All posts by Heather

Funny, That

I have started making posts on my Patreon page that everyone can read. These are writing updates–pretty similar to the ones here, only strictly about writing and things related. I still have pieces that I’m posting on there that are viewable to patrons pledging $5+/month or more, as well. Feel free to check those out:

www.patreon.com/hehutsell

One of the things I posted recently was in how it’s been quite some time since I’ve had a true vacation. One that didn’t involve vending books or other obligations to someone or something else. I mentioned how this lack of a break is impacting my creativity harder and harder each day. Some days I get really lucky and the ideas still come to me. Other days (like since Tuesday), it’s so overwhelming that I can’t get down a single phrase. It’s very debilitating, but without the means to go to places that allow me to relax and be inspired, this is what happens. You know how there are various meters out there that allow a certain measurement, and then there’s the red part? I’m in the red, and that isn’t good. As I stated in my Patreon post, it’s not like I’m looking for an all-encompassing tour of Europe. A weekend away–out of state, where there’s a quiet place for me to be, undisturbed by work and the thought of bills, would actually be quite refreshing. I’ve considered seeing how far I can get on $200 for a round trip train ticket with a sleeper cabin. (Probably not far…) But it’s the funds that are what will make this possible, and there are no funds for this kind of thing. I would love to revisit Provincetown, MA in the fall–it’s so quiet and lovely then, and the B&B’s up there are wonderful. It’s the perfect place to go, but even that is about $600 for 2 nights. So…what will happen? Will I continue to burn out? I don’t know. I’m so close to having two books done, that hitting a point like this is pretty upsetting. Sadly, not even the threat of disappointing readers by not holding to deadlines and release dates isn’t enough to get out of this. I know what I need and have no foreseeable way of making it happen, except through the support of my readers who wish for me to be able to continue writing.

JINX!

So there I went, opening my big mouth about the return of my awesome dreams and what happens?? I have absolute crap dreams last night–worthless night’s sleep. It was a conglomeration of probably my last 5 jobs, all mashed together to create one big, anxiety-filled pudding of indigestion. I’ve had a stomach ache all day as well, and I completely blame THAT.

So I’m home after a day that went much faster than usual (and I’m glad), still with my tummy telling me off, but able to take a few moments, I’m hoping, to lie down and relax–and get back to my writing. I’m not sure what I’ll work on, since the muses responsible for half a dozen pieces were all chattering all day today, and all at once as well. It really is lovely, though I do hope they will share actual words that I can put on paper (or in the infernal Mac machine). I’d actually prefer the paper and pen route. The muscles in my writing hand are getting weak from too much typing. Can’t have that. Who’s going to write for me when I’m no longer able to?? Right: No One. So I guess I’d better get to it.

Silly muses

Another day, another dozen pages written–and not a single one on either of the books I’m trying to get finished up!! My muses–they are so clever and funny sometimes, leading me down other paths and distracting me. Taking my creative thoughts and displacing them like pixies with my favorite earrings. How could I possibly be angry though?? I love every bit of what I’ve written (never mind that no one else will likely see it until I’ve been dead for forty years!), and I’ve just come to accept that this is going to happen now and then. It’s quite all right with me.

I did spend part of the day watching the movie “Vanity Fair”. Good gods, where do I start with that one?? I have been weeding through my dvd’s, getting rid of ones I don’t watch or even like anymore, and this is one that I keep passing over because I haven’t been in the mood to watch it. Mind, I’ve had it for about 12 years and only seen it once, so a second viewing was definitely in order before chucking it. I was holding onto it this long–though I could vaguely recall being disappointed by it–because one of my favorite actors is in it. I think I was confusing it with two other films, wherein his appearance is brief, because in this one he’s all over the place and for a good lot of the movie. I will be keeping it because of this, and despite the fact that I find Becky Sharpe to be one of the most horrendous characters ever to show up in this sort of visual art. She may have been “clever” at times, but she was haphazard and insensitive. Her motives were flimsy and she really reminded me way too much of a woman from my past, who acted the exact same way. Ugh. I’m not impressed. Not. At. All. For half a second, I considered Wuthering Heights as a better piece of literature, but came to my senses: they are both hideous. I will stick with more masterful pieces like “Crimson Peak”, thank you very much!

So as I prepare for bed, I’m encouraged by the fact that my dreams have been returning: detailed, colorful–sometimes lucid–and altogether worth going to. It’s hard not to be eager for sleep, because of this. While I haven’t found much from them to put into my stories as of late, they are still stirring something in there, and for that I am both excited and grateful! If this keeps up, it’s only a matter of time…Only a matter of time before I’m hit up with another idea for a book that is so brilliant, I will crank out another 80 pages or so before realizing I’ve left the two that are so close to finished back in the dust. Ugh. It happens. Story of the stories of my life.

