Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dreaming of a Goal

This seems to be the time of year when we all reflect upon what we have done in the past year and what we are going to do in the current one. A friend expanded this and blogged about where she wanted to be in 2020. That’s nine years from now.

In nine years my daughter will be in 9th grade (Year 10) and my son in 7th grade (Year 8). Yikes! That means I’ll be getting hit with one in Middle School and one in High School. What I’m doing at that point will largely depend upon what my kids want to be doing. Of course that doesn’t mean I can’t set my own goals for nine years from now.

But I do have a long term goal: Turn my writing into a second career so that when I retire from the day job, I won’t really be retired, but have a portable career that will supplement my retirement savings to allow me to give to the charities closest to my heart, spend quality time with family and travel (hopefully by motorcycle).

Quite the goal huh? I’m not sure if it’s measurable, concise, or has a real deadline, but that’s the dream. I have other things I want to do, but they are sitting (like perform in the Nutcracker) until my children get older and don’t need me as much (as if! *giggles*).

Phoenixes of Vervell by Gabriel Morrison
So this next year I’m focusing more on my writing. Last year, saw me begin to revise and edit in a way I never have before. I plan on doing even more editing and polishing of my Phoenixes of Vervell in 2012.

Yes, beyond the two collaborations I have going, my main goal for 2012 is to revise the Wholawski out of my trilogy. Sarah’s Phoenix needs to be aligned with Phoenix Rising and Phoenix Triumphant, and Skathains replaced with Arenians. Then I want feedback from beta readers and a critique group. After another edit, I’ll start submitting in the traditional method. *nervous nail chewing*

I know, I’ve been reading a lot of Indie publishing blogs. And I’m not discounting that route at all. In fact, I suspect I’ll end up wandering down that path anyway. But, after a bit of soul searching, I’ve decided that part of my journey to becoming an author needs to include an attempt at traditional publishing (aka rejection).

Right now I’m in a place where I don’t need the income from selling books and my dream has been to see my books on the shelves of a bookstore. Don’t worry, I won’t wait forever to get my final acceptance (or take a predatory contract *shudder*). Seeing my books in a bookstore is the stretch goal; the bottom line is to be published and to continue being published.

I’ve got these stories in my head and I want to share them with more than just my immediate family, or even my extended family. I’m thinking the world! (Or at least those people in the world who want to hear about ordinary females doing extraordinary things and discovering that love surrounds them.) *grin*

Now back to work editing Phoenix Triumphant. *wink*

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Saucy Holiday

Inspired by some Holiday Cheer over at We Wanted to be Writers, I decided to share one of my holiday recipes. I promise you’ll be able to understand it the whole way through as there are absolutely no bottles of alcohol involved. :}

Now get ready and gather up; 2 cups (or 8 ounces) of Roe berries, 1 cup of sugar, 1 orange, and ground cloves, oh and make sure you have water on hand, you’ll need that too. If you can’t find Roe berries in your grocery store don’t fret.

Harvesting Cranberries on  Cape CodRoeberries are Cranberries, harvested from the Family Bogs on Cape Cod. My great grandpa Roe called them barrels of Gold and I never make my sauce without them. They just taste better than Ocean Spray and it’s like thumbing your nose at the company that put the independent growers out of business until this whole organic thing came about.

So, now that you know the importance of where your berries come from let’s sort them. Don’t worry it’s easy. Ripe berries bounce. (They float too, but water picked berries are only good for juice because they spoil too quickly.) Now, unless you want your berries all over the room I suggest bouncing them in a pot with high walls. You’d be surprised at the bounce the ripe ones have. If they go splat (yick), toss them out the window! Let nature compost them.

Once your berries are sorted, add them, the sugar, and 1 cup of water to a nice 6 quart pot. The more room above the water line, the better, unless you love having sticky red sauce splattered about the room. Who knows, it could be the next rage in Christmas decoration. You only want the tiniest amount of cloves, it’s a strong spice, I’d say no more than 1/8 teaspoon or it will over power the cranberries.

Now, we’ll get the pot set over high heat on the stove to get it boiling while we mutilate the orange.  What you want to do is slice it in half so you can scoop out the yummy sections (without any skin) to plop into the pot. Just treat the orange as if you were eating grapefruit, only feed it to the sauce, which ought to be boil at this point.

It’s time to turn down the heat, set the time and relax. But don’t relax too much you’ll want to stir the pot every now and again. The timer should be set for about 20 minutes. You know the sauce is done when the berries are all popped (listen, you can hear them) and the sauce is a nice gravy consistency.

And Voila! You now have about 2 and a half cups of Cranberry Sauce for a feast. It’s yummy, it’s easy, so who are you going to serve it too?

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Feeding an Addiction

I have a confession to make. I’m an addict. My drug of choice? Books. And I’m going to feed that addiction buy buying books with my blood money.

Okay, so according to Wikipedia addiction can be a continued involvement with an activity despite the negative consequences. For me those would be:
  • Making meals gets forgotten (made worse when I snack while reading)
  • I stay up way too late, causing exhaustion
  •  My hubby (and kids) tend to feel abandoned

And all because I might as well be inside the book because that’s how hard it can be to take me away from it. Although, given that I’ve stopped reading books, it’s probably not a true addiction. Still it felt that way for a while, but now I think I can moderate my reading so it’s time to start reading all these good books I’ve been hearing about.

And to get those books, I’m going to use my blood money. No, I haven’t turned assassin or anything like that. It’s actually all completely legal and arrives via paycheck (complete with taxes taken out) from my day job. You see, my company uses blood as part of the release testing of product before it can be sold. To obtain the blood they need they set up a blood donation program; which compensates the participants. It’s not much money, but given I’m getting an e-reader for Christmas and the price of e-books, it will be plenty.

I will also be trying to save some of that blood money to fund my publishing costs, when I get to that point. But, since I keep hearing that to be a writer you have to read, I thought I ought to start fitting that into my schedule. The most difficult question?

What will I read first?

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I’ve got the Post NaNoWriMo Blues

“Writing a novel is like giving birth to a baby, complete with post-novel-ing depression” – me spoken to my husband.

Yes, NaNo is over and though by the end I was done fed up with writing about Rachael and her crew (they went everywhere without trying to forward the plot), I do miss them. But it is time to set them aside and get back to work on my other projects. I have three, writing ones that is. I also need to prepare for Sunday School (on Sunday) and Girl Scouts on Monday. Why’d I become a Co-leader? Oh right, because if no one stepped forward my daughter wouldn’t have a troop and she really wanted to be a Girl Scout. But back to my writing...

The first project is, of course, Phoenix Triumphant. Unfortunately, I’m having trouble getting back into it. It’s getting easier, especially after reading the comments from its biggest fans who were all dancing with joy upon reading the first chapter posted after NaNo. I would never have gotten nearly as far, nor had the drive to really take it to the next level if it wasn’t for those girls.

