All posts by Heather

And now…the turtle is in the race

After an incredible streak of writing between June and early July, something happened and I came to a ridiculously slow crawl. Her Majesty’s first draft is finished, Starbright’s first draft is finished, and while I’ve definitely added to Darling Orphan, I haven’t been nearly as productive as I was prior to Shore Leave. What happened??? I honestly don’t know, except that I theorize that massive amounts of laziness have invaded. Well, that’s both annoying and won’t do, because the new semester started, and now my time will be tied up in homework. I do plan to try and still scribble out what I can in the interim, but it is a habit I have fallen out of and may fall farther still. A shame, since I really wanted to have the first draft to Darling Orphan done before classes started. I’m about 77 pages away from my goal, as far as pages go, so it’s not unreachable, and the material is definitely there in my head–refusing to budge, as it can often do, or not do as is this case. The nice thing about fall semester though, is that there are little breaks (online classes still being kind of nonstop however), and I can try to pretend they don’t exist for the sake of getting my schoolwork done on time or slightly ahead, and then when those little breaks come around, I can use them to write. Yes, I can hear my muses laughing already–You want to schedule what??? It’s worth a shot, and the cooler weather is certainly inviting when it comes to writing. Today is a perfect day for it–rainy, quite cool…

Not to leave myself completely beaten up over how little writing I’ve done lately–I do owe some of my slacking to the fact that I started a new job in mid-July. It’s pretty incredible to finally have a single job that will cover my expenses, so now I can actually focus on my schoolwork, and not tie up every shred of energy in a second job, commuting, and wondering how I’m going to pay bills or eat. I love my new job for so many reasons, and it has been something to get used to. I am grateful!

I have updated my events page (somewhat), with the next 3 shows I will be doing. I have more or less averaged one show per month (sometimes two, so that balanced out the months missed), and it’s a really great schedule to be on! I don’t yet have anything past October, but that doesn’t mean that something won’t come up. I’ll let you know! It is also pretty amazing that I have been an actual Guest to the majority of shows I’ve done this year, versus having to come in as a paid vendor. It almost feels like I’ve finally paid my dues! I still feel like “small potatoes” though, and may never get over that.

Off to Shore Leave. But first, an update…

And a pretty exciting update, as far as writing is concerned! A few days ago, I finished the first draft to Her Majesty. It’s about 40 pages shy of what I was going for, but I know there will be a lot to add when I do my first read through, so I expect that it will get at least a bit closer. If it doesn’t that’s okay. A story is as long as a story needs to be–Captain Hauke taught me that! So now I have two short stories and two novels to edit and whip into shape. I did start the process on Played earlier this week, and man–does it need some work! I found some sentences (okay, more than some) that were written as notes and never converted into “story” form. Yikes! They haven’t been difficult to fix, fortunately, but I had thought I’d caught all of those–guess not! Well, better to find them now, than after shipping it off to my editors. A few days ago also saw the start of a new short story. I had been trying to put it off until I could get some of these first drafts into the next phase, but I was caught between appointments with nothing else to do or work on, for about an hour. So, what’s a writer to do, but write! It’s about a page and a third at the moment, so it’s not like I’m into the full swing of it yet, and that’s good. I did get back into handwriting and I’m glad for that. I prefer it over typing any day, but all of the pieces I’ve just recently finished were already partly typed, and it’s just more convenient to continue that way. Still not at all my preference by a long shot. Maybe this new story will get to be completely handwritten. That ought to be good for a hand cramp or twelve, and I’m okay with that!

So I’m waiting for 1pm to come around (that’s in about an hour) so I can leave for the show. It won’t take me heaps of time to get there (in theory), so there’s no major reason to rush and then just sit around. As it is, check in isn’t until 3, and it’s not always possible to get into a room right away. I wonder how close I’ll actually get to 1 o’clock before I just can’t stand it anymore and off I go…I give myself 25 minutes before the mega dose of impatience kicks in. Sounds about right!

