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.

 

“The Woman Screaming A Name” Mystery=SOLVED

Since I know everyone who read my last blog post was riveted and dying to know the answer to the ‘woman screaming a name‘ mystery, I went ahead and did some sleuthing. Lo, and behold–I figured it out. Now see–I knew it was a movie I’d watched recently, which ruled out Winona Ryder yelling “LUCY!” in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I also knew that it wasn’t Lily Cole from “The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus” yelling “ANTON!” (though I would have watched that one again, just because, as it’s one of my favorite films). I also knew (even though I have watched it recently) that it wasn’t Colin’s mother from “The Secret Garden” yelling ARCHIE!” that being because she yells it much too sweetly.

**Clearly I watch a lot of movies wherein some woman is yelling someone’s name. Makes me curious how many more have this scenario…

The winner was actually Gemma Arterton yelling “HANSEL!!!!!” in “Hansel and Gretel”. And yes, I do watch that movie now and then. So there now–we can all go to sleep tonight and for the next x# of nights until I come up with some other ridiculous mystery to solve.

I went ahead and watched that movie, followed it up with “Shade” (another good background movie and a good ‘revenge against backstabbing friends’ movie), and then “Crimson Peak”. This was my third viewing of “Crimson Peak” and I still like it at about 98%. As an authoress watching an authoress (or I suppose she would be considered a writer as she wasn’t yet published), I think how convenient it was that she got to write the story she ended up being in. How very postmodern, Mister del Toro! My greater thought to that was how very mundane my life is by comparison. Whether or not I choose to acknowledge the presence of ghosts in my world is certainly beside the point, and she had her manuscript all but done before her life began to imitate her art and vice versa–even if I started writing out the most surreal story ever (…Ahem….Twins Trilogy, thank you SO much!) it is a little disappointing that life is not quite so fantastical as this film. Close, but a little low on the factor that demands disbelief. An interesting realization in that as well. Several things this film makes me desire to do: visit and shop in antique stores (primarily for Victorian photographs), make a gown that has pearls or some other bead hanging in strands off of my shoulders, make a robe out of a super fringey piano scarf, find glasses that are more historical looking and will be stunning on me, practice writing with my fountain pen and type less, and lastly–point out to everyone how the movie bears both kinds of papillons (the kind with wings, and the kind that chases a ball and yaps).

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And, I did this today (when I should’ve been writing..).

I had this lovely pendant on a necklace for a time and wore it once or twice. I didn’t figure I’d ever wear it again, so decided it would make a nicer art piece. So, that is silk velvet for the background–coincidentally the same fabric I used to make my Little Red Riding Hood costume years back. Kind of fitting, yes??? Anyway, this wolf lady amuses the heck out of me. I’ll have to find a place to put her. Of all of the crafty things I have done in the past, using figures (frozen Charlottes and the like) and metal findings/pressed tin and brass, etc. and mixing textures to create these little pictures, has got to be my favorite. And that they are small, I can make a dozen of these and stick them on the skinny wall spaces (between doorways…) where nothing else will fit. How very Victorian of me, to be so obsessive over covering wall space!

On that note, it’s nearing 10:30pm, and I need to make better effort at getting a little more writing done today. I believe I got a page down. It’s not nothing, but I know I can do better than that!

Like, maybe two…

To focus, or not to focus

After a late morning of errands and cleaning house, I’m happy to report that both have been something of a success. I’m not thrilled, however, that in the last hour and a half, I’ve only managed to write about a page and a half. Granted, I’ve been up and down a bunch of times (getting lunch, getting chocolate, checking on the cat {who couldn’t care less, by the way}, putting lotion on my dry and burning hands, checking my eBay sales, checking Face-waste of time-book, day dreaming of very uncreative things, and altogether nothing else very important) so I’m not at all surprised that I’ve done so little. It is 3 o’clock already though, which means that I ought to get cracking and get something more written. I do believe finishing up one of my short-shorts for Patreon was on my list of things to accomplish today. That may be my best course of action at this point, just to launch myself off in a more creative direction. This feels like one of those days where I could dump out all of my Swarovski crystal bicone beads, and spend an hour or two sorting them by size and color. Not that I have a whole lot of them let, but I could get through a movie or two in that time. Which is also an idea that might not be a bad endeavor–watching a movie. I’m somewhat caught up on hearing the sound of a woman yelling someone’s name (in my head). It’s from a movie, but I cannot place which one, nor the name she’s yelling. If I at least had the name, I would be able to figure out the movie. I have considered looking through my movies to see if something jumps out at me, before moving on to watching any, but have yet to do it. Too easy? Probably. I may have to do it soon though, just to keep from being further distracted from my writing. Enough of that already! And this. Maybe I’ll write a third entry before the day is over. At least it keeps me amused.

