Posted in books, ebook, fiction, Revenants Abroad, self-publishing, writing

Backing Away

How’s everyone doing? Boy, it’s been a tough week, hasn’t it? It’s been, at the very least, anxiety-inducing. So, in order to try to preserve what’s left of my sanity, I am beginning a new relationship with social media. I’ve been fairly active on Twitter since I joined in 2010, which has been both good and bad. On one hand, I have met some really really fantastic people, but on the other hand I’ve also seen some truly ugly stuff go down.

Lately it’s become a constant toxic stream. This is not a put-down to anyone, it’s just that it’s a constant barrage of (mostly) righteous rage, and very little else. I’ve also been dismayed  and disappointed by some I thought were a little more enlightened than they now appear.  It’s funny, the sort of back-handed tactics they employ to try to tell you what you should be tweeting, what they find acceptable. Well, you never really know people on Twitter, do you? I’ll tweet what I like, when I like. If someone doesn’t like it, they are free to unfollow me. I didn’t get on social media to argue. And as far as I can tell, arguing with people online never changed anyone’s mind.

But, that aside, Twitter has been consuming far too much of my time anyway. I’m always griping about trying to find time to write, so removing that time-suck seems the logical thing to do. Years ago I resisted joining, even though I had writer friends encouraging me to check it out. I finally caved back in 2010. So seven years later it’s sucking up my life as I feared it would. My fault, of course, for letting it. I don’t intend to vanish entirely from Twitter, but I am going on a Twitter-diet, and will be more strictly regulating my time there. I considered automating my Twitter feed, but I really hate when people do that. It’s more likely I’ll have a couple bursts of activity during the day, then shut it down again.

Additionally, I’ve been busily unsubscribing from a host of email newsletters that I signed up for in the dim past and never seem to actually read. I spend more time deleting them than reading them. I cleared out probably 1000 old emails  (I know, I know…) this morning, and it’s just a colossal waste of time. New rule: read it or delete it immediately.

I only recently joined Instagram, too, and though I really enjoy it, it too is a time-suck. All this social media may be fun, but it’s not writing. As with most of these things, you follow some people to be polite, then find you never interact with them, or even read their posts. It’s just silly.  If we’re not really interested in what someone is saying, why the pretense?  So, I unfollowed a bunch there. I expect to spend far less time on Instagram as well.

Indie authors like me are encouraged to have accounts everywhere, but it’s absurd. I have accounts on Ello, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Wattpad as well that I’ve all but forgotten about. There’s no way to keep up with it all. Even this poor blog is terribly neglected. If anything, I may try to get back to blogging on a more regular basis, but the rest will likely be very much more on the back burner.

Social media is not all bad, but it’s largely unproductive. I’ll be around, but not as much as I have been. At least, that’s the plan. Let’s see how long I can stick to it.

Posted in clouds, Oregon, photography, Tarot, writing

My WordPress-iversary

Wow, I registered with WP 8 years ago. Eight years. Holy smokes. I started with my Wandering Mind blog back then, mostly chronicling my bicycle adventures. That blog has lain dormant for many years now while I’ve focused on writing and Tarot (on the Dangling Pentacles Tarot blog), which admittedly has been more active recently than this.

I’m gonna throw down the gauntlet to myself and try to get the sequel to Revenants Abroad out by the end of the year. We’ll see how that goes, but it’ll be 2 years on October 31 since RA was released. Time to get a move on!

You can really embiggen this pic, I uploaded the full 6Mb file.

Clouds over wheat field
Clouds over wheat field
Posted in Coffin Hop Blog Tour, Halloween, writing

Coffin Hop Blog Tour 2014


UPDATE: 10/24/14 8:15PM  My story for the Coffin Hop is now live, Ghost Liaison.

All right my little demons and ghouls, the time is nearly upon us to make like an imp and hop to the blogs of the Coffin Hop Blog Tour. All bloggers participating in the tour will be giving away goodies, so be sure to get in on the fun! The Coffin Hop runs October 24-31. From the rules:

Many members do multiple giveaways of everything from coffee and candy to Halloween themed swag, ebooks, signed copies, posters, artwork, etc etc etc.