Progress that I can feel

Once again, it’s been some time since my last entry to this blog. Fortunately (and finally!) I do have some progress to report:

I finished one of my short stories that I had placed in NYC (Played), about a month ago. It ended up being around 50 pages long, so I will reserve that for a future anthology. I also finished As Fate Would Have It, Part Two: Cutting Ties, just a few weeks go. Starbright was also finished just between the two short stories, and I have made incredible and steady progress on Her Majesty: The Case of Alexandrina Victoria, Book 4 in The Case Files series. Does it feel good to be cranking out so much writing? You have no idea! I’ve been tracking my word count each day and then tallying it up each week, which is really nice to see, though it does put me at competition with myself. Last week I ended with about 12k words. This week, I’m already past 15k. This is excellent as far as getting my books and stories closer to completion! However, I now have the two short stories and novel to edit–and there will be quite a bit of work in the cleaning up department for all of them!–and soon (at least at the rate I’m going), I will have another novel to add to that. I’m loving every second of this, and it’s a shame that I am still a slave to work that is so unfulfilling to my heart and soul, and barely allows me to live. I’m taking steps to change this, but it has been a frustrating journey in knowing that the Universe doesn’t appear to have my back. I could be wrong, and improvement could still be just around the corner. I think about that and at the same time, am coming to realize that maybe I never actually reach  that corner because the world is, in fact, a round one…Maybe at some point the powers that be will take my passion for writing as seriously as I do, and bring to me the sort of life necessary to cultivate and nurture my gift. I am embracing and loving my ability to write as much as time allows, and with as much joy–surely something will happen to allow the rest of my life to reflect that, including bringing me joy in many other areas of it…

NYC recap and where my writing stands at the moment

So here we are–a few weeks later already since the last post. My, how time does fly! It’s hard to believe that I’ve already been on my NYC trip and back–in a way, I feel like I never went, except that I have very vivid images of Central Park, Times Square, several subway stations, Katz’s, the lobby of the Empire State Building, a zillion amazing buildings, the World Trade Center Memorial, the Highline, and numerous other places and exclusive-to-NYC things engrained in my memory. It was an amazing and impressionable trip, needless to say.

I wish I could report that I spent my train ride there and back working madly on my writing. As it turns out, I am so removed from being in a super comfortable and ready mental space to write, that I spent nearly the entire time (both ways) just staring out of the window. I needed that, believe me! In fact, I could probably spend a good lot of time on a train before reaching a point where I could bear to look down at paper and make words magically appear at the end of my pen…

That said, I was able to gather up some details that I need in order to write one of my stories (probably a short one, or novella at best), and now I just need the right energy to help me jump right into the actual writing part of it. For another story–and possibly screenplay, since I can’t make up my mind which one it will become in the end–I was able to get some of what I wanted as far as setting, but I’m not yet convinced that NYC is where it will take place. I think I will need another visit so I can explore a few little things–little, but extremely pertinent to the story in my head.

It bears mentioning that while I was in NYC, I saw more than one park, square, street, storefront, or walkway that looked identical to something of its same ilk elsewhere–as in, another city. Madison Square Garden reminds me a lot of a section of Boston. Some of the streets were oddly reminiscent of Florence, Italy. At one point, I almost felt like I had stumbled onto a street in Pioneer Square in Seattle, WA. Why is this? Is this a perception limited to my reality? Just as I may see a person’s face differently than someone standing next to me who is also looking at that person–do I see streets or squares from one place to the next and something in my brain immediately finds similar patterns, and therefore interprets the new location to look like the old one? Matrix, indeed! The same could easily be said for people–why is it that we see the doppelgänger of someone we know well, but on the other side of the country or in a photograph, and yet there is no relation (biological or otherwise) between them? I really came across this a lot while I was there–both with places and faces. And speaking of familiar faces: in case I didn’t mention this back in February, I ran into someone at Farpoint who looked like he stepped out of Captain Hauke: The Case of Leslie F. Hunt, with Captain Hauke’s nametag on. He was exactly what I had imagined of the character, right down to being left-handed, an artist, and wearing Aya’s Greek fisherman’s hat. It was bizarre, truly. It left me thinking–did he step out of the book? Or did I fall into some kind of parallel universe to it and there he was? Always a weirdness. Always. But a treat that is hard to top, that is for sure!

So, writing: the 2 NYC-based tales have gotten a few bits and pieces added here and there. A new “thriller” short is in the works. I’m trying to keep it focused to about 2000 words, and am just trying to come up with content at the moment. It goes back to a daily occurrence about a year ago, of which a former coworker will appreciate once it’s finished. Part two of As Fate… got a few more bits added to it. That might be it for a moment. Next week, I have a final and the week after, and then the semester is over. Otherwise, I feel like it’s been quiz, test, quiz, test for the last four weeks (because it has!). I’m looking forward to getting a little of my time back for focusing on my writing! We’ll see how that goes with needing to pick up more  hours for work.