Thought/[DIE]/”I’m on my way!”

It must have been a long week (yes, it was), because I woke up at 5:43am, went back to sleep, woke up at 7:42am, went back to sleep, and then got up just before 9am. Lots of dreams scattered throughout that up and down, one of which involved my packing to move from somewhere, and digging through boxes, repacking more efficiently, etc. I had a LOT of stuff in that dream. Lots of useless stuff too. I don’t have even a quarter of what I saw there. And yet, I woke up feeling like I should go through and purge some more. I do have a nearly full box getting ready for donation, but there must be more I can cram into it first! I know I’ve talked about it before, but the whole process of weeding out useless, non-beautiful, non-joy-bringing items from my life has been a very interesting one. Even this morning as I passed by the refrigerator, I realized that there are about 8 magnets on there that I made, that I walk past every day without really even noticing them. It’s stuff like that that throws me–do I still like to see it? Yes, because it’s witty and/or beautiful. Would I miss it if I got rid of it? Probably not. So, it sounds like I’m going to be going through my magnets today! I also have a good amount of cleaning up to do around here–vacuuming, putting away of beads and such that I cleaned out of my jewelry box a few weeks ago, into my jewelry supplies. (Another area that I go through and scrape from now and then.)

And I digress.

In another dream, I was listening to a radio talk show, wherein the hosts were interviewing Neil Gaiman. Somehow they got on the subject of creating a website name or email address or something of that nature, and Neil was trying to concentrate and come up with this name, but he was under a time constraint and there was distraction going on in the house. So he first wrote down Thought. Nothing came to him and it reached a point of great frustration, so he tagged on DIE. Whomever was in the house with him kept calling him to come out of his work space–repeatedly–and he finally added “I’m on my way!” , thus creating his address. Or so this was his explanation via my dream. Maybe someone should create some such website and have it be ‘all things Neil’.

One other dream I recall was prior to the packing dream. I had a little kitten running around with me–maybe the same one that was eating French fries a few nights ago–and we were both caught up in a place we did not want to be. At some point, this kitten (as kittens frequently do in my dreams) turned into a baby boy. And, (as babies frequently do in my dreams) he began to talk to me. I had picked him up and he had somehow (probably from crawling into the bag of fries and coat hangers), skewered himself in the head. He didn’t cry and there wasn’t any blood. I carefully removed the wire and put a cloth over it, just in case. I’m not sure why we were stuck where we were, but we had to sneak away. The other people around us noticed we were trying to leave via my car, and one woman stood behind me so I couldn’t go. I guess I’d already reached the point of being fed up with this cult of psychos, because I went ahead and put the car in reverse and hit the accelerator. I guess she moved and this baby kitten boy and I drove off into the night. I’m now sitting here thinking as I write this out, how rare it is that there are such exact details from one dream into another, days apart. I’m not sure I’ve had that happen to me in a long time. Maybe it’s from re-reading my Twins Trilogy books and working on the third one so much recently. Certainly no complaints–at least the repeating factors are ones I can deal with.

So today’s agenda (besides cleaning house and running errands) is to get back to The Open Book. I’m faced with a wide open chapter that I just have about a page of notes for, but will have to get pretty creative with in order to get it out in print. If I can accomplish that much, I’ll be thrilled. To do more would be a bonus, but one goal at a time! And, as much as I like getting on here and rambling out blog posts that are probably never read anymore, I may be back to add another one. We’ll see what I come across throughout my day. Maybe I’ll start posting pictures of random things in my possession to see if they rekindle my interest in them. It could be an interesting way to decide whether or not they move on.

Quick dream check in

I don’t have a lot of time before I have to run off to my day job, but thought I’d start this morning off with a recap of my dreams. Most of them happened shortly before my alarm went off, and as usual, they were pretty weird. (Though I shouldn’t say that–there was a lull there for a while where they were absolute rubbish and nothing to speak of!). So this was multi-laytered and involved food. I know I’ve said it before and dream food Is The Worst! Whatever possessed me to try and eat a rice crispy treat–let alone one with chocolate on it (I actually loathe those in my conscious world)–I will never know. Typically, I will only eat those if I made them. Anyhow, in the dream they were stale–really stale. They had the consistency of styrofoam and way too much butter. I can still feel the sensation of it in the back of my throat. As I recall, there was a huge array of cookies and desserts in this part of the dream. The woman who was in control of the desserts as I stood there eagerly, waiting to consume them, said something about making a fruitcake, but she didn’t call it that. I was disappointed because that sounded pretty nasty compared to what was already made…Hard to imagine after the rice crispy incident, yes? I didn’t get to really eat anything else, though I did stick my hand into a rather large paper bag full of bent up wire clothes hangers, and found that there were also some really long french fries in there. (By long, think about a foot…I can only imagine the potatoes they came from!) I barely tasted one of those, but was holding an ash colored kitten and it seemed pretty interested in eating those.