My second project, and I know at least one blog reader will be jumping with joy, is Faerie Bound. Beware if you click that link, the story is over 200 chapters long and you have to go back and forth between two stories to get the full picture. My mother stayed up till 3 am reading it. Anyway I know Morgan is excited to get back to it. I’m sure Ash will be as well. Those are characters, by the way, but my co-conspiring authors are Moonwalker, SpookOfNight and Anna’s. Anna’s been a little recluse lately, having hit the hard years of school, but I’m hoping she can help even if she doesn’t have time to write from Mike’s perspective.

And my last writing project is The Prisoner, which I blogged about in August of this year. For this one I have Moonwalker (again) and Burndtree. We’ve each taken on the role of one of the characters to write for and decided that giving them genders would make it so much easier. Jordan is a female, spoiled brat, teen. Peyton is a male, adventurer for hire, adult. And Riley is a scrappy senior sorceress. That’s going to be a fun cast to work with don’t you think?

I also think I‘ll take a break at some point next year and finish my Dragon Queen costume. Perhaps I’ll make it my birthday present for myself so I won’t hit the OMG I have to make costumes for the kids deadline.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It’s NaNovel Update Number 5!

Here we are on the last day, Day 30 of NaNoWriMo and I have written “The End” on my story!

First, we have the FINAL Statistics:

Total Word count:  81,202
Total Page Count:  275
Total Time Spent:  60.39 hours
Average Words per minute:  23
Average Pages per hour:  5

Second, we have the Write-Ins:

Yes, I FINALLY made it to the write-in in Columbia, like I’ve always wanted. It was good. I got in over 5,000 word written and though I didn’t win any word wars, I did get some word counts up in the top spots. And, as I said I did finish the novel while there. It was cool and I am sad I won’t be going to the TGIO party; however I can’t be too sad because it’s my hubby's company party and they throw awesome bashes!

Lastly, we have my notes

So let’s see... I’ve got one revolution started... a load of illegal Transium shipped of planet in exchange for weapons for the revolutionaries. One ancient general who’s changed sides to help the ones he once suppressed. Have I finished the revolution? Nope, maybe next year... or whenever I actually turn The Nueri into a real novel, or series... It’s pretty haphazard right now. Anyway, let’s see if I can get some sort of quote for you.

Here we have Rachael playing mind games with the psychologist Michael’s father (Ivan) hired to try to prove she is crazy so he can fire her. Yeah... I don’t think so Ivan. ;}

“Do you know anything about Vidal?” Rachael asked as she spun in the seat the woman had provided. “it’s a very intriguing drink you know.”
You with to talk about the drink that is the most expensive of the 18 planets?” Alison asked, as she took notes upon her tablet.
“Yes, I think it explains a lot of things. Like, Michael for instance.”
“And how is Michael explained by Vidal?”
“Well you see,” Rachael stated, “Vidal is made from this one particular plant, the Vidallia, that grown ONLY on the twin sun planet system of Terillax Nine.”
“Alright so, Michael is grown here on Beta Vegas Five?”
“Well he was born of one man under very specific condition here on Beta Vegas five. But it doesn’t just stop there.” Rachael stopped spinning to look at Alison. “You see, he’s like Vidal in that he has a duplicity. One side will kill you and the other a mild mannered man. But it’s the side that will kill you I find most thrilling, just as in Vidal it’s it the D that will ive you death, but also tastes the best upon the tongue.”
“I’m not sure I follow...” Alison stated and Rachael leaned forward to look into the woman’s eyes. She smirked.
“You really don’t know do you?” Rachael sat back and laughed. “Oh this is so precious.”
“Cut the crap Rachael,” Alison stated. “You and I know what happened in the past your being as difficult now as you were then.
“See then that means I haven’t changed.’ Rachael did another spin, reveling in the power she currently held now. “He asked you to find me insane didn’t he?”
“You are insane.”
“No, I beg to different,” Rachael smiled. “You see I’m completely sane as I can be. I know exactly what I am doing and I have control. I’m not the one expecting this counseling session to be anything different than what it was before. If you do then that means you’re the one who is insane. Isn’t that the text book definition?”
“No,” Alison stated flatly.
“No, that’s right that’s a literary reference you probably wouldn’t get. Pity I can’t say whose quote that is as they passed away long before the record were backed up and we lost a lot of names to the great computer glitch.”
“The computer glitch is a child’s fantasy to explain the origin of the faster than light drive.”
“Tell that to the Trekkies or the Star Wars fans. Have you seen a millennium flacon today?”
“Enough!” Alison’s voice rose in pitch and Rachael knew she’d hit home.
“Look, you best get out of here, as fast as the ship that brought you in can take you.” Rachael once more leaned forward. “I think you know the dangerous life I like to lead and the line I’m probably going to walk and cross.”
“If you mean you’re going to go planet side and look for Nueri....”
“Oh but I’ve already been down there, spent the happiest portion of my life there. But, Ivan doesn’t remember does he? Oh no, his mind is slowly degrading from overuse of Deep Sleep.” Rachael smiled. “Oh yes, he’s on that drug. He has a son over one hundred years old... Tell me Alison.” Rachael brought her face next to the councilor. “Ever been with a woman before?”

And what about you, my readers, how are you doing? And are your NaNovels done?

:} Cathryn Leigh {:

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

It’s NaNovel Update Number 4!

Well we’re heading down that long slippery slope to the end, it’s Day 23 of NaNoWriMo!

First, we have the Statistics:

Total Word count:  56,607
Total Page Count:  192
Total Time Spent:  42.50 hours
Average Words per minute:  21
Average Pages per hour:  4

Second, we have the Write-Ins:

Well this week, rather than the family or work getting in the way of my Writing-In, it was my own health. Yes the, since you’re doing NaNo and got a flu shot (okay that may or may not be a factor in this), you’re going to get sick has hit me. Last year it was a twenty-four hour bug and no real biggie. This year – Pneumonia – yes that lovely chest infection took me by storm Sunday night and on Monday night went to the doctors, was prescribed three medications and told to stay home until 11/24 (Thanksgiving Day). Well Phooey. *pout*

Lastly, we have my notes

I’ve finally introduced my last main character. I know it seems a little late in the book to do so, but this puppy won’t be done when it’s done. It’ll be more like a purposeful To Be Continued... If I write the thing right, Rachael and her ‘crew’ may become my serialized fiction novellas. She seems to like that idea, and so does the rest of the cast.

Now on to our excerpt for the week. This one comes from something I wrote today. Michael’s memory block that has kept his Nueri half from his Human half separate has been removed. Poor guy is two in one. Makes for an interesting write. On second thought we’re going to make it two. Rachael wants to brag about her kids. :}

Rachael clicked off the communication unit. Michael was not going to be happy about this, if her and Traverse’s son had survived. What a wacked out family she had. More whack out than her own family had been when she was growing up. At least all but her had been normal humans. Now she was married to a Nueri, had a Nueri daughter, had an affair with a Pirate and born an aborted baby who’d been sold to the cyborg program. No she definitely didn’t put that past Traverse’s father to have done so.
On the plus side, she smiled, her kids had balls. One was leading a revolution that she thoroughly supported and the other had given the UCPA a big F* you by tracking down his parents. No child, donated to the cyborg program was ever allowed to know where they came from. They were supposed to grow up in their own family loyal to the scientist that raised them. She highly suspected that half those scientist hadn’t any clue on how to raise a child. Then again neither did she. Probably better for both her kids to have been raised by someone else. Though who knew, maybe she’d have figured it out before she completely messed up. Still, Rachael reeled her thoughts in, they weren’t namby pamby kids. They grabed their destiny by the balls and shook it. That was reason enough for her to be proud of them, even if she’d never had a hand in raising them.

