Monday, October 25, 2010

A change of tactics

With NaNoWriMo a scant eight days away, I've made an agonizing choice: I've decided not to write Joan's story.
 Last night I wasn't able to sleep and so, as usual, I lay awake thinking about my stories. I began to stress over Joan's tale because I've never written a historical fiction before, and the fact that I had so little of her story mapped out. In short I felt very unprepared and slightly hysterical.
 At the same time an old story idea I had last February started to come back to me. Perhaps some of you remember The Stolen Word(working title)? It never quite took off for me. I mean, I loved the idea and everything, but something was lacking.... until last night. Ideas for plots, cultures, characters, etc. haven't stopped flowing! I am completely pulling away from my first rather weak aims and going for a much wider scope of things; creating a more elaborate world and people.
 I started off with two MCs, Trent{I'm not sure about his name... Thoughts?} and Senira, planning to just have them carry the plot. But all of a sudden, this rebellious princess shows up named Natiri. I have no idea what part of my mind she came from, but I rather like her! Granted, she needs an attitude adjustment, but hey presto! character development!
 Natiri is of the Sea Folk and therefore, like all her kind, has a love for pretty things. Which brings me to my next bit...

 i love it.
 each piece is just so beautiful!
"Natiri wears a circlet of seaglass and silverwire to show her status and rank." Senira whispered to Trent. He nodded. Then asked, "What is her rank?"
{possible story piece}

I most definitely will be drawing these characters sometime in the near future. When exactly? I'm not sure. Things continually crop up and get in the way of any progress I might wish to make story-wise. Like today the farrier is coming to clip the horses' feet and it's my job to catch them and hold them, etc. I only hope that in November I'll be able to.... hey, maybe I should just buy a lock for my door. Hmmm. I like that. ;)
 Well, we'll just have to see how everything goes.

Still flying by the seat of my pants,

*seaglass pictures do not belong to me.

Friday, October 22, 2010

A favorite quote of mine

I plan on taking a photo of perhaps my hand writing with a quill pen and putting this quote on it and having it printed so I can hang it on my wall. A lovely reminder of adventures yet to be had between the pages of a note book, don't you think?
 Do you have a favorite or inspiring writer's quote?

Monday, October 18, 2010

A month of madness

Well, I've done it. I finely taken the plunge after two weeks of silent debating back and forth.
 I signed up for National Novel Writing Month. I am now an official participant! And I'm pretty excited :D
It's my first ever year - missed last year by two weeks, darn it! - and I refuse to be daunted by all the horror stories, like, plot bunnies being devoured by ravenous dead chapters, writer's block plague, and all the many other afflictions that beset noble writers in their quests for the 50k. If there are any of those brave writers reading now, click here to visit my profile and feel free to befriend me fellow Nanners!

I've already come up with a basic story idea, though I'm going to have to put a lot of research into it. But here's the novel cover and blurb:

Yup! Joan of Arc is my new protagonist! I'm very excited to get to know her next month. Why Joan? you may ask. Well, the truth of it is I've admired her for her great faith and courage, but one thing that has bothered me about all the books I've read on her is that they are so insensitive to what she must have been feeling. Oh sure they'll talk about her bravery and honesty. But what about her fears?? I want to scream at them. Her loves? Her misgivings? After all, she was human, wasn't she? Of course! *breathe*
 Now you have a good idea why I've chosen Joan for my first NaNo. I'm afraid I don't have any excerpts or other tid bits to share with you all at the mo., but I'll stick some up as November immanently approaches.

I've seen that other NaNo veterans have survival kits and have taken their advice and put together my own. If you think I'm missing something go ahead and tell me! Any tips and advice are very welcome!

NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

1. Notebooks; fresh, new lined pages in bindings of all sizes scattered throughout my room for jotting down ideas, historical tips, etc. As well as one large one for the actual story writing.
2. My computer, Newton; for word counting, uploading, and editing generally.
3. Pilot gel pens by the dozens! I seem to write fastest and best with black gel ink for some inexplicable reason.
4. Athletic tape; for taping up my fingertips. I have a bad habit of biting my nails when ever I write
5. Chocolat! 'nuff said.
6. Tea. Nothing inspires the writer in me like a cup of old fashioned tea.
7. A clean room; free from distractions and with a lamp shedding warm light in the corner.
8. My Joan of Arc movie to keep the plot going in the right direction
9. A thesaurus - always a good idea to have laying about
10. Reference photos of clothes, weapons, housing, etc of the period. {I'v never gone in for the 1400's till now, choosing the 1100s - 1200s and Renaissance eras over the bubonic ages, so my knowledge is rather limited during that time}
11. Music. Lots and lots of music. Probably with wood winds and fiddles and maybe even bag- or ulian{or ulleann} pipes to set the mood.
12. Gloomy weather; when I'm not tempted to avoid writing by going outside{it's going to be a big problem if the weather is nice} 

So there's that! I think it's rather obvious that through next month I probably won't be posting much. I will try though! And I'll be sure and post some excerpts and other fun things as I go along. But is anyone else here participating in NaNo? I would love to hear from you!

Must dash now!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On cloud nine

I'm joining in Carlotta's new photo blog hop On Could Nine with this photo...

 It's simple: Post a photo of something that makes you joyful, exuberant, or warms the heart, and then explain as to why you chose that photo.
 I think it's easy to tell with mine. :)
 To me this picture is just so cozy and inviting. And as the weather gets a little more chilly every day, it becomes more so; beckoning you to come in from the cold and curl up in front of the fireplace, a good read nestled in your lap, and all your work done for the day. Sigh. That would be cloud nine for me.

Join the other cloud dancers

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The day I felt fancy

The following is the account of my grand day yesterday at the 10th and last annual Presidential Sculpture Unveiling.  {As you may already know my brother and I as well as my friend Luseach* were to play lobby music.}

My day began early in the morning. I stumbled half asleep down the hall to my parents bedroom where Mum curled my hair; the first step to my rather dramatic transformation from the groggy, tousle-haired morning me, to the poshed** up musician that followed two hours later when we arrived at the theatre.
 The car ride there was long, so I made the most of it by sleeping most of the way.
*I translated her name for privacy purposes
**British informal word: stylish, upper classy, etc.

The theatre was done-up with all sorts of patriotic things for the day, bulletins and presidential brochures were handed out at the door.
Feeling a bit over done, we unpacked our instruments only to find that the theatre had no place set up for us. It was three minutes till we had to start. We scrambled to the manager's office and he sent one of the staff to get us chairs. We waited but she soon returned chair-less. They apparently had been moved to heaven knows where.
 At five past nine we had finely tracked down someone who knew where the chairs were and set up, beginning the song almost before we had adjusted the music stands.
 Not to brag or anything, but I think we were fantastic! {says modest me ;)} At least for pulling it together in two days, not bad at all.

The ceremony was grand in itself, and slightly emotional for the president of... well, the presidents project, it being the last real unveiling and all. Yes, it was nice to listen to the speakers and sculptors{my Da included} talk about the newest stationary members. But afterwards I shall remember always. Afterwards was the VIP Presidents-associated people only dinner at a five star hotel, complete, may I add, with foreign waiters.
 For someone used to going to steakhouses the elegant chandeliers, white linen tablecloths, and waiters with accents{I could listen to them talk all day}, it knocked me sideways! Don't think I don't like the rustic ranch restaurants we usually visit, heaven's above no! I love the atmosphere there! But this, this was something completely different. And the food was so beautiful and carefully made..! Of course I snuck pictures, even though the dark-haired lady gave me several disapproving looks. She probably thought I'd never been to such a place. Which of course is true.

Dinner was three courses(!) First, a light appetizer of french bread and garlic butter, and lemon water{above}. I admit that because I had had no breakfast I consumed five pieces of bread and three glasses of water. I would have eaten more bread but Mum said I had to share with my brothers.
 I was hungry!