I’m not sure about the rest of the dreams, as they are fading quickly…But I’ll give it a try. I was supposed to sit down to dinner at a restaurant–across the table from my guest–and we shared the table with other people. Very European. Before I could sit down, a pregnant woman shoved in front of me and took my seat. She spent a lot of time complaining about the food. I think I wandered off without getting to any of my dinner.

The last part I recall involved being in a room with Sean Connery. He was ‘gathering’ something for me, or looking over something I’d brought for him to inspect. He had one identical in his pocket–like a trifold leather case–bigger than a wallet. Mine held… I forget. His held a notebook. I was getting impatient and had seen him put mine in his pocket. I was just going to take it but when I put my hand on it, he said “You sure  that’s yours?” I believe I said yes. But when I pulled it from his pocket, he grabbed the neck of my sweater, gave it a hard twist (and that hurt a lot!) with his angry face in mine, and at least allowed me to open it to see that it was in fact his. I shoved it back into his pocket, stated “OH! I’m Done Here!” and freed myself before storming out–without my little wallet thing. Then there was some driving at night in the rain and wet snow on the ground…Ducking into a dollar store…a Chinese market… And something about having taken on a job in ‘conflict management’. Huh. That may have been the strangest part. I was really close to taking on my first client, who happened to be a former girlfriend of an ex-husband. I’m sure we would have had an interesting conversation or two, though I wouldn’t really have wanted to waste the breath.

All this ended with trying to take care of a man who looked like Benecio del Toro. There was absolutely nothing wrong with him–physically–but he got pretty nasty when I tried to trick him into yawning. Apparently it was supposed to help him breathe or relax or something. He split off into two people and while one got up and stormed away, the other remained and just whined and complained and kept ripping off his navy blue top sheet.

So, yeah–it’s good to be up, even though I’m not really ready to start my day just yet. Stupid as all of those dreams were, they were intense and I’m tired as I sit here sipping coffee and trying to mentally prepare for my day…I may try to get some material down for The Open Book before I go, though I am at a point of having to completely write a chapter. I have some notes for it, but not much. At least, up to this point, the book has 82 pages written without any gaps. I’m getting there!

**Evening edit/addition: The Open Book actually has 164 pages written. It’s just that from the beginning, the most I have without gaps, thus far, is 82. I hope to increase that by dozens of pages by the end of this coming weekend.

Getting back into this blog thing

Since the weekend and my first ‘new blog’ post, I’ve been dedicating a good bit of time to The Open Book. After having put it off for a couple of years now, the right kind of material is starting to come, and putting forth some diligence has made it a bit easier to continue working on it as well. I think part of what got the fire going, was in realizing that The Inter-Twinning came out nearly EIGHT years ago, and The Labyrinth of Empty, seven. That’s a really long time to have a trilogy just hanging around, unfinished. I know there are several other authors out there who have done this to their readers, but as part of my integrity as an authoress, I am trying much harder now not to do that to anyone. It’s humbling enough to know that people even want to read my work at all. The least I can do is keep things rolling along and provide installments to longer stories (or a series, in this case) in a more timely manner. Thankfully, it’s only been a year and three months since the most recent book came out for The Case Files series–I have a little more breathing room to catch up. Of course, I’m writing all five of the remaining books at the same time, so one could expect that it’s going to take just a touch longer. Still, I would like to bring Book 4 to fruition sooner rather than later.

At any rate, it feels good to be back in the saddle again where this trilogy is concerned. I have lost track of what questions my readers had raised regarding the twins and their experiences, but think I am sufficiently addressing anything that might have come up. It has been a fun experience so far, in the sense that (after so many years having gone by) I’ve had to go back and reread the first two books, just to be sure I don’t miss any details for the third that might be important. Funny thing–I so perfectly set up certain moments and details that I’d forgotten about, or didn’t even realize were going to be crucial, that in writing The Open Book and while rereading the other two, things are meshing in some really stunning ways. More than once already, I’ve said to myself–out loud–“Ohhh, holy crap!! No way! This is awesome!!!” I think moments like those are what make the more tedious parts of writing a book worth while. I wish I could be a fly on the wall as my books are read by others, to see if they have the same sentiments to those moments. If you’re reading this and that does happen to you, feel free to let me know!

