Category Archives: News

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.

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.