Balance, balance, balance…Or so they say…

So Faaaaar behind….

Wow. A month and a half since I last posted here! While this should be a surprise to no one (especially me), it’s still a bit of a shock to realize that so much time has passed. I’d like to say that nothing is going on, but…No, I don’t ever like to say that! Things are going on!!!

In writing: I have many new projects going at the moment. Some are short stories, some are novels, some whose length are yet to be determined, and one is ever teetering on the edge of being a screenplay. I managed to finally finished up “As Fate Would Have It, Part One: She Who Doth Wicket the Bucket” and posted it for my Patreon supporters. In another month or so, I will release it on Kindle. Once all 8 are finished, I will publish them all in a hardcopy together. I’ve since added more to Part 2, but it’s not yet finished (of course). Also in writing news: shortly after Farpoint, a dear friend (also an author) contacted me about an anthology that was collecting pieces of flash fiction. Needless to say, I submitted a creepy little tale and it was accepted–Yes, I’m very excited about that! The release is slated for around July.  And lastly (I think): I have had to shelf Starbright for the time being, until I can come to terms with the fact that I need to kill off a character (and NOT bring him/her back!) for the good of the story. I guess I’m not yet willing to accept that, because I have come to a dead stop. I suppose this just frees up my tiny allotment of writing time for some other pieces until that one is ready. Or, until *I* am ready. It will be interesting to see which of my current works in progress takes hold and, as I am getting ready to take a quick weekend trip to NYC in a few days and two of those works happen there, I could be scribbling like mad on my train ride home!

If I haven’t mentioned it already, I have joined the awesome community of authors for the Shore Leave event taking place in Hunt Valley, MD in early July. As well, I will be presenting (subject to be determined) as a guest for the Steampunk Frederick (MD) event in mid-August.  Also added to my calendar (and working very backwards here!) is a one day event at the Cabinet Makers Books in Enola, PA on May 13th from 1-3. A link to the information: https://www.facebook.com/334471203260834/photos/gm.139355013266359/1582489075125701/?type=3&theater 

If you have trouble with the link, let me know. I will be sure to add links for the other events as well.

So there is a small update in the proverbial nutshell. I’m sure there will be more after this weekend, and it will just be a matter of when I can sit down to say something about it.

Far Point Recap and…

I have about four minutes to make this post before my brain shuts down entirely. It’s just been one of those non-stop weeks between work, school, my second job, commuting and homework, and as sleep is suffering, I have to try to stick to an 8 hour schedule… uh, yeah…so…

Far Point was AWESOME! I think this show gets better and better every year. Maybe it has something to do with getting to know the other authors who are there better, or expanding the list of authors who I know. Either or both, I really felt at home and in my element–I felt pretty shiny–and am still a bit on the high from it all. Some fun conversations post-con have also come from this, one of which is with T. Eric Bakutis (https://www.facebook.com/TEricBakutis/ ) about virtual reality (on his end) and early childhood development–specifically on the importance of touch/lack thereof in infancy (on my end). We have only just started the brainstorming, but I expect we will add a few wrinkles to our gray matter by the end of it. Some of what we’ve talked about in regards to where VR technology is going has also stirred my thoughts and motivation for one of my back burner works-in-progress. This is good, in that I’d LOVE to get back to it and finish it! But not so good, as I’m within 50 pages or less of finishing Starbright and now is not the time for distraction! Well, we know how my muses like to get this close to the end of a book–so they’re really right on time.

One more bit before I have to crack on with my evening: I have an invite to Shore Leave–a similar event as Far Point that takes place in the summer. More information on that as things develop. And YES, I am excited for this one!!

Far Point schedule, etc.

First things first:
My Far Point schedule is thus:

Friday at 4pm: I will be speaking on a panel about killing off characters. I believe the panel is called “But I liked that guy!!” I speak on this one every year and it continues to be one of my favorite writing topics.

Friday at 5pm: I will be in one of the bigger rooms to sign books and talk to anyone who might come by to say hello.

Saturday at 10am: I am speaking on a panel about publishing in 2017.

