Sipping coffee in the autumn air

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From Pixabay

I was reminded yesterday of a creative writing workbook I had used when I was in college between 1998-2001 called “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. During that time I was going to the European Division of the University of Maryland University College. Yes,  it had the acronym of UMUC.

Some one made the joke that we were running amok and it kind of stuck.

While I was in that college I worked on a BA in English Literature and a minor in Germany history. I won’t get into the curriculum, but the writing schedule was brutal. I wrote at least two papers for the history courses and three to four papers for the English courses. I was either memorizing, researching, or writing. Plus I didn’t have the time for brain freezes.

This book had exercises to help keep the brain on track. It also advises writers to do other things so that our subconscious can have some time to put some pieces together without our logical brain trying to help. The logical brain has that “editor” that wants our writing to be perfect. It causes the subconscious mind to go on strike.

It is not a good thing to turn off either the subconscious or logical mind. I thought at one time that writing with the subconscious mind would make great stories and poems. Not true. It’s the logical mind that contains the grammar and sentence structure.

If you’ve tried to read “stream of consciousness” you’ll find it is hard reading. If I wanted to be a literature writer with only a couple of readers, I would go that direction. But I want to write genre fiction, particularly fantasy.

One of the reason’s I like “The Artist’s Way” and Julia Cameron’s other book “Walking this World” is because it lets the subconscious play a bit. Then it helps the subconscious and logical mind work together in the act of creation.

So if your well of ideas is going dry and your mind is blank. Try some of her ideas.

As for me, I am going back to writing on Unlicensed Sorceress. Here is a taste of it.

 Unlicensed Sorceress Chapter 10 Scene 1

Mage University
Hilda Brant
It was slightly humiliating to be in school with the junior mages. Hilda wasn’t as limber as the young ones who sat in a circle and yelled out the alphabet. Five little ones just over six years old and Hilda was at least forty years older than the youngest one.

At lest the reading teaching didn’t expect her to sit on the rug. Hilda sat in a chair behind the other students, laboriously writing the first three letters of the alphabet. It wasn’t often that they got adults in the reading class. The teacher had assured her that she would learn. It was a little humiliating that the younger students were learning faster than she was.

A younger mage came over to look at her work. She was writing on a slate. “Here,” the mage said. “You need to make straighter lines.

The chalk felt dusty and she pressed to hard on the slate. The chalk broke and one half flew across the room. It had been a long time since she had been an underling and it was frustrating. The young mage who was showing her the letters hid a smile behind a hand.
“Come on,” he said. “You have several advantages. Use your skills. Don’t you know how to communicate with a team?”

Hilda nodded her head. They had used signs and symbols to communicate with each other, this wasn’t any harder.

“Plus,” the mage continued. “You have an elemental. She can help you.”

Hilda didn’t want to use Sassy. She’d have the little elemental saying, “A. A. A,” at her until Hilda went crazy. The mage looked at her sternly. It was kind of funny to see a teenager look stern. It was the same look she gave to others when they weren’t trying.

In front of them, the children had gotten to their feet and were jumping up and down. The noise in the room stopped her concentration. She wanted to sit up and jump up and down too.

“Come on,” said her teenage torturer. “Call your elemental.”

One thing she didn’t want the mage’s to know was that she didn’t have to call the elemental. Sassy stayed with her all the time. In fact she was peeping out from behind her hair so that she could get a closer look at the children. She wasn’t much older than the children.

You’d think that elementals were old as the hills. You’d think that they had been here forever. Yes, elementals had been here forever. They they were born and then they died. Sassy was from an old line but she was a young one. Hilda had found her on the battlefield. She had saved Sassy and Sassy had saved her. Still Sassy loved the energy of the children and wanted to play with them.

When the teenage mage saw Sassy, his eyes widened. “She’s not full grown.” There was a tone of outrage in his voice.

“You could say that,” said Hilda.

“What did you do with her parents?”

Hilda could see that the teenage mage was agitated. Hilda leaned away from him when she saw the small fireball in his hand.

The teacher saw the fireball, gathered up the children, and then herded them outside.

“Time to play,” she said gaily. The children got into line and followed her out.

Hilda watched the teenage mage. “Put out the fire,” she said.

“Not until you tell me what you did to her parents.” The teenage voice changed and his eyes went red. The boy was gone and in its place was an elemental.