 

“Giving lines of life”

So, I don’t coin phrases too often, least of all ones that actually make me sit back and think “Damn. That was really clever.” Last night, during time spent with a friend, I came up with one that I love. I was filling her in on the ridiculous number of stories that I’m working on right now and told her the plots (which I’m now committed to read aloud to her when they’re done…), and toward the end of our visit I stated that I had to get home because it was getting late. I then stated, “And you know, before I can even go to bed, I have to give our Guardian a few lines of life.” Guardian being the protagonist in one of those stories (he doesn’t yet have a name, but he is, indeed, a Guardian). I suppose this phrase moves me so much because it’s what I really am doing–giving life to my characters on the page. Or, perhaps, they are already living (yes) and I merely give them a stage on which to blossom. In any case, it was a moment of not feeling like such a lousy authoress, and maybe it was their way of saying Thank You.

So close. So close and yet–ANOTHER BOOK! Or THREE!

Yes, my friends–It’s true. I’m so close to having The Open Book done now  (I wrote 6 more pages on Sunday), that the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to look more like a beacon. Coincidentally, it’s a lot like the beacon in “The Return of the King”. You know–the one that is lit, and because it’s lit, it causes the lighting of another, and another, and anotherand…Another??? That’s how things are going around here. My muses got the memo that a book is getting closer to done and they’ve been sending in their requests by every means short of carrier pigeon. I am bombarded. I am swamped. I am… Working on THREE other pieces of writing that are not the one I’m trying to finish right now! Heaven help me. And the stuff that’s coming? All insanely amazing. All of it. Two have their endings all but done, and the beginnings of all three: Absolute Divinity. Middles and fore and aft? Much easier to fill in than they should be, so early in their gestation periods. I haven’t been able to stop it. Not easily, anyway. I had visions of my brain exploding yesterday, leaving trails and drips and splatters on walls, and in the red and grey there were little typed words. They were everywhere, and so I have been obeying like a good literary puppet, and putting down every piece of these three stories that I possibly can. Maybe I will have more than two or three sporadic hours over the weekend to get chunks of The Open Book done, because right now, that’s not happening. At the moment, these other three stories only seem to require that I give them a little time here, a little time there. So far, so good. In case you’re wondering what three stories I’m talking about, they are the witches/Melisites one, the bizarre 3 kinds of people one (oh, just wait–it’s super weird and would make a stunning film!), and for those who were clamoring for a sequel to The Quad, looks more and more like you’re going to get it–behold, The Pound. (Stick Max Martini in as one of the protagonists, if you want a place to start imagining this one…) The ending on this one is much trickier than the other two. Mostly because I don’t want to turn it into another trilogy. I’d really love to have more single books…Though it’s not a bad thing to get my readers sucked into committing to a multiple-book read. (Sneaky, I know.)

Wow. Okay. After getting all of that out, I’ve just drawn a blank…Which makes me think of a sharp-shooting cowboy who whips out his gun, fires it, and the bullets are…yeah, you got it. Is that what that phrase really means?? I always pictured someone drawing a card from a deck and there was nothing on it…not an empty shell… Huh.

So the awesome yet bizarre dreams are trying to make a comeback. (YES!!!!!!!!) Early this morning, I found myself at some kind of outdoor festival. No rhyme or reason for it, of course. Swing music was playing in the background. I really wanted to dance and knew no one who was there. I set my plate of food onto a table next to the dance floor (made me think of a wedding…) and crouched down to tie the laces on my shoes–my amazing 1920’s style shoes. I stood and someone said “Too bad more people aren’t dancing.” I said, “Yeah, especially since I wore my dancing shoes!” In real life, those exact shoes are not good to dance in–I’ll probably break an ankle or hip if I try it. Someone actually did ask me to dance–some young kid in his 20’s. I was stunned that he bothered, but he was really good at it and since it was just dream dancing, I got through it without getting winded. Much. There was some kind of abrupt ending to that and I rushed off to a theater house that was partially walled…It was weird, ok?? There were walls, there weren’t walls. There were doors, there weren’t doors. Lots of people milling around. There was a performance going on, and yet the stage was where the seats were and I walked right through the middle of it, a wind blowing my short, white organza like skirt around, and I had to fight to keep my bum covered. It was just a quaint little scene, really… I was impressed with how I could feel the hard wrinkles in the fabric. That was pretty amazing and I think things went a little lucid when I realized that detail. The rest is fading, of course, and I woke up in a panic about something regarding work, so you know that that is an automatic dream eraser–that abruptness. You get the idea. It was far more magical in my head, just trust me on that.