Saturday at 3pm: I am doing a reading, though of what, I haven’t yet decided…

Sunday at 10am: I am speaking on a panel called “Beyond the female sidekick”. Another one I’ve done before and enjoy.

Sunday at 11am: I am speaking on a panel called “Music behind the authors”. I’m pretty excited about this one and it’s new this year.

Sunday at Noon: I will be in one of the bigger rooms to sign books and talk to anyone who might come by to say hello.

Sunday at 1pm: I am speaking on a panel called”Literature in a post-lit world”. Also a new one, at least for me. Should be interesting.

Other news: Continued poking along on Starbright (working title). I think it’s up to about 197 pages, or thereabouts. I still don’t know how to wrap up the ending on this one, so that may be my delay. On the upside, I keep thinking of awesome historical details to work in throughout the rest of the book. I am also stumped on what to do for the cover. I have absolutely no means to pay an artist, so I have been toying with the idea of doing the cover myself. Maybe a pastel drawing…At least I still have my pastels. I knew there was a reason I never got rid of them. I am not settled on that idea, but it’s what I have at the moment.

I fell off of the ‘dream book’ wagon again and just haven’t had a chance to record my dreams for the past week. They haven’t been much of a thrill ride, so no loss, but it does more or less end the idea of 365 Dreams as a book of consecutive nightly visions. Sorry. I’ll keep recording them as I do have time, and maybe I can get individual novels off of them. I’m okay with this.

New, new, new

A new year, a new semester at school…So far, that’s where it ends. I was hoping to move closer to work and campus this month or even in February, but I didn’t get the honey of an apartment that I was looking at. So, the search continues. Whatever the reasoning was that the Universe has stapled to this, I’m not sure, but may that mean something even better for me (hard to imagine, but life has been heavily teaching me that I don’t know what I’m talking about and it’s going to do the driving).

More work done on Starbright. I’m up to about 175 pages, with more and more of the gaps between chapters and scenes shrinking away. Yesterday brought an epiphany with the story’s history, which I need to figure out how to incorporate. It’s always tricksy, trying to get enough history skillfully included and not revealing it all at the beginning. Blah. Boring. After working on my homework for a while this morning, I will take a break and see about fitting in an hour or so of writing. I really slacked off where homework was concerned yesterday, so I will have to make up for that today. Where did the time go? Once again, trying to give my home an overhaul–putting things away, getting rid of unnecessary stuff (not that there is a lot of that anymore), cleaning, etc. Several years ago I started making a quilt with earth tone colors (yellow, gold, tan, beige, brown, rust, olive, forest green, ivory…) and every now and then I work on it. As always happens with projects, the longer it takes for me to complete it, the more materials I accumulate and want to incorporate. In this case, I’ve made clothing or costumes that have left scraps perfect to go into this quilt. It’s nice to have more options, but annoying in trying to work them in. On the upside, the quilt is really only about 1/3 done, if that, and I can stick that section in the middle and work above, below and on either side of it to work in these new fabrics. I have no plans to make anything else that might have coordinating material, so this should be it. While it’s made up of 4×4″ squares and nothing fancy, it still takes time to iron the fabric, measure and mark and then cut them. Yes, I have a cutting wheel, but some fabrics hate it and it’s easier to go crazy with the sharpie, and then sit and cut the squares while watching a movie. I’m also not a fan of standing at the ironing board for hours upon hours to do the cutting, so marking is about 5 seconds faster per square. Anyway, I have a lot of fabric left to cut and I’m getting better at weeding out the big, squared off remnants–I don’t need to use ALL of what I have. I just need a good mixture all around. It’s nice to see the unuseable scraps filling the trashcan and the nicely folded remnants stacking up to be sold on eBay…