Now that the glowing mother has had her turn; let’s peek at Michael’s duplicity, despite the fact he is asking me not to.

Michael slept in the blissful silence of darkness until a gentle shake woke him.
“How’s the head?’ Rachael’s voice tickled his ear.
“Still horrid,” Michael groaned as he rolled to one side. His head still pounded, though not quite as bad as before. He could use a serious neck massage though.
“Here,” she handed him a pill and some water, “take this; Mom’s cure for migraines. We’ve got to lift off in four hours or we’ll be late.”
“Late for what?” Michael asked as he sat up to take the medication.
“Rendezvous with the good Senator to pick up my wayward son.”
“Who?” Michael was still puzzled. His memory was seriously foggy.
“I’ll explain more once we’re on board. The surgery’s probably taken a bit out of you. Medications still wearing off and such.”
Rachael helped him into a ships suit after carefully taking all the IVs and sensors off his body.
“You know for a hospital supposed to be the best, that was a little archaic.” She shook her head and then took his hand. “How’s the head now?”
“Better actually,” Michael felt surprised.
“Probably should have taken out the IV first, who knows what they were doping you up with.” She laughed slightly. “Good thing I know who to make friends with, I think they wanted to keep you for studying.”
“I think I’ve had a life time worth or more of  being studied,” Michael stated harshly.
“I know love,” Rachael embraced him with a kiss. She pulled back into his eyes. “I know,” she whispered.
Her eyes spoke of memories and times gone by, of the things they’d done and didn’t. He saw images of his own past reflected in them, testing, drugging, torture, and he nearly collapsed.
“S---t,” the swear came to her lips as easy as love, “Come on let’s get you to the ship before that temporary block totally dissolves.” She straightened him up and brushed him off. “Come on and follow my lead.”
The halls were quite and Rachael walked through them with confidence. Michael followed trying to imitate the bravado she seemed to ooze, probably not making as much of a go at it given his head still felt like shit. S---t? Since when did she start swearing?
Since you let me out, a little voice responded.
Who are you? his mind wanted to know.
Your other self, the one that’s been blocked from you.
Michael shook his head trying to jumble his thoughts back into one. He wasn’t two people. He was one person, who happened to have the annoying problem of being Nueri.
But it’s not a problem, that little voice came back, it’s a boon.
“How the...” Michael clamped his mouth shut as Rachael looked back at him. He internalized the dialog again as they exited the hospital. How the hell is it a boon?
If you weren’t Nueri you would never have met her, never have had a child, and Transium would drive you crazy.
I killed my wife and child! Michael felt like he was exploding.
Elizabeth is there before you, can’t you see her, she’s leading you to safety.
“Ah, right on time,” Rachael interrupted his internal dialog.
They were a good distance away from the hospital now and had been walking down the street arm in arm, Michael wasn’t sure when that happened. But, as they got to the next corner a car pulled up and stopped. Rachael opened the door and pulled Michael in with her. Neither voice said anything in his head as the car pulled away.

And what about you, my readers, how are you doing? And how are your NaNovels going?

:} Cathryn Leigh {:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

It’s NaNovel Update Number 3!

All right we’ve gotten over the midway hump and we’re now at Day 17 of NaNoWriMo!  

First, we have the Statistics:

Total Word count:  42,805
Total Page Count:  146*
Total Time Spent:  34.55 hours
Average Words per minute:  20
Average Pages per hour:  4

*by the way, I’ve got my pages set up with double spacing, that why the page count might look a little high. I’m planning on printing this for editing by hand, rather than the electronic method I’ve been using for Phoenix Triumphant.

Second, we have the Write-Ins:

Well the family and my husband’s work have been conspiring against me. Still after a failed attempt at making it to the local library on last Wednesday I made it last night! I even found a fellow Writer there, trying to make up for lost days. I averaged 28 words per minute in the hour I was there, so I’d say it was successful. Still hoping to get to one of the big Write-In’s that happen closer to my work.

Lastly, we have my notes

Okay, so Light Speed is pretty slow when you have to travel 1,000 light years. I’ve discovered some interesting things about space travel. There’s a lot, and I mean A LOT of time spent twiddling your thumbs. Thankfully Rachael has an over a million books on file and has Michael to translate some of the more ancient works written by me, Miriam and Spook in the 21st Century A.D. Remember Rachael and company are living in the 41st Century A.C. (After Colonization).

I have gotten around to introducing Michael’s half-brother, Kron, and Rachael and Michael’s daughter, Lupita. In fact she’s got the best line written so far, so I think today’s excerpt will feature that. I’m looking forward to introducing Adam soon, the cybernetic aborted baby of Rachael and Traverse. Let me tell you. This is a fun cast!

“I think I’ve found a solution to your problem on how to fund your revolution,” Kron stated.
Lupita sipped the tea, but was wary of the Vidal. Kron had warned her about the stuff when he’d first stashed it in his house. To have him bring it out was a sign that something big was up. Bigger, she suspected, than his off handed comment about funding.
“Is it legal?”
“Not in the least.” Kron shook his head as he sipped his Vidal and then his tea. “Might involve Pirates too.”
“Space Pirates?” Lupita leaned forward, eager to know more.
“And you’re mom.” Kron sipped his Vidal and then his tea. He chuckled. “You can close your mouth now.
“Sorry,” Lupita sat back and nearly drank her Vidal in one sip. Luckily the burning stopped her and she spit half of it back. She gulped the tea, though it burned in a different manner going down her throat. “You could have been a bit more tactful.”
“Yes, but I’d say that expression was worth a kilo of Transium.”
Lupita snorted. “Don’t make me go Transition on your ass.”
Kron frowned. “You’ve been hanging around them boys too much.”
“Them boys, are going to be my army, if I can get them some weapons,” Lupita spat back. “So how’s this funding, my mom and Space Pirates linked together.”
“Not quite sure yet, but you know that spacer you’re Dad’s been traveling with?”
“The ‘Spacer bitch’?” It was the term she’d heard thrown about by her grandmother the few time Kron had gotten her close enough. Just glimpses of her father, but she’d known it was him. Whatever pack instinct came with being one of the Nueri Nin Ni, told her that he was family, close family, just as it had told her that Kron was related, though it’d taken longer to figure out how.
Kron leaned forward and Lupita reeled in her thoughts. “Well that ‘spacer bitch’ happens to be your mother.”
Luppita’s jaw dropped once more, but this time she kept enough cool to quickly close it before Kron could comment. “Are you sure,” she looked at Kron sideways, looking for any hint that he was pulling her leg.
“Your father just about came out and said it... How did he put that to me?” Kron sat back as he sipped the last of his Vidal while thinking. “Something along the lines of they got hitched when they were teens, only she went by a different name back then.”
Lupita froze, tea cup half way to her lips. “You’re not joking one iota?”
“No,” Kron looked dead serious. “And she’s got an in to the black market, IF we can supply the Transium.”