Okay, yes, so–Books. Last night I wrote down all of the books/novellas/shorts that I’m actively working on, and came up with 20. By actively, I mean that I add something to them at least once a month. I tried to give myself a realistic timeline in getting these pieces done and out, and it looks like I could have this all happen by 2025. First of all, it’s pretty damn weird to imagine releasing books in 202-anything! But, it would seem that we’re not so very far away from that, and even with a healthy goal of 2 books and 2 shorts per year, I will definitely be hitting those odd looking years.  This is certainly all subject to change, as I’ve made it clear that my muses conduct this symphony. I merely put the reeds where they belong and all that, blah blah blah metaphors. Anyway: for 2016, there will be the release of The Open Book and A Potagerie of Rejects. I’m still determined to get the As Fate Would Have It shorts done and out, so the first of those should (SHOULD!) be done by the end of the year. 2017: 2 books (#4 in The Case Files and the witches/Melisites story) and 2 more AFWHI shorts. No telling with what my darling muses will come at me between now and the end of 2017, but this is the rough plan. From there, it gets broad and there’s much lofty speculation as to what I will work on. I will let you know as soon as and each time I figure it out.

Results.

Sometimes it’s determination that gains results. And sometimes it’s something else. I think yesterday was a mixture of both when it came to working on The Open Book. By the end of it all, I had 13 new pages added, and somewhere after 1:00am, I added another 2.5. I will be back at it today, to the best of my ability, and while I know better than to challenge myself to match yesterday’s number, I hope to. I will try to. No promises. I have the rest of the book mapped out with these gaps and un-ended chapters, so I at least know what I’m facing to get to the end. I must say, there are only a very few places in this book where the chasms seem daunting, and even a few of the smaller leaps. For the most part, the difficulty is in keeping the environments insane and magical and weird (if you’ve ever read the first two books in the trilogy, you’ll know exactly what I mean!). I’m facing one of those moments right now and the funny thing about it, is that all I have to say is already there in note form–I just have to storybook it. Well, I did only just get up, and it was a fairly rough night that left me with something of a piercing headache, so I’ll just ease into the writing with a bit of coffee and see where that gets me. I would honestly be happy to get half of what I did yesterday done today. That would finish up two chapters, by my estimations, and that is pretty decent. Current page count, by the way: 191. While my coffee was brewing this morning, I caught myself wondering what book I would (heavily) work on next. That’s both a motivating and a frightening sign. Motivating because I would love to jump right into another book (not counting the anthology–I’m talking about novels) as soon as this one is completed, but frightening because I know how easy it would be to stop short on this one to move onto another. I think I’m mostly safe though as far as The Open Book is concerned. The end really is in sight. It’s harder to put a book down once I’ve reached this stage.

I did take about a half hour or so (okay, maybe more like an hour) to work on the Melisites/Kunvaks story yesterday. It has almost all of its ending at this point…Okay, now that I’m thinking about it, I was going through quite a lot of it in my head while trying to fall asleep early this morning, so maybe I don’t have it all down just yet–I will have to take a look at that and fix it, if not. Anyhow, more was created to help this story along. I still don’t know what I will end up doing with it–whether it will turn into a book and be released to the public, or if it will just end up in a one-time-printed edition on my shelf. So far, it’s not long enough to even be a novella, so that will factor in the end. (A Potagerie of Rejects isn’t quite as long as I’d like it to be either, just yet, but with the finishing up of at least 2 more short-shorts {perhaps a 3rd?} it could get closer to my minimum of 150 pages…) There are, of course, some really big spaces that I have to fill in for the story–I did have to jump around to appease my muse at the time of working on it–and that can add up to many more pages rather quickly. I really just have to write it until it’s written out, and then assess what it has become. As much as I feel I’m not really into witchy/wizardy/mystical stories and worlds, I do want to see this one done. I can also–easily–envision it as a movie, and that is a little scary to consider. I just made a Facebook post yesterday stating that for no one but Guillermo del Toro would I allow any of my books to evolve into film. I really do mean that. I’d hand over the Twins Trilogy in a heartbeat because I know exactly what he could do with it–and it would be BREATHTAKINGLY GORGEOUS. He would probably turn the Melisites/Kunvaks story into something pretty stunning as well. Not likely to ever happen–I’ll be thrilled to stand in the same room with the man–but it’s not over yet.

 

Determined.