Second was the main. Gourmet tender steak {which I didn't care for. Meat should taste like meat, not plants} and a whole lot o' salad. How ever much I may hate eating greens, in the spirit of experiencing new things I bathed the leaves in Italian dressing and gave it the heave-ho. On reflection, I should have realized that they would have made the dressing fancy in some way and that I should have tasted a tad before sticking a forkful of saturated foliage in my mouth. But I didn't and therefore the taste I faced was not the tangy make-your-mouth-tingle taste I love that comes from plastic bottles, but the strong bitter flavor of white wine. It was so strong that I could actually feel my sinuses clearing. What an awful surprise. Especially to someone who has just plucked up courage to eat salad after years of refusing its dreadful leafy bits.

 After that unfortunate event and the main course was over coffee was served. *angel chorus* What delicio café it was too! Yumyumyumyumyum! I cannot drink plain house coffee, I just can't. But if it comes from a coffee shop or some place like this *sighs*. There are just certain things in this world that are set high above their kinds. Food: Çhocolat  Animal: Horse  Drink: Coffee  :)
I like my café best with about a third cream and two table spoons sugar or even black with honey.
I love this photo, by the way. Doesn't it just look so warm and cozy? Perfect for the chilly autumn days ahead.

 *Takes deep breath* And then there was dessert. *needs another deep breath* 
Okay, I am not a food person{though I do have a sweet tooth}. At all. If I could survive I would probably go days without eating because I simply don't care for food. But this..! Dessert was just so beautiful! This was my Mum's Cremé Brulé. She let me taste it. It's like the best vanilla pudding on the planet with a crunchy, sugary, caramel-y top. 

I got about two and a half cups of the richest apple cobbler ever. The cinnamon alone was to die for! And as an artistic touch they spiraled caramel over it. I'm making myself hungry now.

My younger brother had apple cobbler too, and my older one had chocolat cake, which he described as like a muffin -- but not!
 Oookay... Moving on!

 Having artistry in the blood, us children of course took the opportunity to 'play with our food'. This is Older Brother's plate. Sadly, I had no chocolate sauce to draw with.

All too soon the glamorous party dinner came to an end, alas. But I shall always have fond memories of my first really fancy dinner. The whole thing was a little surreal; I kept thinking that in a few hours I'd be back in my blue jeans seeing to Roanie, cleaning her feet and applying smelly ointment to the sores on her belly and back where the flies ferociously gather, knowing their pathetic days are numbered.
 It was like for two hours I was two very different people. Kind of a fun sensation. :)

 Now it is Sunday night and yesterday already feels so long ago. But if there's one thing I learned yesterday{besides taste gourmet things with caution} it's that you don't always have to be outdoors to experience an adventure.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Behind The Curtain and other works of art

My goodness I've been busy! And stressed. It's no good starting from the beginning because, quite frankly, I don't know when that was. So I'll say this, about a week ago I was asked by Da who was asked by the board of the City of Presidents{a sculpture event in which my Da is one of the artists} if my older brother and I would play the introduction music for the last Unveiling{we've run out of presidents, you see}. Of course I said yes, as it is rather a big deal, but did not realize at the time that the Unveiling is Saturday. As in this Saturday.
 My brother is rendered useless at organizing anything because of his college studies, so it was all down to me. I immediately dove into our deepest music stores in search of patriotic type pieces but all I came across was celtic, celtic, and more celtic.
 I guess there is a downside to pursuing one form of music so thoroughly.
But at last I found five good ole' songs that were old enough to suit my tastes{1800's} and very American. I also enlisted the help of my extremely-talented-in-everything-including-music friend to play second harmony on the violin. It seemed we were saved. Until Monday. It was then that Da informed me we were to play for thirty minutes. I had barely enough music for fifteen. Aah.
 I'm still scrabbling to pull things together in time for Saturday, but amidst all this I found time to unwind an create my latest best artwork.
{Sorry for the poor picture quality, something went wrong...}
This was intended as a portrait of my character Cilla in her younger years {maybe at age nine or ten}  when she still belonged to the group of bards, jesters, performers, etc. {I have yet to name them appropriately}. I tried to portray how things really were behind the masks, makeup, lights, and curtains. The truth was that the life of any entertainer was hard and unforgiving, no matter their age; though their music and acts may suggest a carefree life.
 I tried to really bring out the contrasts of what you see on stage {the makeup and glitter} and the actual reality {the patched and threadbare clothes, cheap brass jewelry, and sad eyes}.
 I don't know how well I succeeded, but there you have it.

