All posts by Heather

My “nothing” might mean “something”

A few days ago, I was talking with a good friend and told her that part of my lull in creativity (at least the mood part of it) is likely due to the fact that when I look back at the majority of my life, so much of it contains amazing, weird or fun stories–when it comes to the past two years or so, I can’t boast that. There has been so much financial struggle and worry–my life not feeling like my own, but that of an indentured servant with little to show for all my efforts, that I look back on it and see a murky, stagnant bog. This reality isn’t quite accurate–I do have memories of some really loverly things that have happened in that time, though they have been infrequent. My dad says it’s time for a new adventure, and I could not agree more. I still do my best to be observant and see the beautiful and wondrous things around me, but no one really wants to hear me say “I saw the cutest chipmunks making a raceway out of a neighborhood street today!” It kind of ends there and I can’t elaborate on it. Picture painted–voila! Move along. My stories have not been particularly substantial, by comparison to prior to my money woes–it has been a struggle and I’ve kept a lot of it to myself (though there are the few people close to me who have heard it all–and I really love them for being there to listen!), so to me, there hasn’t been a lot to share in cheer. At least, not things I think others would consider entertaining or noteworthy.

That being said, I talked to someone else about this today. I really treasure her perspective, because she told me that this transition period that I have been going through: people can understand and relate to it. It’s something that can still reach them, though in a very different (and according to her, important) way. It has got me to thinking how I don’t want people to necessarily look at me and say “Wow! She’s really got it together!!” What I want and need is for people to look at me and say “I understand what she’s going through, and I’m inspired by how/that she’s getting through it!”

do have a lot of struggles going on right now–several of the big ones enough out of my control to make me very uncomfortable for now–but I am also grateful for the hundreds of little things that are good and that I realize I am doing right. It makes me think of the driveway hill of a neighbor from way back when I was little–it was covered with forget-me-nots. I loved those flowers. I loved them so much that every day that I saw them, I wanted to pick them. My mom told me not to and I never did. They were tiny, but they were beautiful, and when I saw how many there were all together on that hill, it was a whole LOT of beautiful…

That is my lesson in this mud-blind transitional time: not to forget the whole LOT of beautiful, made up of one blossoming moment, word, breath, or thing at a time.

The saving grace of improvement

It’s the last day of my four day weekend, and already I’m drowning in that “I go back to work tomorrow” feeling. You know the one–it’s heavy and mucky and makes you want to cry. Yeah, I’m there right at this moment. Maybe because my day started off with more communications from the job, so technically, my weekend is already over…

So my motivation to get into anything is nonexistent. And even though I’m going to have one of those moments at some point this week (the one where I get a kick in the face sensation of “YOU CAN MAKE THIS BOOK SUCCESS THING HAPPEN IF YOU WORK HARDER!!!!!”) right now the best I can do is work on transcribing handwritten stories into the computer. Of all the stories I scanned through on Friday night, the best I could come up with to do this to, was an embarrassing pirate-type mess that I started in 1997. It’s amusing to look at it now (not because it’s utter garbage) but because I created and named characters for every person who was actively in my ‘social’ life at the time. Tony, Malia, Marcus, Matthew, Keith, David, Chris, Marlon, Mary, Jeremiah, Jon, Michael…(Michael, I miss you the most! Sweet and sixteen at the time and beautifully optimistic–did it stick??) None of them will ever read this (thankfully), and it lends to mind a curiosity: for the many, many times they’ve all crossed my mind in the last 19 years, I wonder how often I’ve crossed theirs? Likely none, but I expect that. If you ever feel forgotten, rest easy knowing that I’m the most out of sight, out of mind person you will ever know. This story isn’t finished, though I did bring myself to add a good 10 pages of new content over the past few days, just because–for old times’ sake. I wonder what they would think of this story…I wonder how they would feel about themselves, considering that I wrote them exactly as I knew them at the time…Not to mention the dialogue and the things that were said…Oh, yes–I remember it way too clearly. Fortunately for everyone involved, I couldn’t begin to imagine how to salvage this one. It may take another 19 years of adding and tweaking and morphing to make it publicly consumptive. No rush though, right? This was back when my heroines were weak, because I was. I wonder when I will yank out the cooked lasagna that plays as my protagonist’s backbone and replace it with steel…Will that happen in this one? Maybe. I had another story with another distressed damsel, and I gave her a new life. Damn, did she ever turn out eloquent! Who knew she had such a voice?? Maybe there’s hope for this one–little Alyce Lamoreaux. You have so much improving to do before I will even consider liking you.

Event update (pending)

It is my intention to increase my event attendance in 2017, to make up for the drastic missing-out that has happened in 2016. Yesterday, I contacted the coordinator of Far Point 2017, and Glimmerdark 2017 (the new version of the Wicked Faire), to see about being at either event. I’ve been considering trying to get back up to MA for Waltham’s Watch City in May 2017, though that is a bit of a haul and would require that I get a hold of an E-Z up between now and then. It was a great show when I went a few years back, so definitely still on my radar. I have my eyes and ears open for others to fill in the year, so more on that as things develop!