It’s a much more pleasant morning, weather-wise. Not nearly as hot and gross as it has been, and it has allowed me to turn off the a/c and open the windows. There’s something very helpful from a creative aspect that comes from access to fresh air. I’m not sure how some authors hole themselves up in hotel rooms to complete books–I would have to just traipse off to a forest or meadow or garden to do this (which is not something I haven’t done. Been a while though…). It’s also threatening rain, which is not altogether a bad thing either. No plans to go out, as usual, so all’s well there. It will be nice, however, to someday eliminate ‘I can’t go out and do anything because I can’t afford it’ from my world. Seriously, even my gasoline is severely rationed at the moment, so there’s no visiting parks, no gardens, no exploring. At least no farther than my feet can carry me and my options there are limited as well. A sad fact that I’m rather tired of, and the longer it goes on, the less I want to create. A cycle that I should like to break a lot sooner than later…

Anyway…

So, I will be exploring along with the twins today–filling in gaps between scenes, finishing off chapters, and getting other little blank spots transformed into picturesque moments. I am currently on page 100 (and a little stumped where I am…) out of 175 pages. With a quick glance through the entire book a few days ago, I would say I may be able to finish filling in and wrap this one up within another 50 pages or so. It could always be longer or shorter than that, but this is my estimate. It’s always interesting to reach this kind of moment in writing a book. That sensation of “This is actually going to be finished!” gets a little more real, and there is a slight sense of hope that goes along with that as well. The best part about this book: the cover is already complete, so once all the editing is done and there’s nothing more I can do with the book itself, I can release it right away. The same goes for “A Potagerie of Rejects”. While I still have about 2 or 3 shorts to finish up in there (and release to my Patreon supporters First), that book is also pretty close to done, and the cover is ready to go. I may spend a little time this weekend, going through my handwritten pieces once more, to see if there isn’t anything else I can include in this anthology. In my quest to purge and eliminate the amount of things I possess, I have once again been reminded that a good chunk of it is in my handwritten work: three boxes and a bookshelf’s worth. I should get back to transcribing some of that into computer files and open up some more space. It’s a tedious process though–not the typing, so much as wanting to edit and revamp at the same time. It’s a really difficult temptation to resist, because some of it just is so very terrible, and how horrifying would it be to have that rubbish found posthumously?? I can’t have that. I will incorporate at least a little of that into my day!

A second cup of coffee, I think, and back to connecting some dots within the Labyrinth. As much as I don’t want to skip around and would rather plow straight through with it, I think I may have to come back to the scene I’m struggling with. I have seven marked, after all, so it’s not like there isn’t another to work on! (And that doesn’t even take me through the end of the book!)

Lots to work on. Lots and Lots.

It’s Wednesday. So?

I don’t really have anything to write a blog about today. I just feel like writing one because it’s been a day…or two. I don’t know–it’s all such a blur anymore. I find that I remember less and less of the usual mundane happenings of days past, and only the absolute most memorable stuff seems to stick. I’m mostly okay with this–why clutter up the cranial attic?? but there are times when I need to remember details for my job, and it’s like the hamsters slam the door shut to go and sit on the couch and bing watch Netflix for a few more …weeks. (Disclaimer: I don’t watch Netflix. I have no idea what it would do to my bare minimum {but still costs me $43/month!!} internet service.)

Well, clearly Ive had enough of that thought, because wherever it was going, it went without me. Fine.

Making an attempt to write tonight is definitely on the agenda. I keep having little moments of “Hey! I could be so much farther along/successful/Known than I am right now, if I would just be more dedicated and WORK ON MY WRITING!”. Some days this is really motivating, and I do well. Other days, I feel pretty lax about it–right now–and slip more into that “Yeah, it’s never going to happen. I’m just going to continue to be me, writing and releasing books at a snail’s pace and even if I publish 5 books a year, I will still never be known. People will give an occasional thumbs up when I put out something new, and still not buy my work” mode. Not my favorite way to think about it, but more common. I think I need a vacation. A change of scenery. It has been a few years already, after all. Might have to panhandle for that one.

Class and Tact, Grace and Poise

Ahhh, the spam has started to arrive! I was wondering how long that was going to take, and I am rather surprised it has taken this long. Honestly, spammers–find something better to do with your existence.