 Next is just a relatively simple sketch, yet I am pleased with it beyond sane reason. You see, it's my first ever decent horse with it's head down! It's grazing and it looks natural!! *yells for joy* At last!

I have also started yet another story. I know you must be thinking, "Gwyn get ahold of yourself!" because I am too.  Yes, I know I have yet to finish one story, but still... Let's just say I've always had a weakness for new story ideas -- I can't let them go by!
 This one I hope won't be very long so I'll probably post it here *when* I finish it :)

{For lack of anywhere to post a picture of a holy potato I post it here.}
I was peeling potatoes the other day for a stew when looky here! It's the Mother and Child! I should have put it on eBay and made a fortune, but instead I snapped this photo and then finished peeling. In short, we ate the hundred million dollars I could have made off the same guy who bought the piece of toast with what looks like Jesus' portrait burnt on it.
Apparently there's one of Mary too{right}

 Oh, well.

I hope you've enjoyed my rather strange post.
 I must go now to do battle with Sir Algebra and then rejoin Sir Gawain on his quest to defeat the Green Knight. Onward!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Photo woes

Over at my photography blog something has gone terribly wrong -- so wrong I have to either delete it and start a new one... or I could just post all my photos on this blog. I'm having trouble which to decide, so if you would, please vote!

Coming tomorrow, I post on why I've been away! I'll give you a hint: it has to do with pencils, pens, and paper.


Friday, October 1, 2010


I sit here, with my cup of Olde World raspberry tea, and just think. Of what my life is, and what it could be in future.

 For a long time I have nursed the dream of one day having my own farm, but only recently - usually while I'm out walking - have I imagined it in any sort of detail.
 I've always wanted a giant piece of land to call home, saying I would settle for no less than one hundred acres, but now I see that as quite an unrealistic sum for someone who wishes to run a farm single-handed. To begin with I would be quite happy I'm sure with as little as twelve. As long as it is a good mile or four from other people.
 I am no lover of 'development'.
 I'm a lover of open country and clear skies completely unobstructed by ghastly buildings man creates in order to "make a name for themselves". Granted, a few of those structures are in a way beautiful. But they are never home.

I want my own home to be somewhat like my present one where the meadow lark sings its sweet golden tune from dawn till dusk and the sky has no limits.
This is my dream...
 A little blue farm house with a porch in the middle of my land, and an old but sizable barn a short distance from it. Around the barn would be the pens and shelters for the two horses, milk cow, four goats, several chickens, and the pig that I would have.
 A large garden fills the backyard next to the clothes line, all sorts of vegetables quietly growing away under the vast prairie sky. A small apple orchard lines the road down to the mail box. Perhaps there's a stream nearby as well - it is only a dream after all.
 I would of course have to have at least two dogs to keep me company through the long winter. The winter is probably the only time I would be able to write, given that I would have to keep my animals and garden going through the summer, not mentioning the regular and essential chores one must do every day.
 Writing is of course where I would get all this money to afford a farm in the first place. You see, by then my books will be finished and published. At first they will struggle along on back shelves at bookstores, but one day they will be discovered by some big publishing giant and the rest is future history... *wink* {Right. Let's see me actually sit down and finish one book first.}

The whole thing is just the product of and overactive and perhaps even overly-optimistic imagination. Some might call it a silly girlish dream. But whoever calls farm work a girlish dream clearly has never participated in it. I am a girl, true, and this is my dream, but I am in no way a girly-girl. The very word causes me to gag as pictures of pink clad Barbie-like figures dance across my mind's eye, leaving a trail of sparkles behind.
{Mini rant aside}
And somewhere... out there... my dream of owning a Canon Rebel may come true too.
 All I have to do to make that dream a reality is stumble upon about seven hundred dollars. And without a paying job.... well, they say something you must wait a long time for. A long, long time for.

"Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you
dare to dream
do come true.

 Well, it's been wonderful dreaming about my future, but what about yours?