“I didn’t know you could possess a human,” Hilda said. She stood up and put her hand on her belt. Her sword was gone. Plus she didn’t want to kill the mage. She could push the mage and not get hurt. Having a fire elemental meant that she couldn’t be hurt as badly when struck with fire magic.

Still she put her hand on Sassy. “No,” she said to Sassy. “No.”

“I did nothing to her parents.” Hilda said to the possessed mage. “She was flickering when I found her.”

“Liar,” roared the possessed mage.

Mage Godfroy hurried into the room. “Stop it,” he said when he saw that we were about to get into a fight. I had been a few in my day. The young ones forgot that even though I hurt in places, I did know how to make a young man hurt even worse.

When we didn’t change position, and the possessed mage started to move his hands into an intricate pattern, Mage Godfroy yelled, “Stop It!”

The sound of his voice hung in the hair and vibrated through Hilda’s body. The mage must have put a spell behind the words because Hilda stopped and the young mage stopped. The two of them couldn’t move.

“What started it,” Mage Godfroy said.

His words loosened the teenage mage so that he could speak. “Her elemental is too young.”

“I know,” said Mage Godfroy. “She has a dispensation.” Then he turned toward Hilda, “and you?”

Hilda’s lips moved. “Just defending myself, sir.”

Mage Godfroy dropped his control over them. “You,” he pointed at Hilda. “Learn to read.”

As if Hilda could learn to read immediately without practice. She sighed and went back to her chalk and slate.

“You,” he pointed at the teenage mage. “Come with me.”

The younger mage shook a little. “But sir.” A little whine came out of his mouth.

Mage Godfroy grabbed the younger mage by the back of the neck. Hilda could hear his words, “You allowed your elemental to possess you. After your discipline, you’ll go back to the beginning classes.”

Hilda heard a whine coming from teenage mage. Soon Hilda was alone in the room.
She began tracing the letters again. “Sassy,” she said. “Can you help me with these letters?”

Sassy jumped out and sat next to the slate. “A. A. A,” she said. Hilda sighed. If she wanted to get licensed as a magic-user, she needed to learn how to read. “What’s this one?” she asked Sassy.

“B. B. B,” Sassy said.

Why couldn’t she use magic to learn to read?

“C. C. C,” Sassy started with the next letter.

Warm days and cold hands

img_0584 Foxy, my black chihuahua terrier mix, sits with me on my overstuffed rocking chair with the front door open. She sits on my lap and stretches like a flat fur rug. I know she is starting to get older because white is appearing on her muzzle and eyebrows. When I first got her over two years ago, except for her chest, she was black all over.

She is also getting more cuddly and less active. But then, with the problems I’ve had the last few weeks, I am also getting slower.

We don’t see too many clouds except in the spring and fall in Las Vegas. So I watch the clouds curl and flow. In the higher atmosphere the I see lenticular clouds. It would be long that this storm which left us only a few drops will be on its way to Utah and Colorado. I think it stops here to dry off a little and warm up before the big show.

My sleep schedule has been interrupted by my symptoms. My usual sleep schedule is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The prickling in my neck, plus the hot and cold sensations that seem to start at bedtime and keep me awake. I have been waking up at 4 hour intervals. So at 2 p.m. in the afternoon (sometimes earlier) I am so tired that I take a long nap. Needless to say these patterns make it hard for me to think and to write creatively.

Inside it feels like someone has put their foot on the pedal and is revving the engine.

So I am hoping that the sonogram biopsy will be the start to getting my engine to a low hum. This constant revving is tiring.

Now for a little promotion time.

Plus here is the first in the series, Hilda’s Inn for Retired Heroes:

Getting a boost from Nanowrimo

Thanks again for the reception of “Hilda’s Inn.” I am using nanowrimo to give me a boost for the second book in the series called “Dragon Boy.” We still have Michael, Madame Mary Rose, Hilda, Davi, Draugr, and a few new characters.

For those of you who really like the Inn, there will be a new one on the docks. Yes, it was a surprise to me too. Apparently Michael needs a job as he heals his mind and magic from the Grimoire attack.

As for the inner workings of this writer, I am a pantser. There are inherent risks to being one. For instance, I have to outline afterwards so I don’t lose the names of my characters. Second, the first draft is pretty much structure. I use the second draft to add color. And then another risk is that I sometimes lose the big “plot point.” I almost did that with Hilda’s Inn.