Yesterday’s net work resulted in the finishing up of my Victorian photograph-inspired short-short, “Better Deader”. It has since been posted to my Patreon page (www.patreon.com/hehutsell), which you are welcome and encouraged to go and sign up to support! I have about 3 or 4 more photographs to write about, and then sadly, I will have to come up with something else. Though, I’m hoping that by still putting out one piece per month, I have 3 to 4 months to save up a few dollars and go and collect more images. This little exercise was going to be part of my rewards for the Kickstarter I haven’t yet launched (supporters who pledged a certain dollar amount would be able to send me a photo of their choice–within reason!–and I would write a short-short for them, based on whatever they provided). I will still include that, once I am able to get to that campaign. Right now, the hold up is in that I don’t feel I can devote enough time to The Case Files series to crank out books as fast as I think the campaign would insinuate or demand. The campaign would be to help cover the cost of the cover art, which is the hardest part to come up with monies for, and has the shortest time in which to do it. Should things turn around for me in a positive manner, financially speaking, I may end up paying one artist at a time, as to buy myself more room to get the books written. I do want to get back into them, but The Open Book jumped to the head of the queue, as it has been waiting much longer to be finished…Sooooon, my good people, soon.

Anyway. The Open Book: yesterday, I got another 4 pages written. Not much at all, in my opinion, but it did mean the finishing of a chapter, and then the joining of two scenes, thereby eliminating a gap. Next up for it is to close another gap and finish another chapter. Then I think I get to move ahead by about 20 pages to the next canyon. (Actually, I think it’s an entire chapter for which I do have some pretty good notes, and maybe a paragraph or two already done.) I look at the book thus far and see that I’m on page 97 out of 172, and think “Oh! I’m so close to being done!” which isn’t even close to true. As I add more pages, that ending number just grows and I push it farther and farther out. Though, this is a good thing and what I want to happen! If I had to guess, I would say this book is about 50 pages away from being done–exciting???? That’s really not bad at all. Maybe not possible to get done between now and July 31st, but I will see what I can do about getting much closer to that.

Today held a nice, simple surprise. Someone on Facebook was asking around for whom people recommended as a Writer Guest of Honor for a con next year. Someone mentioned me as the best writer he knows… It’s really amazing to get to read something like that about myself. As I commented in that thread–It’s rare to get feedback, let alone Good feedback!! I really wouldn’t mind if people would reach out to me more after reading my work and say something about it. I’m not sure what holds people back from doing that. I have told a few of my favorite writers/artists that I love their work–it’s really not difficult, and I’m far from intimidating. Well, I think I’m pretty approachable. It’s not like I’m going to start a screaming match over an Amazon book review….

Class, everyone. You’ve got to have class. Tact doesn’t hurt either.

Well, this was a very long day for me, so I’m off to either scribble on paper, or pick up a book for a few paragraphs, before going off to see what dreams may come…

Sunday (No amount of cleverness, whatsoever)

I’m back again! Researching giant statues this morning, for the sake of getting in the mood to work on a scene in The Open Book. Yes, I did just give part of it away. You’ll forget about it by the time the book comes out, most likely.

Of all of the giant statues in the world, I believe the only four I’ve had the privilege of seeing are the Crazy Horse Mountain Monument and Mount Rushmore (back in the 80’s), Rodina Mat (The Motherland Statue in Kiev, Russia) in 1989, and the Virgin Mary at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima in Lewiston, New York (around 2004). I saw a good many statues while in Italy a few years ago, though none as large as the ones listed here. It’s a fascinating thing to me–seeing depictions of people and animals (and even objects) portrayed larger than life. Maybe it’s a perspective thing and reminds me of how small and insignificant we are, but how great of an impact we can have. I’m not sure, but I will always stand and stare in awe when I see something greater in size than myself. Massive buildings fit this as well. I can only imagine what it would be like to stand before the Sphinx.

Between my last post and now, I only wrote 2 pages for The Open Book. I guess I just wasn’t feeling it yesterday (not that I’m really there today so far). I jotted down two and a half pages for a weird not-too-distant-future story involving three kinds of human mutations that are the result of–basically–the surmounting stress and chaos from the circus that is our current presidential election year. It gets a lot better for some, and for others, not so much. That’s the good news. The bad news–it gets much, much worse for everyone first, just as we can all see already. No one is coming out of this unscathed, least of all those who think they will. (Exit soapbox, as that’s not a road I care to travel.)

The other thing I worked on, was a one page reversal of perspective for the “Mister Coventry” story that I started about a month or so ago, wrote and wrote on for days and heaps of pages, and then stopped because it traveled down too weird of a road. I could easily keep it going and write out the entirety of what I already have from one point of view, in this other version, but I don’t know that it would be worth the time. Maybe I will at some point–when I’m too stuck elsewhere. Who knows? Maybe it will end up better telling the story. Sometimes it’s not the story that needs to change, but the perspective. Huh. Food for thought.