That was a nice rant…Back to writing–

As I expected I eventually would (though not nearly so soon), I’ve already missed out on the 365 nights of dreams that was intended to be a book. Four nights’ worth of dreams I think I missed. It’s not that there was anything earth-shattering in them–I just kept telling myself, “You’ve got to write that down!” Followed up with, “Yes, yes. I will!” And I never did. My dreams have been a little weird lately though. Less in what is going on or who is there (with some exceptions), and more about the places I’m ‘visiting’. Lots of merging of locations: airports, hotels and shopping malls really like to become one with each other in my dreams. Office buildings and Victorian mansions. An interwoven web of small town streets all stacked on top of one another–Venice, Italy overlaid with Erie, Pennsylvania is a popular one.  They are almost impossible to describe unless you’ve been to both. I will keep recording my dreams to see if anything can come of doing so. If anything, maybe I’ll just get singular books from them–as is the case with many of my books so far. The night before last involved preparation for the coming of zombies. Everyone in the world was divided up into teams. We didn’t get to choose who we teamed up with–we were just sent to our meeting place. This included celebrities, politicians, the rich, the poor–everyone. No one was left out and no one had a say on where they went. I don’t know who ran this, or how teams were chosen. It was really pretty odd to see who was there with me and I’m glad the zombies never showed…

Progress?

A quick update this morning before I head off into the world:

During my winter break, I took a 70 page story to an over 150 page book. Yes–I am shocked. I guess it was the right place to escape to! With the exception of one day this week, I’ve continued to add to it and have mapped out pretty much all of the missing chapters. The ending though….the ending….I have no idea how to end this one. I can’t say I’m hopping to start ANOTHER series, though now with the Twins Trilogy done, I guess I’m down to two open series at the moment…Make that three…I think I’ll just have to keep going on filling in the holes of this one and see how it goes. With The Case Files, I didn’t know it would be a series (8 books…sheesh!!) until well after the first one was out and had time to breathe for a while. This one may have to have some r&r time as well, if I do decided to elongate it with a follow up book or …five.

Somewhere around last weekend, I started up another story. It is not likely to go anywhere as-is. It’s one of those ‘exercise’ stories (Where can I go with this, I wonder??) but again, if some sort of metamorphosis takes place with it, it might be something someday. Back burner project, for sure.

As soon as I finish with the first book mentioned in this post (still no title, though Starbright may be the poorly named understudy for the time being), I am tentatively thinking of getting back to The Case Files. I think that was mentioned a few posts ago. I still don’t have enough material for it, but I do have a decent outline. I just need to be around the right group of people to be inspired (you know–the usual excuse) and so I can collect the right sort of tone to carry it through. On the off chance that I can finish up Starbright and get it off of my plate by March, Her Majesty has a good chance of getting done and out by fall. And then whatever else happens to come up. I’ve had some wacky dreams as of late, but nothing book-inspiring. I have been writing them down since January 1st, so you may end up with a book of dreams…IF I can be sure to write them ALL down for the whole year…Big IF, my friends.

So I finished up my 5 year journal/writing tracking journal. I did a lousy job writing every day, but in 5 years, I finished and published Nine books. I need to up the ante on that. I have been tracking my writing so far this year (all four days of it…), though I don’t have a new journal yet. This  is the one I would like to get:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/0811870197/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=1FOD0Q4MYQUE&coliid=I3327R67SLDUK8

Hopefully you can see that. Here’s a picture: 

Anyhow, the hope is to do better over the next 5 years…So far, so good.

As the ink dries, the paint shall run

In case anyone missed it, The Open Book is now available for ordering. I don’t have any in stock yet, but it can be ordered (unsigned) through www.lulu.com. Signed copies are available upon pre-order and request (send $22 via heather@heatherehutsell.com through PayPal). Turn around time on that is about 2 weeks as I have to order the book, get and sign it, and then ship it back out. You can always order from Lulu and bring it to me to sign at a later date. Right now, the only show I have booked for 2017 is FarPoint in February.

Today is the first day of my winter break from work. I have a long list of things to do (none are terribly earth-shattering, but such is my life right now), and as I said before, I’ll be job hunting during that time as well (still). Maybe I will do some writing. I have it on my list, alternating between two different books, but as I mentioned a post or two ago, there’s no inspiration happening right now and the cheerleading I once had is now gone as well. Non-writers have no idea how important it is to have someone on our side, telling us how proud they are of us, how excited and happy they are when we are writing…It is the light and nourishment that makes us writers feel like even bothering. Sure, I can write without it–I can write garbage. I can write the stuff that fills dark, formidable, cold sewage ways and stale, hollow alleys that no one ever wishes to visit. No joy, no purpose. It’s how all of life feels inside without those encouraging words.

Just a small insight to my world at present. Isn’t it lovely? It’s why there is once again paint and canvas in my home. I’m back to a place I never wanted to return to again. I can only hope that it helps as it did the last time. If not…*shrug*