For those of you who enjoy other types of genres, I do write darker fantasy in my short story collections and also in “Perchance to Dream.”

I have branched out to sci-fi with a humor twist in Green Knight Terraforming Company and Percy Doyle’s Traveling Space Market. These are shorter stories. The traveling space market stories will be out in a few weeks.

So without further ado I’ll leave you with an excerpt of a Dragon Boy and the Draugr:

Delhaven, Lord Barton’s castle
Draugr

The Draugr’s eyes opened. The darkness covered him like a blanket. The mage had tasted good, so good. At the first bite, the mage’s magic poured into him and revitalized his mind. He was the spymaster, but he was not. The light that had seeped through the cracks in the door were gone. He sniffed, listening for guards, wanting to rip them to pieces and eat the juicy bits. What he really wanted was another mage, well-steeped in magic.

He sniffed, taking in all the information on the night air. Lord Barton was sleeping in his chamber. Men were standing guard at the entrance to the Lord’s room. There was a slight stench of magic coming from that room, but before he charged up the stairs to the lord’s bedchamber, something tugged from the center of his body.

He thought he was free when he had killed and eaten the mage. But the tug told him otherwise. He fought it by clawing his stomach. The tug became more insistent and instead of a light leash, it felt like a rope, dragging him out the door and through the silent city. As he passed the burning lamps, a wind blew the wick. He was well aware that someone could follow him by the darkening.

A gleam of eyes glared at him in the darkness. He pulled back on the tug, reached towards the wall, and grabbed the cat. The cat screamed as he ripped it open. He buried his face in its intestines and ate. The blood dripped down his face as he followed the tug. Soon he reached Delhaven’s main gate.

Perchance to Dream – a short novel

I started out as a singer– My entire family have musical talent and we would sing around the baby grand piano on Sundays and holidays. It sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?

My mother was a self-proclaimed diva. She had won a Metropolitan audition in her young years and instead of pursuing her dream of singing opera, she became a mother. She also ruined music for us.

In retaliation I used my skills in music to become a poet. I am a fairly good one…I have even been published in one of the same publications as Seamus Haney. I still write poetry as a hobby or when my music and rhythms overcome me.

Nowadays I write stories. As a writer, I have no idea if I am good or bad. I hope that I am a decent writer at the very least. My late-hubby enjoyed some of my stories and when I had problems understanding the motives of one of my characters, he was more than willing to brainstorm with me.

He once told me that my stories were more real to me than reality. He knew me so well.

Anyway, here is a novel I finished and published on Amazon last year. It is more in the dark fantasy genre, but not totally horror-driven. There is hope… even in the darkest moments there is always hope.

Perchance to Dream1Perchance to Dream
Genre: Dark Fantasy
Kindle: 3.99

Description:

Kat Igardson is a visionary, a psychic, and a protector, but doesn’t gain her hereditary powers until the death of her Grandma. Daisy Amulda, a black witch, is stripped of her power by her father. These two unlikely women become allies to fight an evil that corrupts and taints Earth and its innocents.

Will they survive?

Excerpt:

Chapter One

My body sank into the mattress cover as my mind floated above my body. The darkness covers my eyes as I drop into sleep. My grandma was in the next room; her slight breathing turning into slight snores. Snores into music. I was safe.

For years I have dreamed. Some of the dreams were those little garbage dreams that clear my brain and make it easier for me to think. Some dreams were of the past. I had a dream where I was being chased by a teddy bear. And then I have the dreams of the future.

Those dreams are the scariest. When my mother still lived with grandma and me, she would yell at us. Many times I would have these fights with her before the main fight. It made for some sleepless nights. I still hate sleeping in the same house as my mother. When we are together, we fight tooth and nail, day and night, in person and in dreams.

I suppose I am not the only one that has mommy problems and I won’t be the last. I have wondered for years why my mother is such a crank when her mother, my grandma, is such a nice person.
When I am dreaming, I am a part of the dream. I can feel the emotions that I would feel if I were actually there. The fear is higher, the anger is fierier, and the tears are brighter. The colors, sounds, touches, and smells are keener. I can look at it with dispassion when awake, but when I am asleep the dreams are more real than when I am awake.

