped with butterfly clips to bookmark content no longer needed, standard paperclips to separate notes for different projects that inevitably lump together in the same space. Inevitably, because I only carry two of them, and one is devoted to the tome of a book I'm working on, so all the others stream together in the overflow one. Stream together, because as much as I do try to focus my energies on a single story at a time, I'll have ideas for plot points, thoughts about character backstory or development, and it comes out almost stream of consciousness, all over the place.

These won't stay so pristine and lovely for long. I figured their cleanliness was worth commemorating. Much like any 'before-after' comparison.