For thsoe of you who know Spook and a little bit about her NaNo Project, the Vidal drink, a gin made flavored with Vidallia from the twin sun system of Tellirax, was indeed named for her character, Vidal. Don't worry, they gave me their seal of approval.

And What about you, my readers, how ar you doing? And how are your NaNovels going?

:} Cathryn Leigh {:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

It’s NaNovel Update Number 2!

Well NaNo has begun and I’ve set up a little NaNo update template to minimize time spent away from my NaNovel. So here’s what I have to say on Day 9 of NaNoWriMo.

First, we have the Statistics:

Total Word count:  25416
Total Page Count:  90
Total Time Spent:  22.22 hours
Average Words per minute:  19
Average Pages per hour:  4

Second, we have the Write-Ins:

Okay I went to a Write-in at a public Library in MA. It was odd not being in a coffee shop but I did accomplish one goal – get my mom back into writing! She went with me and since that Write-In she has utter reorganized her writing space so that she can write at night and not disturb her husband (who is an early bird).

Next up – trying to organize my own write-ins at the Eldersburg, MD Library. I’m going to make it an informal thing tonight. Maybe next year I’ll get the Library involved.

Lastly, we have my notes

The wood stove cooking didn’t go so well for me. My bread didn’t cook all the way through. I really ought to have followed the instructions better. But enough of Non NaNo stuff.

Things are traveling at light speed, which should be expected of a Sci-Fi universe that covers about a 2,000 Light Year size glob of space. Our next quote from what I’ve written this week was chosen based upon a Facebook conversation with Spook. Apparently one of her characters got a gender change mid way and it reminded me of a hilarious conversation between two of Rachael’s lovers. Keep in mind that Rachael is pretty insatiable as it is.

“Alpha Foxtrot Bravo Dash Zero One Niner responding to the communication request from Bravo Tango Sierra Fifty,” a male voice came over Traverse’s communication unit.
“What the...” he flipped the response switch, “Either you’ve had a sex change or this isn’t Rachael.”
Of course as soon as he said that Traverse wanted to hit his head against the wall. He had known there were others ship board with Rachael, he just hadn’t expected them to be awake. Thankfully the man obviously had a sense of humor because a chuckle came across the line.
“I’d fear for the women of the universe if she’d had a sex change.”
“Amen to that,” Traverse chuckled to himself. “This is Captain Traverse of the [to be named Pirate Ship] requesting instructions for landing.”

Oh and see that underlined phrase, yes I need a name for my Pirate Ship. Rachael’s Frisbee 100 (that’s a space ship designed based on the Frisbee and 100 feet across) is the Alfa Foxtrot Brave Dash Zero One Niner (AFB-019), nicknamed Cilla by Captain Robert (who apparently had a huge influence on Rachael as she keeps referring back to him.). I was thinking something along the lines of Juliet Romeo (JR for Jolly Roger?). Use the FAA/Military alphabet and you could come up with some interesting letter/word combinations :}

And so dear readers, I conclude with these three questions for you:
1) Have you a pirate ship name to suggest?
2) How are you NaNovels going?
3) And how are YOU doing?

:} Cathryn Leigh {:

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

It’s NaNovel Update Number 1!

Well NaNo has begun and I’ve set up a little NaNo update template to minimize time spent away from my NaNovel. So here’s what I have to say on Day 2 of NaNoWriMo.

First, we have the Statistics*:

Total Word count:  6327
Total Page Count:  22
Total Time Spent:  5.31 hours
Average Words per minute:  20
Average Pages per hour:  4

*Don’t worry I’m not calculating that every time I post. Nope, I already have a spreadsheet that I log my start and end time, as well as the total words and pages. Then Excel does all the calculations for me. If you think that’s organized you should see my Nueri binder...

Second, we have the Write-Ins:

There are five weeks to NaNo this year, so I’m giving myself a goal to attend four Write-Ins AND the TGIO Party. I’ve already made it to the Kick-Off party, which was a blast. Being at my mom’s for this first week I’m going outside my region (and taking my Mom with me) to attend a Write-In on the south shore of Boston. We’ll be attending that tonight.

Lastly, we have my notes

I won a binder at the Kick-off party and spent the last week filling it with my map of the galaxy and the starships I’ve designed. Funny part is next year I’ll start work on designing one for my mom’s story that I’ve just about convinced her to do for NaNo next year.

Now as to how my story is going. I am having a blast. So is Stowaway, the large tabby feline, who gets to do the Cheshire Cat act because he knows he’s in a novel (this is Dare 1) and he’s decided that’s his purpose for being there (double dare) and he’s going to be trying to convince them they are in a novel (double credit). Only I think he’s doing that more for his own entertainment than anything else.

Oh, I’ve also managed to find a way to mention a few trilogies that my friends and I have written *grin*

Rachael let out a swear as the deceleration made her mess up her course.
“Have you down loaded anything new to my tablet?’ Michael asked.
“Death and Fairies, Aeserion and The Phoenixes of Vervell.” Rachael spoke responded with out paying much attention to what she said.

That’s right through out the story I get to make references to these three book as Michael works on translating the ancient Latin alphabetic texts to the oriental like character language now used. Apparently, Rachael’s father used to read these trilogies to his kids. She can’t read the Latin alphabet and translation keeps Michael out of her hair while they’re out in space.

Now, should I start counting the number of times Rachael beds someone? I could include Michael too, to increase the count. He’s not nearly as bad as her though and only beds others out of necessity. (What happened to those anti harassment laws? I have no idea!)

And now I’m off to do some old fashioned cooking on a wood stove. *giggles* It’s back down from the year 4000 AC (after Colonization) to 1800 AD. I’m just a century hopper!

Oh and how are you NaNovels going?

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Count Down to NaNoWriMo

In less than a week, November starts and with it the [Inter] National Novel Writing Month begins. Never heard of it? (Though I’m thinking all of my blog readers probably have.) Then you can check them out over at the NaNoWriMo website. As they put it NaNo is “30 days of literary abandon”. It’s the one month you’re allowed to write crap in, so long as you remember to edit it out before submitting it to anyone... Well unless you all want a laugh over NaNoisms; Miriam has some good ones on her blog.

Anyway, this year I’m going for my Science Fiction story, which is centered around Rachael Elizabeth Anderson. I’ve dragged her and her lover/husband Michael Rembrandt Brocktovitch over the coals in a draft story that a few people have read. Let’s see what have I done? Well I have:
*  Made them fall in love, get married and have a child all before the age of 16 then separated all three of them by force when the child is six months old
* Given them temporary and permanent memory blocks so that they don’t remember their past (aka the above statement)
* Killed off Rachael’s family and made her think she did it
* Brainwashed Michael into thinking he killed his wife and child
* Had Rachael become indebted to space pirates who forced her to get an abortion and then sold the embryo without her knowledge
* Had Rachael and Michael reunite and fall back in love

Well, when I first thought about doing this I was going to try and do an utter rewrite on what I’d previously written, but that’s kind of cheating. Plus I’ve discovered that doesn’t necessarily work so well. Or at least I don’t think it would for me.

Instead, I’m going to take off from where I left off. Essentially Michael and Rachael have entered into a contract to work for this particular planetary government. It’s highly lucrative and Rachael’s got the qualifications as a space courier. Some of the things I’m going to throw at them:
* Reappearance of the United Government Rachael’s parents used to work for, they’ve finally gotten around to tracking down her ship, which used to be theirs
* Recovery of memories, at least on Rachael’s part, and the unraveling of their convoluted past
* Reunion with the Pirate’s son, who was the father of the aborted baby
* Appearance of the aborted son whose mind is very human though his body is mostly machine
* Contact from the daughter Rachael and Michael thought were dead

Yup, so I think I’m ready. Once I’ve printed out all my space diagrams, spaceship diagrams, spaceship specifications... What? I have been working on these since 2003 you know. :}

But what about you guys? Are you doing NaNo? Are you ready?

:} Cathryn Leigh

P.S. What’s going to make this fun and difficult is the fact that Rachael is a Nymphomaniac, Adrenal Junkie and prone to mood swings. Oh, and Michael is a werewolf (as is their daughter and Rachael is half one) with a six month cycle. *grin*

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Versatile Blogging Award

Earlier this week I got nominated for the Versatile Blogging Award by two totally cool people: Miriam and Charlie. Now as a recipient of this award I have some rules I have to follow.

Fist I have to thank the person (or in my case people) who nominated me.
So, Miriam (A Farewell to Sanity) and Charlie (The Leaning Tower ofPlot), thank you! 
*Aside* I think they were coordinating an ambush because they nominated me on October 15th! I certainly wouldn’t put it past them. *End Aside*
You know I love you two and will give you lots of hugs when we meet at last!
Secondly I have to share seven random facts about myself.
Yikes! Do I have to do fourteen because I was nominated twice? I hope not. I think coming up with seven might be hard. Perhaps lunch will help. *Fifteen minutes later* You get seven, but some of them are going to be quite detailed. *grin
  1. Up until a month before I was born I had an older brother, Eric Benjamin Adams, who died of a rare genetic disease involving the Kreb’s Cycle. He would have been a year and a half older than me.
  2. I’m an only child but my daughter will tell you I have a big family.
    a.  My Dad’s remarriage when I was 8 or 9 gave me a step-brother and step-sister who are 10 to 15years older than I am. He has two kids, she has three.
    b. My Mom’s remarriage when my daughter was six months only gave me four step-brothers who are not much older than me. One is engaged (or thinking about it), three are married and one of them has a daughter one month older than my son.
  3. Writing became my main hobby two years ago when I joined Protagonize and found like minded people to cheer me on. The hobbies that have fallen by the wayside are:
    a.  knitting
    b.  crochet
    c.  beading
    d.  sewing (but I still do Halloween costumes!)
    e.  quilting
    (I guarantee that I have unfinished pieces in all of those categories, including writing.)
  4. I still get the heebee geebees from dark rooms in houses. This is especially true when I’m heading up stairs in a darkened house. I can feel things creeping up behind me, and I’ve been known to start walking/running if no one else is around.
  5. There are times when I also believe in monsters under my bead and jump under the covers and wrap myself up so it can’t get me.
  6. When I retire, I want to be a writer and to supplement my retirement savings with book sales. I also hope to have the time to:
    a.  make costumes based upon clothing I’ve created for my worlds
    b.  travel to lots of different places in our world
    c.  be the neighborhood Grandmother (or at least have been enough of a mother to my children’s closest friends to be grandmother to their kids...)
  7. I have a love/hate relationship with the [Inter]National Novel Writing Month.
    a.  I love it because it gives me planned time to write away from home in the company of other writers
    b.  I hate it because it forces me to write faster than I like, eliminating my ability to take time and walk out plot points (aka go for a walk to think through what’s going on in my plot and where it’s going next)
    c. Apparently love wins over the hate as I signed up to do it again this year!
Now, Thirdly, I have to pass this award on to five to seven of my deserving blogging buddies.
That’s going to take a bit of figuring see as my two best blogging buddies nominated me, and I’m going to try and use the no backsies (at least not right away) rule. Looks like I’m going to be subscribing to some fellow Protagonize member blogs so I can nominate them *giggles*
  1. Eloosive (Daily Writing Practice)
  2. Jackerbie (Crumb Trails)
  3. Burndtree (Burndtree)
  4. Alyssa (Literaturistic Blog)
  5. Jessica M. Vazquez, aka Arwym (Crafted Dreams)

And Lastly, I need to contact those people I nominated and congratulate them.
Well if you’re one of those people and you haven’t been contacted by me, you will be soon. Just remember the rules are as follows:
  1. Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
  2. Share seven random facts about yourself.
  3. Pass the award along to 5-7 deserving blogging buddies.
  4. Contact those buddies to congratulate them!

May we all gain a reader or two in this whole fun process!

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Poetic Excuses

I'm sorry blog,
I've ignored you so.
My momentum has been shot.

I've skipped a week,
nearly made it two.
I forget an awful lot.

You see we've come,
To that time of year,
When we're busy as the bees.

First October and its spooky night.
Two children's costumes, what a pretty sight.

Next is November, that writing spree.
A whirlwind of words to be set free.

Then comes December with its celebration.
Can I send my baking to more than one nation?

And should I also dare to mention,
That I’ve gone and volunteered?
To help lead my daughter’s troop,
Of Daisy scouts so dear.

There’s also this class I’m taking,
For the writing mother.
Volunteering for the church
No wonder I’m all a flutter.

And last, but certainly not the least,
Phoenix Triumphant goes on,
Some writing and some edits,
Until the story’s dawn.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Delinquent Blog

Normally I try to post something on Tuesday or Wednesday, while my hubby plays hockey, but I failed at that. Now, I’m not apologizing, but I thought you might be interested in why. You see, I’ve been map making. :}

On Tuesday night, I got so absorbed into making my map that I stayed up until midnight. And then last night I was up till eleven working on the same map. But, what map, you might ask? Why, the one for the city state of Solaris.

Solaris is the name of the city state in which I’ve set the Choose Your Own Adventure, The Prisoners, I blogged about a bit ago. I’ve got two wonderful women helping me with the project, Moonwalker and AmandaQuirky. We’re each taking a character to write for and see if we can’t get this interwoven tale going.

Anyway, back to the map. It’s nearly done. I’ve got some coloring to do and than I will be scanning it to share with my coconspirators. Yes, I’m probably going all out on the map, but at least it’s only one city, not a whole country or world. It also took two drafts and umpteen erasures to get it right. Okay so I’m a perfectionist too.