At one time I studied Jung’s superconsicous mind theory. To dip into the same dream pool as every conscious being on the planet almost described my experiences. I was attracted to Jung’s theories, but I didn’t want to use them to counsel other people. So after one class when I realized that the teachers were less informed than I was, I quit college and went back to live with grandma. She needed me.

It was dementia and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. She needed a caretaker. I needed to care for her.

The mattress creaked under my body as a rolled to the left and curled into the covers. The blankets warmed my body and I fell into the dream.

GRANDMA WAS IN THE KITCHEN, making spaghetti, and the water bubbled on the stove for pasta. The smell of tomato and meat sauce filled the room as I walked into the kitchen. I pulled out the plates and utensils and began setting the table for two.
The light streamed into the kitchen as I watched Grandma stir the sauce. It had been a few years since I had seen her cook. It was hard with the dementia because she would sometimes put the water on to boil and then forget about it. The pot would burn, sending smoke through the house. After a couple of times, I made sure that I am in the kitchen whenever she wants to cook.

This time it felt like she was all there. She joked and we laughed like the times she had been well. She spread butter over the break, sprinkled garlic over it, and baked it in the oven. I wanted to bite into that crunchy bread and feel the taste expand in my mouth.

Bread baking in the oven was my favorite smell. For a moment I was completely at peace.

Grandma turned from the stove, a wooden spoon dripping with red sauce, and fell slowly onto the floor. I ran to her. It felt like time had slowed to a stop. I tried to run and I couldn’t get to her as her head bounced on the linoleum floor.

Her bright blue eyes filled my vision.

I JERKED AWAKE, BREATHING HARD. The room was dark and I could hear my grandma’s breathing in the next room. I pulled the covers off me, stood up, and walked to her bedroom. I stood in the doorway, watching her sleep. The covers were piled high over her body.

I softly walked to the kitchen, turned on the coffee pot, and looked out the window. I could see the streaks of the morning rays as they settled on the hills around our home. This was the third night I had had this dream. Third times a charm. I got a white coffee cup and filled it with coffee. I was still in my sleeping clothes – a T-shirt and shorts. The clothes had been washed so much that they were soft against my body.

After opening the front door, I sat on the porch and listened to the birds as the sun rose in the east. Today would be a busy day. Grandma would make spaghetti for the first time in years and I would need emergency services on speed dial.
My name is Kathleen Igardson, and I am a dreamer. Call me Kat.

Nanowrimo – I am writing again

It has been a hard three months especially after Sept 19th, and I decided that I needed to pick a character and start writing. Since it was Nanowrimo, I picked up a character I had been thinking about for a few days. She is a troll-human hybrid so she doesn’t have connections in either community. Plus her husband dies. Yea– sounds a little like my situation? Well, very different because she is ripped out of her community and in the process she is on a journey to find herself.

Every new beginning is the end of another new beginning– from Closing Time.

Here is an excerpt:

Scrip, scape, scrip, scrape.

I held the shovel in my hands, blisters cracking and bleeding, as I scraped the last of the soil from the bottom of the grave. Wiping my eyes with the back of my hand, I left a swathe of dirt across my face. Sweat trickled down my face into my eyes. I had been digging this grave for several hours. No one had bothered to jump in and dig with me. I knew I was hated in this community, but they had been careful to hide their animosity until the death of my husband, my John. The vultures peering down at me, the ones who wouldn’t help me dig his grave, were ghosts to me.

The dust crept into my mouth and I needed, no yearned, for a drink of water. They just stared at me, pointing to the last of the dirt in the corners as if this grave needed to be perfect. If I had been one of them, I might have been grave goods at John’s feet. Right now, my heart was so dead that I wouldn’t have put up a fight. My hair stuck to the back of my neck. I lifted up from my neck as I leaned on the shovel. No breeze reached me here six feet down.

John had always liked my hair. He had said that it was all the colors of autumn—red, yellow, and brown. It wasn’t a natural color and I didn’t dye my hair. It came from the legacy of being a troll-human hybrid. It wasn’t talked of much, but when the dimensional gates opened, when the scientists had used the Large Hadron Collider, searching for the “god” particle, the collider had put so much stress on the dimensions that it had ripped open the world. Two worlds collided —the trolls’ home, Jorden, with Earth. The clash between the two societies had been brutal. Worlds pillaged and women raped. I was a product of such a troll-human interaction. Just by my existence I was hated by both societies.

