Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Thousand Hand Guan Yin

Romance and Beauty go together.  Or rather, I should say, you can find beauty in anything romantic.

Take a look at this beautiful Thousand Hand Guan Yin.  Is the beauty in their mastery of dance, or is the beauty in the fact that every single one of the dancers is deaf?  When I dance, I am very much reliant on the music. How much in awe am I over the accomplishment of these beautiful dancers.

Her Grace loves to dance, though she is rarely this graceful when she does. Still, that never stops her. She dances any chance she gets.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Top Ten Peeves for Book Lovers

We love our books, but it is an imperfect love. Here is a top ten list of Peeves for Book Lovers.

In no particular order:

  1. Cheap trade paperbacks whose spine glue breaks enough for individual pages to slip out -or- discovering missing pages from a really good book you're reading because of this.
  2. When that spine glue breaks on first opening.
  3. Incomplete series. (I'm looking at you, Anne et Serge.)
  4. Inability to locate a book in a series (ie, it's listed as "missing" at the library, the bookstore doesn't carry it and it never shows up when they order it, Amazon's out of stock, etc.)
  5. You have to wait a whole year before the next book in the series comes out.
  6. That book you had to study in English Lit class. 
  7. Someone recommends a book as Really Good, only it turns out to be full of dull plots, flat characters, blatant bigotry or leprosy-ridden rapists.
  8. Long-winded literary style that bogs down the pace. Also, why does Litrachoor have to be so depressing? (Exception: Paulo Coelho. Go read his stuff.)
  9. Bad cover art:  butt-ugly; has nothing to do with the book; pornographic Fuschia Fabio Lust Covers (aka 1980's Romance bodice-rippers); terrible brown 1970's literary covers.
  10. You finally find a Really Good Book cover-to-cover, and it's too short.

What peeves you off about books?

Her Grace loves books.  But yeah.  There are moments.

Friday, 18 April 2014

My Our Novels: Star Trek Tie-ins!

Live long and prosper.
During my first "proper" semester at University I met my writing mentor and life-long friend Dr Anne Wingate. We were both B I G fans of Star Trek and got along like the proverbial house on fire.  She loved my idea-generation; I loved she was published.

I can't express in an entire blog of entries how much of an impact Anne made on my life and career as a writer. Know that she has my undying gratitude.

So, this crime writer from Texas nurtures me and teaches me the craft. She questions why I am studying something I like and eschewing something I love--writing. Later, she apologised for questioning my life choices, but why apologise for something that was correct?  Of course I was meant to write novels!

Long story short: we wrote Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes together and pitched them to Paramount during the Writers' Strike of the early 90's. Alas, didn't sell. Ah well. (Factlet: had we sold our episodes, I would have beaten David Gerrold as the youngest Star Trek writer evar.)

Had we sold, my life would have been vastly different than it is now. Now that I'm an older, wiser woman, younger me would not have been able to handle the fame that would have come my way. Most likely, I would have crashed and burned, after making a rather big fool of myself.  Glad that didn't happen.  I wasn't the wisest of College Freshmen.

(Oh yeah. We also wrote some novel tie-ins which did make it in front of an editor to be told thanks-but-no-thanks.  Again, I was okay with that.)

From Anne, I learned much about life as a professional writer--lessons I still remember to this day. They've served me well.

Her Grace still remembers a female Ferengi by the name of Tasol. Boy, were those the days!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Silent Times

There are times in a writer's career when it is silent.

Very silent.

Too silent.

The only sound is the clacking of keyboards or the scratching of pens.  No other noise is heard.

It is the quiet while you wait to hear back from beta-readers, agents, editors.  It is the waiting for feedback or reviews.  It is the checking of one's email to reveal no new messages. It is the lack of comments on one's blog, the dearth of replies on Twitter, the absence of pingbacks on Pinterest.

If an author sits really still, one can completely believe that there is no other soul out there. It is an overwhelming sense of isolation.

Even today, the lonely garret still exists.

Do a writer a favour and go tell them something--anything--positive about their career.  Sometimes we need to know we're not working in complete solitude.

Her Grace can't hear crickets. How odd. One would expect at least the creaking of the glacier that is publishing.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Library Love!!

If you love books, chances are you love a library.

I was only three years old when I got my first library card.  I belonged to the Sprague Branch, a beautiful old library in a neighborhood called Sugar House. Isn't it lovely?
From  LarryChristensen agrees with me; it's a pretty library.
So with such an evocative library, how could I not fall in love?  (I must go back some day, just so I can tell it how much I love it.)

Since then, I've belonged to a library, no matter where in the world I've lived. I've even worked at a few.

I love having books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books and books...
...all within my grasp.  I can read until I'm sick of words. I can indulge my literary habit. I can research.  I can explore, gain knowledge, become something more than I was yesterday.

Books were my best friends growing up. A library was my retreat. Nobody bothered you in a library.

They're building a new library near where I live.  It looks nothing like the Sprague branch, but I still feel the same thrill.  I drive by it regularly and tell it hello. I've taken a few shots of it under construction. I already know some of the library staff and they share my enthusiasm. I can't wait for the new library to open!

I shall go there regularly to read, to browse, to schmooze, to write. (Wonder if we can get some NaNoWriMo action going, or maybe the occasional Author in Residence? I volunteer!)

Do you have a library you love?  What makes it so lovable? Tell me about it.

Her Grace shall always have a soft spot in her heart for a library. Despite the invention of the Internet and eBooks, there will always be a place for Libraries in the world.

Friday, 11 April 2014

My Novel: My first publication

When I was seventeen I submitted a Fantasy poem to a literary magazine.  To my rapturous joy, they accepted it.  Thus, was I published.

I might have a copy of it somewhere on the other side of the planet.

Essentially, the poem was about the magical Otherworld that comes out once the sun sets. (Okay, it also had a touch of self-insertion as the narrative "I" goes for a romp.)

I do remember the final line: "I fall back to my earth. It is morning."

Her Grace's first publication still has a special place in her heart. Since then, every publication has had a touch of that same magic.

My Favouritest Novel: "Of The Dark" - First Draft

Her Grace thinks
Richard Armitage
would play a good Mor-Lath.
Seventeen-year-old me had read lots and lots of books. I'd started developing a (secret) penchant for Epic Fantasy and Historical Romance. I still read mysteries and Sci-Fi and pretty much anything I could lay my hands on, but Fantasy really snagged my imagination.

But with every Fantasy novel I read, the characters/plot/author went one way when I wanted them to go another.

I gathered all those Roads Less Travelled and fomented them into a pretty good plot that satisfied my soul to its farthest corners.

Thus, I came up with "Of The Dark".

What do you do when the God of the Dark proposes marriage? Say no, of course.

Adrastea Healer is a good girl who walks in the Light. So why is Mor-Lath, God of the Dark interested in her?  Can't be for any benevolent reason. Thus, she refuses his proposal.

But can one really say no to a god?

Originally I planned OTD to be a single standalone novel.  However, as I developed the plot, I realised its three Acts were rather large in scope.  Ah well.  Fantasies were heading the way of Trilogies and Serials.  It took me a couple of years to finish the first draft. Then I put it aside as new ideas caught hold of my imagination.

Eventually, I kept coming back to OTD. More on further drafts later.

Her Grace quite enjoys this novel.  It sings to her soul.  Her Beta readers are of violently mixed reactions.  Sooner or later, one of them will lynch her, but for varying reasons.