Here’s to the planning (and execution) of a new, upcoming, and very successful year in getting my books into the right hands!

“What it takes” triggers

I’m back home after a night spent with my sweetheart, and then a walk through a nature preserve–wherein I was supposed to be concentrating on my writing headspace, and not getting FOUR calls from work. People: I’m off today. Save it for next week. Anyway, it was a nice time out in nature. I saw a swimming baby turtle, a chipmunk, a great egret, and a very strange and naked caterpillar which landed on my foot after falling out of a tree. Oddly, that has now happened to me twice in less than a week. I guess I need to take some advice from a caterpillar–or two. (The first caterpillar landed on my head, however, not my foot, and it was super hairy.) After all of that, I sat in some ridiculous traffic caused by two different spin-outs. Probably caused by people texting, since that doesn’t seem like it’s ever going to go away until we’re all dead or someone makes a car that shuts down cell phones. I would invest in one of those cars in a heartbeat, if it meant I could make my 40 minute drive to/from work in peace!! Again–I digress. Day off, remember?!

While I was amidst Mother Nature’s living room, I came up with a few little details for TOB, and I’m going to type them into the book once I’m done here, and cross my fingers that it will boost me along into writing several pages–close up some more chasms, yes?? While sitting here a moment ago (before starting this post), I was thinking about my long writing runs–those 2 weeks or so where I write 5 to 18 pages in a day…What is it that makes that happen? What triggers it? What keeps it going? Am I eating differently? Am I somehow altering my routine? Is someone out there in the world sending me the good juju?? I have no clue. If and when I get into one of those stints again, I’ll try to pay attention and see if I can later duplicate it and keep that kind of writing going all the time. I know having muses freshly in my mind helps quite a bit. The more I can see the movements and hear the voices and see the faces of my characters, the easier writing can be. Sometimes, however, the characters don’t ever develop a voice, and if they aren’t modeled after a live person, it can be very hard to keep that all going. Melissa and Teagan in the Twins Trilogy, for instance: they have no such origin. Ironically though, it fits the nature of their characters…Read the books if you want to know what I mean by that. Especially TOB when it comes out.

Not much else to report. I just felt like writing a blog. I guess that’s not out of the ordinary for me though: just writing randomly and without any purpose. Blah, blah, blah. At least I have this wall to throw words at, and see if any of them make a difference in the world.

266

Despite how nervous I still get before going to class (and okay, it’s only been 2 classes so far), I am feeling pretty optimistic about my algebra class. It’s not that I think I’ll survive it with an ‘A’, but the vibe is pretty good and I have a fair fighting chance of doing halfway decent with it. My professor is also pretty good, thus far–he gave the class a pep talk and those never hurt, especially at the beginning of a course. Algebra and going to the dentist–I’m not sure what other general things cause more anxiety than those.

My anthropology class is also going to be interesting. This one is online and while I’m not a fan of that format, the introductions we shared about ourselves as students helps to give an idea as to whom else we will be sharing this experience. Plus, I get to create an archeological dig (real or not) and have the others guess where it is. I kind of want to watch the Indiana Jones films again to help me gear up for it.

Thanks to my sacrificing of my free time this past Sunday to fill in a shift at work, I have tomorrow off, and the weekend, and Monday for Labor Day. Aside from a bunch of reading for my Anthropology class, I really want to get these two books written!!! I know–I keep on saying that! I can’t help that it trickles in as minuscule drops–I swear to you that I am trying! It has been a challenge lately, however, to get into the right mindset in order to bring out what I need to finish said books. I hate to put the responsibility on other people, but the more time I spend by myself, the more stagnant my creativity becomes. I extend the invitations to do things with others–go places, hang out, etc.–but there’s next to no response. So, I sit here during my time off, letting my wheels spin in some pretty slick mud. I have become the most boring person I know, which is really heartbreaking to say because I know that I’m not…*Cue pity party* I read something the other day that said happy people don’t feel sorry for themselves. Well, I don’t feel sorry for myself. I’m actually more than a little irritated at everyone else. Which apparently I’m not supposed to be either. Whatever. The Universe is being stubborn and throwing some kind of lesson at me that I’m not getting. Some clarity and direction shouldn’t be too much to ask, one would think.

So, books. I would like to write them. I would also like to have the social interaction required to fuel that sort of thing…

*Waiting…*

PS–I forgot to put a title on this post, so WordPress titled it for me: “266”. Since I can’t think of anything better, I’m just going to go with it. Maybe I should grab the book closest to me and see what’s on that particular page…