A hand reached down into the grave and gave me a boost out. I blinked when the sun hit my eyes. From its slant it was late afternoon. I could smell the sour sweat of fear on many of the townsfolk. The mayor, his face stern, took the shovel from my hand and pushed me toward my house. The mayor’s black hair spiked around his face, his skin was swarthy different from the other townfolk, and his feet ground the dirt like a conqueror. In a small town that didn’t like the new or strange, he was strange. For an instant his countenance wavered and I thought I saw something else behind the mask of his face.

“Xandra,” his voice pulled me back. I felt my body pull to attention, and I faced him. It would be bad. He was the only person since John’s death to talk to me. The townsfolk had dragged me here, put a shovel in my hand, and forced me to dig. “You have lost the name Peel. By morning, if you are still in this town you will be killed as a creature of darkness.”

Witchfinder Blog Parade

I would not have found Sarah A. Hoyt  and her writings if I had not decided to become indie-published. I found her as I read Joe Konrath, Dean W. Smith, and Kristine Katherine Rusch. I went to her blog to see what kind of stories she wrote and stayed to read her ideas about being published, about having two sons, and about life.

Although I have never met Sarah in person, I consider her a friend. She has enthusiastically promoted my poetry and my stories. I want to be like her when I grow up.

WitchfinderSo today, I am presenting her newest release: Witchfinder.

It is a regency adventure fantasy filled with wizards, magic, and Fair Folk.

I had the opportunity to read the earc before publishing, and I couldn’t stop reading. There are all kinds of people in all kinds of compromising situations, plus a quest through Fairy.

Book Description:

In Avalon, where the world runs on magic, the king of Britannia appoints a witchfinder to rescue unfortunates with magical power from lands where magic is a capital crime. Or he did. But after the royal princess was kidnapped from her cradle twenty years ago, all travel to other universes has been forbidden, and the position of witchfinder abolished. Seraphim Ainsling, Duke of Darkwater, son of the last witchfinder, breaks the edict. He can’t simply let people die for lack of rescue. His stubborn compassion will bring him trouble and disgrace, turmoil and danger — and maybe, just maybe, the greatest reward of all.

You can find this wonderful adventure at these places:

Amazon.com

Barnes and Noble

 

 

 

 

EJ Hunter world – werewolves in the desert

When I first started writing about EJ Hunter, a woman werewolf warrior who served in Afghanistan, we were a few years in the war following 9-11. I was writing about a soldier coming home after her time at war had finished. I know something about coming home.

I served in the Navy as an electronics tech with a security clearance. My hubby and I followed the military (Army and AF) to repair electronics on bases in Panama and Germany. I also learned how hard it was to come back to the States.

EJ Hunter came back to her home in the desert. I have also come back to the desert after being in the tropics, and the European continent. The desert climate is very different and takes a different kind of people and survival techniques.

So for promotion Thursday, here is the novel and stories from the EJ Hunter world:

 

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Urban Werewolf:

John, a mechanic, meets Tina when she arrives at the shop to fix the copier machine in the office. For the first time in years, John is fascinated with this woman. There is something different about her that appeals to his werewolf heart. But Tina has secrets and when her son is kidnapped, John calls on the pack to rescue her son.

EJ Hunter world novelette.

Amazon.com (The price is being changed to 2.99 so if it is still at the higher price, it should be changed by the end of the day)

Smashwords.com

 

Billy the Kid-1Billy the Kid:

Betsy was the were-wolf pack’s legal representation. Her life was pretty boring and man-free until Billy trotted into her life. He was a shifter and he was ready to join the pack. There is only one problem Billy is a goat.

EJ Hunter and her mate Adam help Billy gain Betsy’s trust and when she is kidnapped, Billy is there to be her hero.

Novelette.

Amazon.com  (The price is being changed to 2.99 so if it is still at the higher price, it should be changed by the end of the day)

Smashwords.com

 

d9e4e-shecalleditwolfebookcoverShe Called It, Wolf: EJ Hunter comes home from Afghanistan when her unit is slaughtered by a man in cammies with an M16. They were sitting ducks. In a rage, she changes into a wolf and rips his throat out. The Army decides to give EJ
an honorable discharge and send her home.

At home in Felony Flats, Nevada, her uncle, a Vietnam War Vet, dies leaving her a small piece of land, a silver bullet trailer, and a gold mine.

Novel

Amazon.com

Smashwords.com