Content of the bloggers participating will all be spine-tingling horror and other creepy goodness, whether in the form of new fiction or articles on appropriate themes. Please do visit the Coffin Hop site to see the list of participating bloggers, which will be posted on October 24. And if you’re thinking of getting in on the fun and want to be one of the bloggers, there’s still time to sign up, but only until the 24th.

For my part, I’ll have a page up shortly with my entry, and for the giveaway, I’m thinking either a Tarot reading (10-card Celtic Cross spread using your choice of decks from the ones I own listed here) or an ecopy of my soon-to-be-published book, Revenants Abroad, in the winner’s choice of format. Or maybe I’ll let the winner choose. If you’d like a little taste of the book ahead of time you can find a couple of character interviews of two of the main characters, Andrej and Neko, and some early material that was deleted from the book, that introduces Andrej and his assistant, Anne-Marie.

I’ll be posting a story for the Coffin Hop here in the next few days.

See you soon!

UPDATE 10-24-14 The story is posted, please check it out!

Posted in Quotes, random thoughts, Tarot, writing


Totally out of copyright map from c 1565

So begins a new segment of my blog, like unveiling a new wing of the building. I expect the furnishings will remain eclectic. With this post I have written five-hundred posts on Filling Spaces. (yeah-yeah, don’t count the other blogs, it’ll ruin the moment) Anyway, it seemed like the occasion was worthy of a little fanfare.

I wanted to write something grand and glorious to mark the milestone. Initially, I ambitiously set out to incorporate a mapping metaphor (getting lots of great alliteration here, though, eh?) and was going to incorporate all kinds of maps from fantasy novels (yanno, the whole ‘map out the future…blahblahblah’), but honestly the time got away from me and the task was overwhelming. There are A LOT of fantasy fiction maps out there, and since no doubt most of them are still protected by copyright, I thought it best not to run afoul of the law.

Instead, I thought I’d kick off the next 500 by posting some inspiring quotes to keep us all chugging along, whether it be writing, painting, making music, carving wood ducks, or whatever you do.

First up, Neil Gaiman, with some pearls of wisdom:

“If you make art, people will talk about it. Some of the things they say will be nice, some won’t. You’ll already have made that art, and when they’re talking about the last thing you did, you should already be making the next thing.

If bad reviews (of whatever kind) upset you, just don’t read them. It’s not like you’ve signed an agreement with the person buying the book to exchange your book for their opinion.

Do whatever you have to do to keep making art. I know people who love bad reviews, because it means they’ve made something happen and made people talk; I know people who have never read any of their reviews. It’s their call. You get on with making art.”

I think it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone will love what we do. All we can do is hope those who do love it will find their way to it. Some people will say nasty things to make themselves feel better, or because they think it’s very clever, or in their superior wisdom they have passed judgement on you and found you wanting. They will always be out there, there’s nothing we can do about people like that. We already know we’re striving to be our best selves, and if we fall short of a narrow opinion, what of it? On we go.

“…it’s just another one of those things I don’t understand: everyone impresses upon you how unique you are, encouraging you to cultivate your individuality while at the same time trying to squish you and everyone else into the same ridiculous mould. It’s an artist’s right to rebel against the world’s stupidity.”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

I would go so far as to say it’s the artist’s DUTY to rebel.

“What had happened was this. When still young, I had gotten the idea from somewhere that I might be able to write… Maybe the deadly notion came from liking to read so much. Maybe I was in love with the image of being a writer. Whatever. It had been a really bad idea. Because I couldn’t write, at least not by the bluntly and frequently expressed standards of anyone in a position to offer any encouragement and feedback.”
Paul Di Filippo, Fuzzy Dice

They (that ubiquitous ‘they’)  just love to knock us down, don’t they? Fie on them, I say. Up and at ’em!

For those days when everyone seems to be laughing at you:

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your dreams. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

And finally, a small thank you to all of you who have been my own personal cloudburst when I was in the grip of an extended confidence drought:

“Encouragement from any source is like a drop of rain upon a parched desert. Thanks to all the many others who rained on me when I needed it, and even when I foolishly thought I didn’t.”

(acknowledgements in The P.U.R.E.)
Claire Gillian

If you need more encouragement, whatever your endeavor, I strongly recommend a visit to The Write Attitude. I pop over there whenever my confidence flags or I feel like life has kicked me one too many times.

A final thought:

Eight of SwordsThis one was hand-picked, I didn’t shuffle and pull. I knew this one was in there. Eight of Swords is typically a tough card to have turn up. The Waite-Smith deck and its many clones depict a blindfolded, bound woman standing in front of eight swords that are planted point down, standing like a wall behind her. It’s feeling hemmed in, like there’s nothing you can do, unable to see a way out. Kind of what I expect the sailors on Columbus’s ships felt. Have you seen those ships? I was on a replica of the Niña once. ‘Claustrophobic’ doesn’t begin to cover it. Imagine sharing a 1900sf house with 18 people. Sitting in that crackerbox in the vastness of the ocean is like the woman who doesn’t realize she’s not totally surrounded by the swords. They couldn’t see where they were going anymore than the blindfolded woman can see she’s not totally surrounded. Columbus had faith that he could get where he was planning to go, and that’s what we must do. It makes me wonder if someday the story of his voyage will pass into myth as a metaphor for perseverance. Avast, ye landlubbers! Time to weigh anchor; we sail with the tide.

Posted in books, fantasy, Publishing, science fiction, Vampires, writing

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

The lovely and darkly delicious Anne Michaud has tagged me for a fun blog hop, to talk a little about current WIP. She in her turn was tagged by Linda Bloodworth.

So here are The Roolz:

Use this format for your post
. Include an introduction to your interview post and a link to the person who tagged you for participation.
 Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (Work In Progress). Include some pictures if possible.
Tag five other writers/bloggers by sending them an email and then add their links to the end of your interview post.Their answers should go up the week after.

Your blog post would need to be up between the 22 Oct – 26 Oct . If you are on She Writes you put the post up there, too. Your Blog post will be labelled:
 The Next Big Thing Blog Tag.

1. What is the working title of your book?

2. Where did the idea come from for the book? A song by HIM :::batting eyes coquettishly in the general direction of Helsinki:::

3. What genre does your book fall under? — Hard to say. It’s paranormal/urban fantasy, but in a sense it’s also sci-fi, it’s set in the future.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I don’t know yet. Some characters are inspired by actors, others by musicians, others by no one. Not saying who’s who in the few photos I’ve added. They simply inspired characters in the story. There’s a key character that I haven’t even got a human role model in mind for. Yet. Honestly I think I’d prefer a bunch of unknowns to be cast in it.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Ultimately it’s about wanting something you can’t have and making the best of the results of imperfect choices.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I hope to find an agent…

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Hahaha! What year is this? I’m like the Energizer Bunny, still going on it!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Honestly I have no idea.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book? The song I mentioned in Q2.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Vampires. Humor. Murder. Demons. Prague. Organized crime. Seduction.

And here is where I break the rules! I’m such an anarchist. I’m not going to tag anyone in this, because in the past I rarely get anyone playing along. HOWEVER COMMA if you want to join in let me know and I will add your name and a link to your blog to this post.

Posted in random thoughts, writing

Did You Say Something?

Umm, this is a little embarrassing, but I think I may have deleted a legitimate comment from someone. You know how it is, you’re going through the spam, clicking madly to dump all those ads for Christian Louboutins  or Viagra, or something, and then all of a sudden, just as you click delete you see real words, coherent words, that actually pertained to something you wrote about. Ugh. Gone. No undeleting those. So, if you’ve left a comment recently and never saw it show up it may have fallen prey to my itchy delete-finger. Please do repost if you like and I’ll be more careful in my next deleting frenzy. I did rescue one comment from the spam folder the other day, so legitimate comments do occasionally get flagged as spam for some unfathomable reason. It had no links in it and the person has commented here several times in the past. This is why I never do a mass delete.

Apologies to anyone who this may have happened to.

Posted in Tarot

Dangling Pentacles

Some of you may have noticed the Dangling Pentacles blog is down. I had purchased the domain, but wrongly thought that when the subscription ran out, the title would revert to one of the URL’s that included the word ‘wordpress’ in it. It does not. To renew now would cost me more than setting up a self-hosted blog on another hosting company’s server (like my blog on Bluehost). They want $106 to reinstate it. Ain’t happening. I’m gambling on the domain name being released for registration, which apparently may never happen, but if it does, I’ll re-up it then for $26. Failing that, I will be setting up another blog, as yet unnamed, for my Tarot site. Annoying, but what can you do? My fault for thinking it would simply revert the title to a free WordPress blog.

So, may or may not be back. If I don’t get it back, I’ll have to think of something else. My apologies to my readers, and handful of subscribers. With luck, DanglingPentacles will be back, but if not the content will return at least. I’ve exported the files and will import them to the new blog when the time comes.

Posted in Quotes, random thoughts, writing

Don’t Let Anybody Squash You

Because first off, you’re not a bug.

We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little.
– Anne Lamott

I was dismayed this morning when another blogger mentioned that someone had tried to tell her she shouldn’t have written about a certain topic because it was too sad. The topic in question was an incident that had troubled and upset the writer, and as most of you who read this blog are also writers, you will understand what it feels like to need to say something because it is pressing on your heart.

What we write about is what comes from our core, things that move us. Sometimes those things are very sad, and they make us want to cry and wring our hands or shake our fists at the sky and scream “Why?!”

Our writing is us. And sometimes we are upset, and we sort things out by writing. It’s the equivalent of opening all the windows in our heads and airing out our brains, neatly stacking thoughts where they should go on the various synaptic pathways. Otherwise it’s just all going to lay around all over the place and eventually we’re going to trip over something and do a face-plant. Nothing good can come of that. We are not the kind of people who can simply bury our heads in the sand and pretend something’s not happening.

A writer without interest or sympathy for the foibles of his fellow man is not conceivable as a writer.
– Joseph Conrad

If we had no interest in the world and were content to live in a tiny bubble of our own making, untouched by other passengers on this voyage we wouldn’t be writing at all, because there would be nothing to say. There would be nothing to understand. Nothing would be happening.

But things do happen: to us, because of us, around us. And we are AWARE of those things, and they have an effect on us, whether good or bad. And no one has the right to tell you what you should or should not write.

Because after all, you are not a bug.

Posted in books, Vampires, writing

Lucky 7

I’ve been tagged in another meme, the Lucky 7, by Ben over at Story Multiverse.


The rules for this one are:

1. Go to page 77 of your current WIP

2. Count down 7 lines

3. Copy and paste the next 7 lines, sentences or paragraphs

4. Nominate 7 other bloggers to join the fun.

Well, after the last meme I tagged people in fell flat, I’m not going to pass it on directly to anyone, but will invite anyone who’d care to participate to go ahead and play along, and let me know by leaving a comment below. As Ben pointed out, this one is specifically for bloggers who have completed a novel-length work, or have one in the works. I mean, you need to have finished at least 77 pages, right? Not exactly a short story.

So, my neglected WIP, Revenants Abroad, is what I’m pulling my excerpt of 7 not-so-glorious paragraphs from. For those who’ve read some of it, this is Anne-Marie and Andrej on a day out in Prague.

“This is all your history, your roots. You grew up with all this around you, part of you. It must be good to feel like you really belong somewhere.”

Andrej didn’t answer, but it was what drew him back to Prague, again and again. He felt strongest, steadiest here, despite everything. “You ready to head out? I could use a smoke,” he said.

“Hey, how about getting something to eat? I just realized I haven’t eaten yet today,” Anne-Marie said. It was nearly three o’clock in the afternoon.

“Didn’t you just eat something yesterday? Good thing I don’t have to eat that often.”

She gave him her sour look again. He smiled and shrugged, putting his arm around her waist. She snuggled into his side, enjoying the moment for whatever it was worth.

“You doing ok?” he asked.

“I don’t know, this is way worse than usual.” It was obvious she was starting to succumb to his charms, even knowing that it was because he was manipulating her moods. As the day went on she had found it increasingly hard to keep her wits and some perspective on the situation. She was starting to feel like she was going under in rough surf, battered by wave after wave, unable to break the surface to get air and make it to shore.

Well, there it is. Still a little rough, needs some elbow grease I think. But eh, it’ll get there.

So, who wants to play?