But just wait! It’ll look awesome. *grin*

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Power of Dreams

Dreams and the waking conscious are powerful things. How many times do we wake up with a strong idea rattling around our head? Or perhaps, you suddenly bolt upright because yesterday’s problem now has a solution. Yet, even when they aren’t giving out story ideas or solving problems they can be entertaining and sometime frightening. Dreams also give us insight into ourselves.

When I was younger, around the time of my parents’ divorce, I had a reoccurring dream. It never happened the same way twice but it was always the same thing.
I would be at a place waiting for my mother to pick me up and take me home. I’d wait for a bit and then shed arrive. Sometimes she’d get out and talk to the person whose house I was at. Sometimes she’d just say something through the open car window. But, every time she would drive off without me. I would be left there, standing where I was crying.
Even retelling the dream makes me misty eyed. I’m still afraid of being abandoned or forgotten, just not so much that I continue to have that dream.

Another dream form my youth, about the same time frame I think, is the one in which I died; yes, died. It’s a bit convoluted and hard to describe, but I’ll try.
It starts off at night in an abandon bus yard. The yellow school buses are all park, silent for the night. There is a jacket lying on the ground and, being cold, I pick it up. No sooner do I put it on then all the bus headlights flick on like monsters opening their eyes. I run and manage to make it inside the house. I’m not quite sure what happens inside the house, but there are more people and I think ghosts that chase me. Then it’s morning and I go for a walk with my dog. We head just into the woods where I’ve dug out a fort. Climbing inside we curl up for a nap, oblivious to the construction equipment nearby. We get bulldozed over and die. Now a spirit, I wander about until I come across this amusement park. I can still clearly see it in my mind, but describing it is a completely different story. Take the Titanic, cut it in half and set it on land, slightly buried into the ground. Now paint it pink, hot pink. Add zip lines from the decks to the ground in multiple places, and then populate it with arcade games, bowling allies and kids. Yeah, something like that. So, as a spirit, I float up to one of the decks and meander about. Then I take possession of a girl. I have no idea who, but I’m alive again I guess.
Looking back I can say, my dog’s death had to do with the fact we had to put her down eventually. But the Bright Pink ship, and there is now way I knew this when I had the dream, but the Bright Pink ship was related to my mom’s first boyfriend after the divorce. The man hated the color pink. The brighter and more fluorescent the more he hated it. He also happens to be the only person I hate.

So this turned out to have nothing to do with my original thought. But hopefully you were at least entertained by my dreams. Because what started this dream blog idea was my waking up early in the morning two days ago thinking about St. Malroy’s Forever and the fact that I might get to be a beta reader, and what kind of valuable feedback I might be able to give, being an American adult over 30.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Scared to Write

I need to stop procrastinating my writing on Phoenix Triumphant. And, it really is still writing more than editing since I haven’t gotten to a point where I can merge things together. I’m a bit fearful that I won’t be merging anything together at this point.

Right now I’m at the point where Phoenix is going to get his siege set up. And, I’ve got questions. Perhaps you do too. I know at least one of my followers is current on the story.

How long is the siege going to last?
Will Phoenix show himself to Wholawski?
Will he risk everything to get inside and be with Sarah?
And if he does, will Wholawski catch them and torture them?
What about Ryan, how much of a part will he play? (I know we’d all like him to keep out of harm’s way, but I know the Gods have plans for the boy.)
Who gets to kill Wholawski?
Will York get a chance to possess his brother, Chester’s, body?
And how are we going to get Lady Miriam out of the dungeon?
Will I ever get a chance to translate the God mixed up message she was shouting when Sarah first saw her?

I could go on, but some of my questions deal with wondering if stuff I’ve already written will come into play. Since there is the possibility it might, I’m not going to give you the spoilers.

At some point I need to stop checking e-mail and replying to my Protagonize notifications and just hunker myself down and write. I am just very scared of what I might end up putting down on paper. Wholawski scares me. He really does. And if you read any of In Support of Vervell, especially those chapters from his point of view, I’m sure you understand. Heck just reading Sarah’s dungeon tour, probably give you enough of an idea of how twisted the man is.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Feeding the Family

One of the big time sinks I do is cooking for the family. Okay it’s not a time sink, but it’s a tough job. I have to provide delicious and nutritious meals that satisfy my husband’s need for variety. When you consider that the kids are 3 and 5 it’s a tall order to make something that everyone loves.

Thankfully my mother-in-law gave me a subscription to Everyday with Rachael Ray. Normally I take out that weekly menu and use it one week of the month. That usually works for about a week and a half because her recipes feed four plus and my kids barely eat ½ a recipe together! (I know that’s going to change when the teen years hit, especially for my son.) But, in her September of 2011 issue, she had an article, twenty dinners, One Day.

The premise sounds good. You make five base, long time cook, dishes in one day and portion them up to freeze. Then you pull out what you need, the night before or morning of, the day that you make the dish. The dishes have other, quicker cooking, ingredients to add variety to the meals; salad one day, then tacos, then a quiche.

Well I’ve finally gotten to testing that premise. Yesterday I spent all Day (okay technically half a day) working on those five main dishes. I started sometime around 1 pm and didn’t finish until 10 pm. Mind you I had a brief rest for dinner (plain old mac-n-cheese, a quick go to for tired nights). But, I got it all done!

Eighteen cups of pulled pork, twelve cups of tomato sauce, eight cups of roasted peppers and onions, eight cups of roasted squash, seven and a half cups of pulled chicken and fourteen cups of rice pilaf.

That was yesterday, and let me tell you all that cooking tired me out. I was exhausted. But you know what? So far, in my one night’s experience it’s paid off. Got home around 6:30 pm and dinner was ready before 7 pm! (Normally on nights like that it’s a lot closer to 8 pm, good old bedtime, before we eat.)

Holy cow I hope that’s the trend for the rest of the month. I like having time to play with the kids after dinner. We even managed include sight words as part of their game. Fiona knows them, mostly (we didn’t do the greatest job at continuing education at home, me especially) but Brendan is just starting.

So if the rest of those twenty meals goes as well as tonight. I’ll sacrifice another day. In fact, I’ll make it two days; Pork, Sauce and veggies on day one and chicken and pilaf on day two.

I know my followers don’t have to cook for themselves yet, but hey, now you know you’ll get feed well when you come to visit. *grin*

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Phoenixes

Well yesterday was a big day. My daughter started Kindergarten. So far she is quite happy at school and she’s earning her Dino Dollars. Dino Dollars are the school’s way of positive reinforcement for being Ready, Respectful and Responsible. They get to spend them on a items, or save them for drawing and what not. I think I should institute a program like it at home. She bought home four of them today.

But, how about I get back to my main project; Phoenix Triumphant?

I haven’t be very diligent about recording my editing, or technically writing, hours lately, but I’ve been getting work done. It’s going the way it wants to go, not the way it was previously written. I’m cool with that now. It’s working out well.

General Jakubas Wholawski is as dastardly as ever and even if Sarah doesn’t tour his dungeon, you’ll want to kill him. SpookOfNight is sharpening her spork for him. Saddly rather than seeing it as a threat it gave him ideas and he wants a spork in his torture device bag of tricks...