Back on the scene

Today was well spent at the Steampunk Farmer’s Market in New Freedom, PA. It’s one of the most comfortable venues I’ve ever been fortunate enough to vend for–outdoors and under the shade of tall trees. I think the temperature was around 89 degrees (F) or so, and because of the grass and shade, I didn’t start feeling it until I was packing up to leave. That’s pretty awesome! I hope to be asked back next year. As far as sales: slow, but the rest of the day was great, so I’m not complaining. For the books: one customer, but she had already read In the Clothing of Wolves (In one sitting, I might add!) and wanted to pick up more. So, she bought all of what is out for The Case Files, thus far. Knowing she’s a fast reader and she got all three books…I’ve been working on updating contact info and prices on all of my books, and at the same time have been really feeling a push to get back to finishing up Darling Orphan: The Case of Lucy Stewart (Book 4, The Case Files). The other two books I’ve been working on have to be completed before I can pick up Lucy Stewart’s book again, but I’m heavily considering hers being the next one that gets some intensive attention. Unless something else suddenly shows up to be written, or I get more big chunks coming to me on stories already in progress, Lucy’s may really be the one…Another factor that may drive that decision, is that I’m considering forgoing the Kickstarter for the cover art for the remaining Case Files books, and paying each artist a la carte, if you will. I’m not in the most tip-top place financially, but it’s definitely more of an option than it has been. That is to say, if I go for them one at a time and over a really spread out span of time. I just worry that the artists I want to have do them will lose interest if too much time goes by and I don’t want that to happen! As much as I’m feeling eager about that, I’m considering that waiting until at least the first of the year is probably my best bet. By then, these two other books will be done, and I may have a chance to make some more progress on Lucy’s story. While I don’t expect (or hope!) for her book to be nearly as long as Captain Hauke, but maybe closer to Empress Irukandji, I’m still about 170 pages away from that. I probably shouldn’t push for a cover just yet…Ugh. This is the sort of stuff that goes through my head sometimes.

Another thing that has been going through my head lately, is getting all of my handwritten stuff typed up. That certainly hasn’t happened at all! It would be nice to take some of my older writings, clean them up, type them up, and get a book copy of them–whether I release them to the public or not. Of course, if I go to all the trouble, you know I will want to release them. I think the biggest hold up is in how so many of them are nearly books, but just aren’t finished. Or they are, and they need more than a little cleaning up. I suppose I could just release a bunch of novellas, or lump the together in little collections… Wow. I need more time in the day! And here with school starting the day after tomorrow…

I think it might be time to go to bed, before the panicking starts to set in.

Goodnight and good luck!

New Patreon short-short

I’ve been up for just about an hour and finished up the short-short, “For the Love of Spaghets”. It’s now posted on Patreon for supporters of $5+/month. Remember: you can start pledging at any time! Here’s the photograph it was based on:

ForTheLoveOfSpagetts

It’s one of those stories that you hear or read and think “that has to be completely made up”, and yet, this one is true. I guess there must be some truth to every story I write–no matter how fantastical it is. It’s very true that I put a lot of my own experiences into my writing. Maybe I change names, locations, eras, or add details, but the experiences are very real and were definitely lived! Think about that–if you’ve ever read any of my books. I’d be curious to know if readers of my work could pick out the pieces of truth… Hmm. That could be an interesting experiment. Maybe I’ll make a contest out of it somehow. Have people read one particular book, and if they can pick out ten details or events that they think really happened to me, and be correct, free books? Cameos? Something of the sort?? Worth a shot, I think. At least it could help to increase interest in my books and help me to build more of an audience–and that would definitely be a good thing!

I’m hoping to get more work done on The Open Book today, though it’s a day of errands and lots of waiting. I imagine if I bring my notebook and a page or two leading into the section I want to work on, it will do one of two things: help me to get something more written, or guarantee that the queues will move quickly and ensure that I get nothing written! Either way…

I guess I should get busy with my day so I can capture some time on the other end for solid writing time. (As I laugh to myself)

Toddler steps, forward; baby steps, back

In the midst of my mental squalor, I managed to get two pages written on my next Patreon-destined short-short. This one is called “For the Love of Spaghets”. It’s actually a pretty humorous little story–a true story, I might add–about what lengths someone might (and DID!) go to for a delectable, home-cooked dinner. I’m glad I asked permission to write it out after it was shared with me. I will embellish, of course! I need to try and finish it this evening, though I’m pretty tired. I worked on my day off yesterday, so I’m a day short of rest–which is thankfully coming tomorrow. I do have a few crucial errands to run, however, so I think all my rest will be coming in the morning just short of my cat waking me up around six… Makes a good argument for just going to bed now, doesn’t it?? I would probably shoot for a nap if I could trust myself to wake up in, say, an hour or so…Not likely.

And here I am writing this instead of working on the short-short. That makes a good lot of sense, doesn’t it? Decompression, you know…Since getting home just over an hour ago, I’ve done little else but sit. Though I did manage to eat a quick dinner of leftovers and an ice cream sandwich.

And now my neighbor is singing…not well, but I have to admire his lack of giving a damn about who hears him. Plus, he borrowed his dad’s snowblower to clear out the four feet of snow from our driveway this past winter, so…Sing on, my demented neighborly friend!

Where was I? Writing, maybe? Since my last post, I think I’ve added about a page to The Open Book. Just notes, but a page of it. It’s the last chapter that doesn’t have anything written on it in story form. I believe I did also close a gap in another chapter. This book is coming along–slow but steady. Just a few missing things yet. It will get there–hopefully by my deadline so I have it in time for Steampunk unLimited. Basically, that means I’d better finish it up by the end of August…Oy….

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.