Over the past few months, and prior to getting back to work on The Open Book, I’ve still been writing–just nothing that is a sure thing when it comes to finishing and publishing. One of these projects is a 19-teens set story of a housemaid who takes on a position as an assistant to an eccentric, thinking she’s just going to take care of his household and such, and not traveling all over the world and hell’s half acre.  That one went along pretty impressively for a good 11+ typed 8.5×11″ pages, and then it turned into something weird. It’s on hold. Another piece I got into involved a young heiress and her family and that one also–quickly–got weird. I think that one topped off around 80 handwritten pages before I stopped. The last one is a real oddball for me–very fantastical and not my norm. There are five different types of peoples in this one, including a kind of witches, a species of bat-winged humanoids, and talking animals. Definitely not my m.o., nor somewhere I wanted to explore in the literary world (normally, that sort of thing bores me to tears–sorry about that!), but a pretty bizarre dream kicked that one off and I wrote until I couldn’t write anymore. 8.5×11″ pages, typed=18 pages as a result. I may finish that one at some point, just because it is so strange and I think the cover art would be fun. I also think it could gain some mileage by being illustrated. Who knows? With enough nudging and interest, I might put forth more effort on it and let it to you all.

A Potagerie of Rejects was coming together nicely. It’s up to 117 pages thus far, and will gain another 10 at the least. I think my plan for it was to let it run until the end of August and whatever there was of it, was where I would stop, edit, and release as soon as it was ready. That’s still a pretty good plan, I think. I know of about 3 pieces I would like to finish for it, and then whatever else develops between now and the cut off. It’s a weird one. I think it will be a good book for when you just have a minute or two to read something, as opposed to my longer books that suck you in and the next thing you know, it’s morning. Not that have any problem with that kind of response!

A thought on future book-related events that I had today: I haven’t applied for either the new version of Wicked Faire or the Steampunk World’s Fair, even though they sent out their alerts a while ago already, and I probably won’t. In addition to there just being no funds to front some pretty high fees (and never making back my expenses in sales), I realized while thinking about this today, that it’s just not fun anymore. When I go to a show and sell, and that is all I am there to do, it’s no longer about my writing–it’s about begging for a buck. And the only one who (strictly in theory) gets anything out of it (not counting the event), is me–or at least, I’m supposed to. That’s not why I write. This sort of operation goes really harshly against my grain as an Authoress. If that was all that mattered to me, I’d take the abuse of approaching all the publishing houses out there, rather than self-publishing at my leisure and with full control over my projects. If I am going to show my face at a show–books in hand–and expect people to buy them, well, then I certainly hope to offer a whole lot more! I should be speaking at events–whether that means I’m doing readings, speaking on panels regarding writing and the process, or holding writing workshops. I can no longer swallow the idea of standing behind a table for 3 days to peddle, without a least one of those other three factors being present. Granted, the Steampunk Farmer’s Market isn’t the sort of show to have those factors, but it’s also a one-day event, and people will stop and talk to me about my books because it is their one shot at it. They won’t have 3 days to become overstimulated and mill around like non-commital zombies, who are overwhelmed and don’t give a damn about what I’ve bled, sweated and cried over. At least the Steampunk unLimited event holds readings. There, I have a fighting chance. That all being said, I will be a lot more particular over the shows I choose to be a part of. It is unfortunate that so many other shows have fallen from my grace, because I do love the travel and talking to people. But again–I don’t want the only thing I’m focused on saying to patrons is ‘Buy my book‘ with a desperate, pathetic look on my face, because the event didn’t bother to promote my being there. I think we all have a lot more to share in a conversation. Besides, my books should sell themselves, as I know they can.

I think that’s it for now. More to come, so please send the inspirational juju and let’s see about a new book baby by Autumn!

Welcome Back!

After some technical difficulties, I’m back up and running again.

Some new things on the horizon:

I will be at the Steampunk Farmer’s Market in New Freedom, PA on August 28th.

I will also be at Steampunk unLimited in Strasburg, PA in mid-October.

Anthology, A Potagerie of Rejects is still in the works and still slated for an Autumn release.

I have been steadily working on Book Three in The Twins Trilogy–The Open Book–for the past two weeks and have made significant progress with it. I’m still hoping for an Autumn release on this one as well (preferably in time for the Steampunk unLimited event!) There are some other related happenings with this trilogy that I will talk about once I have it sorted. Know that I’m pretty excited about the prospects.

That’s it for the moment. Definitely more to come soon!