Sarah is getting along well, though she’s not too happy at the moment. You can’t blame her, but Jason’s working as hard as he can to get them out. She’s cocked up an idea to rescue Lady Miriam though, if the other cast of characters lets me get that far.

Anyway, it’s time to write out Sarah’s dinner with Wholawski. Or, at least, fill out the school paper work my daughter brought home.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Choosing A New Adventure

I’ve found myself a new writing project. I have at last started a Choose Your Own Adventure style story. I’ve got two chapters and an introduction written, but I’m wondering if I’ve gone too big for my first time. I have a tendency to do that you know.

When I picked up quilting, did I start with a single block pillow? Nope, not me. No I started with a full size quilt, that still isn’t finished; fifteen years or so later. I did at least finish the quilt block I did for the one quilting class I took. I also have another, three block piece ready for hanging someplace. Oh yes and the baby quilt I put together for my Godson... But that first quilt, is still not finished.

Anyway that’s just one example of my biting off more than I can chew. But, you might ask, how is it I’m making this story more complex than a novice at Choosing your own adventure writer should go. Well perhaps if I give you the introduction, you’ll see what I mean.

Jordan, Peyton, and Riley find themselves locked up in tower cells, with most of their memory lost. Can they recover their memories and remember why they are locked in a tower of Solaris? Can they make it onto the Barrio ship before it leaves port?
Hop on into this Choose Your Own Adventure story and be anyone of the three characters. Make your choices wisely and you'll manage to accomplish everything! Make them poorly and you'll have to start all over again.

But hey, isn't that the point of the Choose Your Own Adventure, follow every single path you possibly can?

Notice that I have chosen three androgynous names, they are also three different age groups, the youth, the adult and the elder. Their stories will interweave. The basic idea is that Jordan stowed away on a ship and ended up in Solaris, where adventures occurred. Peyton, the experienced adventurer, was hired by Jordan’s family to find Jordan. Riley is the mage sent after Payton and Jordan when the two don’t return promptly. The story starts with a lost memory, and they’ll be unraveling as they go.

Personally I think this is going to be a lot of fun. Especially if I can do it well and pull off avoiding mentioning the gender of the characters. See, I’m trying to leave it open to whoever reads it, so that they can truly feel part of the story.

What do you think? Have I bitten off more than I can chew? How long do you think this will take me?

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Trio of Tasks

I must once again apologize for my day late blog. I don’t suppose anyone noticed.

There isn’t really much to say this week. I’m not working on my costume, I’m not working on my story, and I’m not working. Well, okay that’s not entirely true.

I did do some work on my costume in the last week. Everything has been cut out, so I started with my wings. The idea being I go for the hard part first. I’ve gotten so far as to sewing the three sections wing sections together for each one. Between each section is a channel in which I’ll put dowels to help the wing hold its shape. I need to do the leading edge (that’s the top part), which will hold two more dowels for stability, and a string, which should let me spread them. I’m still working on the whole how to attach them part.

As to my story, I’m posting it. I haven’t really done much for writing on it. I do hope to get some done on that tomorrow. It will all depend on how much time I have between my class and yoga.

I’m still working, however this week I’m not going in to work. Instead, I’m taking a class on becoming an ISO 13485 Lead Auditor. It’s a week long, starting at 7:30 am so I’ve been getting up at 5 am, so I can leave by 6 am. That way I can get into the city and be on time for my class. I only drive half way and then take public transportation in. No way I’m dealing with city traffic. So that’s why I’ve been tired. I also have a test on Friday to see if I get my certification for completion for the class. Wish me luck.

Of course, the funny part is I’ve been leading my company’s internal audits since 2 years ago or so. And if my young friends are confused by this last bit... don’t worry, it’s just my day job and someday I’ll save enough from it to buy a nice house on the water and be a full time writer without worrying too much about whether or not I make it big.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

From One Tizzy to the Next

After a week of being a ‘single’ mom, I have the company of my husband once more. This means that childcare has become, once more, a shared duty. I have to admit that I take my hats off to all the real single mothers out there. My mom was one from the time I was 7 or 8. Thankfully, she only had me and I was as good as they come (at least, that’s what she tells me...). It’s hard taking care of two kids alone. But, I’d rather not dwell on such matters. I’ve got other things to do, more story to write, and a costume to get done.

Yes, I’m still in the re-writing phase of my plot gone wild. Okay perhaps not wild, but I am thankful I have managed to get out and walk a little bit this week. It’s just what the doctor ordered for getting through that block I’ve had. I haven’t written anything based upon my thoughts yet. I don’t really like the way the thoughts are going, but what will be will be.

As to my costume, (should I take photos as I go along?) it hasn’t gotten much past the buy additional fabric and cut out the patterns. I’m a bit stuck on how I want to attach the wings. You see I have the dress; my mother gave it to me from some lavender and lace place. I love the tie-dye purple skirt, and the tie-dye purple lace sleeves, but the bodice is stretch velveteen, not the best of basses for wings. So, I either strap them on over the bodice, thus probably ruining the look slightly, or take the dress apart a bit and strengthen the bodice to better hold the wings. Yet even if I do that, how do I attach the wings in a secure manner, but also allow them to be taken out so the dress can be washed.

Velcro is one solution, and I think I might have some that will do the job, but these are not simple lightweight Fairy wings, but Dragon wings! (Are you also now thinking that yes I should get some picture up?) Well the wing membranes will be made of very lightweight fabric, which I’m also using for the under skirt. However, I’m adding in some wire wrapped balsa wood supports. The idea is to make a wing that can be opened by pulling on string at the back.

Added to this quandary, and probably the main proponent of it is: how removable do I want the wings? Obviously this is for Halloween, but I might just be wearing it to my mom’s big 60 birthday costume dance. If I do that, then easily removable wings would be good. After all I wouldn’t want to ruin my wing before I’ve had a chance to wear them a few time. If I’m just going to be wearing them for Halloween, perhaps not so removable is better...

No, because I’m thinking they may not be all that easy to sit in a car with. *sigh*

So apparently if it’s not my story that’s got me in a tizzy, it’s my sewing project, and if it’s not that, it’s probably my kids. And now, as I continue to sketch out ideas for attaching my wings, I bide you ado.

:} Cathryn Leigh

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A Forgotten Blog and a Morphing Plot

Okay so being one day late probably isn’t too bad, but I still I feel bad for not posting last night. I got a little caught up in cutting out fabric for my latest Halloween costume; The Dragon Queen. It sounds more impressive than it probably will be, but I’m hoping that I will at least have wings that can be opened and closed.

Anyway, back to what I’d like to talk about; Phoenix Triumphant. Now, you would think that, having written the draft, editing would be a piece of cake and just a matter of working on sentence structure and warding. But no, not with Phoenix Triumphant, it is trying to go someplace completely different now.

The first half of the editing went fairly well. Not too many things were changed, and the parts that were easily slipped into the spot they replaced. Then it came time to introduce James. Obviously he was in there before, but I did some writing to figure out just why the Vervellean rescue party would trust the Azurean, who had a pretty high rank in General Wholawski’s army, to come with them.

That is where the major changes started. You see James went from a nervous, scared guy who was afraid of being killed upon return, to, well, a much stronger more take charge kind of guy. Don’t get me wrong I like this change in him, despite the fact he walks the line of double agent well. I know what side he’s really on.

Still it means that if I don’t get my but into writing gear in the next three weeks, I’m going to run out of material to post on Protagonize. Something I suspect my Vervellean fans might get upset about.

Speaking of those fans, I cannot help but return my love for them. Without them this story wouldn’t have gone nearly as far, nor been sustained for as long. It’s amazing to think that Sarah’s Phoenix was posted nearly two years ago? Craziness!

So to all the people I could list (if I was at home and had my notes) who have read and commented as well as those who have faithfully squealed when the first post date of Phoenix Triumphant was announced: THANK YOU! *Heart*

:} Cathryn Leigh

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Family, Whine and Cheese

“Next time you whine I expect you to serve it properly!”

At least so says my Mother-in-law to my son. I can’t blame her. Brendan is stuck in that wonderful whining phase. Just about every request he makes is in that petulant whining tone that drive parents crazy. The only thing that tops it off more is the crying at every little thing that doesn’t go his way.

The pasta falls off his plate as he mixes it with catsup vigorously. “Whaaaa”

The cherry on his ice cream Sunday falls down the side. “Whaaa”

The PJs I pull out for him to put on aren’t the one he wanted. “Whaaaa.”

I think you get the idea. We’re working on getting him to use his words. He’s got plenty of them. He uses them with Fiona enough, or when he’s stalling bedtime by telling you about his day. Fiona did the same thing when she was his age. Thankfully, she grew out of the phase right before he went into it. Unfortunately, there was barely a pause from one going out until the other went in.

However, before you get the utterly wrong idea about our kids, they are great. As I said, Fiona’s grown out of the whining. She’ll still burst into tears when she doesn’t get her way, or if she thinks you’re mad, or misunderstood her. That would be a trait inherited from me, at least, the being sensitive to criticism.

Brendan is just frustrated that daycare hasn’t moved him up to the next class yet. He’s definitely ready, though he won’t be four until October. My suspicion is that his attitude will drastically improve once he’s in the new class and learning new things. Last year, when he was ready to move up but hadn’t yet, his good behavior took a dive at daycare. So at least this time he’s not taking it out on his friends, but on us at home.
That’s the way it is for parents isn’t it? Everyone tells us how well behaved our children are and all the awesome things they can do. Then my husband and I look at each other and wonder, “Are they talking about the same kids we know and love?” I do have to say they can be very well behaved (like right now cooperating in using what used to be my computer). Having them twenty-two months apart was a huge stress in the beginning, but they do play so well together, most of the time.

Still I can’t wait until they can serve me whine properly; in twenty years. And how will I expect my whine? Why with cheese, crackers, fruit and chocolate of course!

:} Cathryn Leigh
(Can you believe I managed to write that in 30 minutes while the kids were still up?)
Preposterous! *grin*

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Running a Prose Competition

I think it is appropriate this Tuesday to talk about the Prose Competition I’m running on Protagonize. That’s right, on top of all my editing, motherly duties and work I am coordinating a Prose Competition, the Summer Prose Competition of 2001 (SPC2011).

I spent this spring coming up with contest rules and details, leaving the challenges for last. First, I had to create the questionnaire so that I could pair people up. After all Protagonize was created to be a collaborative site, so what better way to celebrate, than to have people collaborate? *smile* The questions were fairly basic, focusing on genres people love to read and write as well as some basic writing styles (like point of view and amount of planning). Pairing people up was h-a-r-d, hard! There were a few who had stellar compatibility, but I tried for a middle road. I wanted the teams to have a somewhat even footing. I’m just glad I gave myself a few days to analyze the results. Not to mention there were only fourteen contestants.

I did finally create my challenges too, finalizing them when my contestants were filling out those questionnaires. Nothing like a little last minute prep, eh? *grin* I’m really happy with them. Two story prompts and six criteria for each. The first Challenge is already posted to Protagonize and submitted to the Seasonal Prose Competition Group (Read tab). On Friday they will be complete short stories.

So far no one has complained about their partner, though I’ve caused some mass confusion by not clearly stating what I meant by Peer Reviews. My four Judges seem to be getting along well, too. Of course, this could all change when I post the standings tomorrow afternoon.

Wish me luck!

:} Cathryn Leigh

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Unearthing a Trilogy

Well on the plus side, my editing went really well this weekend. At least I thought it went well until I just realized I only edited two more chapters. Make that three chapters, which equals a week’s worth of posting on Protagonize. So I take that back. I editing did go well this weekend.

Speaking of my current project, Phoenix Triumphant, have I given you direct links yet? Ah, I see two weeks ago I gave on to it. But that’s the third book in a trilogy. Yes, I said trilogy. A story that was just warm fuzzy romance fantasy blossomed into a bit more the moment I started posting it to Protagonize. Why?

Well that’s the funny thing about stories. When you start delving more deeply into the world, you begin to find things you had no idea was there. I like Stephen King’s analogy in his book “On Writing” (which came highly recommended and I add my own high recommendation to it). He said something along the lines of stories are like dinosaur bones and writers are the archeologists who dig them up carefully to expose the full skeleton.

Sarah & Jason, the original title of the story that blossomed into The Phoenixes of Vervell Trilogy, started out, as I said above, as romance. It was your basic two imaginary friend turn out to be real and somehow the boundary that’s kept them apart is shattered/crossed by their love for each other and they get married (after somehow convincing his family it’s okay) and live happily ever after.

Bleck, huh? Okay I admit, writing sappy romance is my guilty pleasure. Even more so if I bring it back to high school. Thankfully, when I started editing the original story in order to post it on Protagonize, things started coming out a little differently. Now Sarah’s Phoenix could still use a lot of work, especially after the underlying plot came out and bit me in Phoenix Rising, but it ends very differently from the original Sarah & Jason, all five ways. Yes, I have a habit of taking alternate paths. Heck, I have a habit of taking a theme (see end of the paragraph above) and writing five different stories using it. *grin*

So anyway, back to Vervell. I think the most fun part of this journey has been the discovery process. Like that dinosaur Stephen King mentions, I’ve been carefully excavating the culture and history of Vervell. I’ve discovered what their clothing looks like (for the most part), their take on religion, and that their Gods really do exist. The Great-Grand Pairents (aka the gods) apparently also have a sense of humor, but they are claiming their names are NOT Adam and Eve, though some of their priest/priestess pairs have come from the Christian Bible (like Mary and Joseph). And I can’t forget the few Knights and wives whose names are connected to King Arthur’s Knights of the Round table...

What? I’m telling you the Gods named them, not me. I mean, who am I to argue with the Gods of Vervell, Azure and the Areni Plains. I’m just the archeologist, I mean author.

*giggles and grins*
:} Elorithryn
I mean Cathryn Leigh
He, he! {: