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 {: