Monday, February 25, 2013

Victory.


Now that I no longer feel as if I went through a week long volleyball tournament, I can get back to the "norm" of things and be productive again!

I am quite pleased at how last week turned out. With the edit transfers of MISTRESS OF BLACKWEN, I ended up with 741 more words, and dished out 6,335 words in the three days of the week I had left after all of the editing. So book 2 is now sitting on a total of 47,189 words, 135 pages, and 13 chapters. A victory, indeed! I also had to stop myself from working while I was reading over the recent written chapters last night...weekends are my off days for a reason, which is mostly to curb the workaholic I could be when it comes to writing.

I'm pretty excited at how everything is starting to fall into place concerning my characters in this novel. The past sequence I wrote is most definitely one of my favorites (as evident by how much I wrote in just three days rather than a whole week). The "true" selves of certain characters are being revealed, some of which is scaring me a bit, and I even found myself being annoyed at one of them. The 13 year old self is crying about it, whereas my current self keeps yelling, "Shut up! It must be so!". I was also proud of myself with this past sequence, because I've always had trouble with fighting scenes (and this one didn't give me any trouble at all!). I tend to overthink the aspects of it, trying to see what would be realistic and what would be acceptable pertaining to the supernatural creature that is fighting in the first place. I haven't gotten any complaints so far, so I'll just keep on going! :)

I'm guessing you're also wondering just WHY I felt like I went though a week long volleyball tournament, so I'll explain...but only a little bit!

On friday night, I went to The Underground in downtown Santa Fe, to support my friend's band - Amber Saint Yves. I try to go to as many of their events as I can, and I try to take a group with me too. The moment I set foot in that place and found Woodchuck at the bar, "happy" was the understatement of the night. I went to college in Vermont, you see. Woodchuck is a staple from Vermont, and is definitely one of the best hard ciders out there (along with Angry Orchard, but I digress). Certain things of the east coast are hard to find out here, so when I DO find such lovely things, I turn into an excited little girl. So basically, a big part of my night was spent having Woodchuck and listening the the band rock out. The other part of my night was spent elsewhere, with more friends and pretty much dancing the night away. Stats, a sports bar and club that is also in downtown Santa Fe, had a big party since they were hosting Baby Bash. He performed for maybe 15 minutes...so it felt like, anyways. I'll admit that my attention was elsewhere half the time, so perhaps that's another reason why his performance felt short to me! It was still a great time nonetheless, and it definitely counts as a victory for a night out.

I also continued supporting others during the weekend and went to a high school basketball game, since it was my friend's senior night in cheerleading. While I don't follow the NBA as extensively as I would MLB, NFL, and international indoor and beach volleyball, I will admit that I missed going to basketball games. It was just one of those sports to me, like soccer, that was just more enjoyable if I was present at a game rather than watching it on tv. Basketball and soccer in GMC were always interesting, that's for sure. And on sunday, I went to see a high school production of "The Drowsy Chaperone" (my friend's husband directed it). I was really impressed with the students, and I had memories of watching my friends perform back in the Hoboken High days (we had a great theater department, so that speaks volumes).

I should also mention that we finally got some much needed furniture...even though there's still so much more left to get, heh. Now we just have to find the time to build it all (we may work from home, but we're still busy people!). The house should be "group visitor" ready by late spring, early summertime! :)

And now, I'm off to the world of MISTRESS OF BLACKWEN...and potentially killing some more people off (I guess it's evident now that I'm anxious for the new season of Game of Thrones next month, and it's been somewhat rubbing off on me...truth be told though, I've been killing off the characters who were going to meet their end at some point anyways).

Monday, February 18, 2013

"That kiss beneath that Hunter's Moon..."

My friend, Ashley, came over this past weekend and officially introduced Mom to Celtic Thunder (Mythology had come out). So not only did Mom enjoy seeing me smile whenever Colm came on, she also enjoyed the music in general. The best part, however, was Shadow's "performance" with Ryan Kelly singing "Hunter's Moon". He wasn't even watching it with us, but he perfectly mimicked Ryan's every move while facing us, and he was moving his mouth to the words. Mom and I played "Hunter's Moon" again the next day (Ashley lent me the CDs so I could add them to my iTunes library), and his ear immediately perked up and he did the act all over again. There's definitely a bit of a wolf in my boy, that's for sure! Mom and I are still wishing we recorded all of that.

It's a bit of old news now, but I did not make it to round 2 of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest. Yes, I was VERY bummed when I first found out. What is also true that after that initial feeling, I actually laughed at the thought that came after, which was I could not do what Stephen King had explained he had done in ON WRITING: nail every rejection letter he ever recieved to the wall of his study (and they had started when he was still a kid!). I didn't even get the rejection e-mail - I only saw that my name was not in the list of round 2 contestants in my category. Even with that brief moment of sadness, I just sat myself down and looked at the printed stack of what is considered book 2...and I smiled. I knew from the beginning that I chose a hard career path...I expected rejections along the way. No one can fly with ease after taking the first leap off the cliff, of course. And I have so much support, especially from the people I least expected it to come from. Things will happen in their own time...and I'm not going to stop doing what makes me happy because a contest didn't pick my work.

And that brings me to the updates for MISTRESS OF BLACKWEN! As many of you know, I am currently editing what I have gotten down so far. If I'm feeling productive enough today, I could very well finish the last stretch of editing I have left to do. The funny part is that while I have spent most of last week editing it, I kept getting scenes for certain characters...for book 3. It's frustrating sometimes, since I still have LOTS left to do before I can even think of book 3. It goes to show that the characters in my head are both a blessing and a curse, heh. I also think that I could have been done with editing sooner, except that a book I have been waiting ages for finally came out last week. Reader/writer problems - have to love them sometimes.

And is it just me, or are bookstores becoming more depressing lately? I looked at Mom after our trip to Hastings this past weekend and seriously yelled, "Where are all the good books?!". I had to get the books I've been waiting to get on my kindle, because the bookstore didn't have them (and my patience can only hold for so long, heh). Even when I got past the damned stand filled with the "Fifty Shades of Grey" series, there hadn't been anything good lying around. Leaving a bookstore empty handed depresses me more than a break-up! Mom made me feel better by grabbing ice cream with me at least, and we hadn't done that in ages :). I love my kindle, don't get me wrong, but I'm still traditional enough that I'd like the actual book in my hands...and it would be fantastic if the book was actually in the bookstore! Everyone, read "better" books so that they can actually build up the bookstores again! There are still those of us who actually want them around! ;)

Monday, February 11, 2013

In true Santa Fe fashion.


First thing's first, and that's the update of MISTRESS OF BLACKWEN! I dished out 7,266 words last week. The roll I've been on started to lose it's momentum, but that's ok. It happens, now and then. If I were able to have over 2,000 words every day, I'd actually be a bit scared. I'm also prone to overthink at times too, more so now since this book has been moving faster than the first one. I just have to keep reminding myself that it's only because I work from home now, and I have all the time in the world to really work on it. Truthfully, I wouldn't trade that factor for anything else in the world. When I was working at Luminaria in the Inn and Spa at Loretto, I hadn't gotten much work done writing wise...at home, anyways. On slow days (and sometimes on fast nights, when I had to stay longer than my shift required), I used to take the old menus I was asked to destroy, and made little pamphlets out of them; I would actually use the blank side of those pieces and write some things there. All of my co-workers used to think it was the funniest thing.

Considering the slow feeling that's been hitting me lately with writing, the plan is to print out what I've written so far, and do some editing this week. It's a process I revert to when I get hit with writer's block. I also blame the lack of sleep lately...I've had a lot on my mind lately (the announcement of round 2 with the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest on the 13th, a big scare concerning my grandfather back in NYC, etc). I'm sure the tree gods will hate me for the amount of paper that I use to work this method, but I think they'll forgive me seeing as how a lot of my stories contain some sort of nature spirit that brings some intrigue to the storyline. It's not a horrible trade off, and I tend to reuse the paper I use anyways, so it's not a complete waste.

I'll also just mention that a friend of mine, Ian, has started working on a theme music piece for book one. This is very, very exciting. He also just had his senior recital this weekend, and that was fantastic. Keep an eye out for him in the future, music composition isn't dead people!

As many of you know, I have completed another life goal this weekend, which was completing the big chop so that I could donate to Locks of Love. I have my friend, Annette, to thank, for not only did she point me in the right direction (she gave me her hairdresser's information), but also for driving myself and my mother to the place in order to have this event. I have to thank Leroy too, for giving me such a great cut and service, and for just adding to the fun of that day. I think the receptionist there, however, is officially afraid of me - a part of "New York Mel" came out when she told me that Locks of Love wouldn't take dyed hair. I guess because I've heard the rejection of other people for years saying that they wouldn't cut my hair for a donation, my tone to her changed and I went into this whole monologue about how I know for a fact that they do, and that even if my hair donation wasn't going to work, they could still sell it and make a profit that way. If there was one thing that GMC did well concerning my education, it was making me a better researcher. Needless to say, the receptionist kinda ran away, and Annette and Mom laughed. I also found out that a lady that was sitting by us had overheard that conversation, and was so happy that I was donating because she in fact, has cancer - that was just another happy moment for me. So, once that braid was chopped off, I didn't cringe, nor cry. The feeling of freedom just kinda washed all over me - oddly enough, it felt like a cage had been lifted. It's the year for new beginnings, and the short hair was just the first HUGE stepping stone for me in having one.

 
 
 
 
This is also part of my "no longer hiding from the world" resolution. One of the major reasons I came out here to Santa Fe was to learn how to really enjoy life, and so far, I'm having tons of fun! :)
 
That being said, I'm now working on another "life" goal, which is actually just getting my passport. I also need it for traveling out of New Mexico, and it's rather annoying because we ARE part of the United States (it's because the state does give out state IDs to the undocumented, yada yada yada). BUT, I am really excited because once I do get my passport, it just means I'll be closer to my wish of traveling to Ireland. I do want to go to Japan and Australia as well, and even have a return to Poland (the homeland of my mother), but Ireland has been calling me for so many years now. Nothing's impossible - I will make it there one day.
 
So now, duty calls. I shall keep you posted on the writing contest announcements.

 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Santa Fe Spotlight: Canyon Road.


Canyon Road has been one of my favorite streets to visit since I first moved out here to Santa Fe. It's a huge place for artists to gather. The street is lined with numerous art galleries like Beals and Abbate; restaurants like El Farol, Geronimo, and the Compound; and there are a few coffee shops along with a little place called the Teahouse (which one day I WILL try out).


Mom and I always loved walking down here, also because it's such an energetic place. When you get to admire all of the art, hear the music, and even just look at the mountains in the distance (currently snow-capped), you just feel at peace.

The best events to ever attend on Canyon Road would be the annual Paint Out, which is usually held in the Fall, and the Farolitos Walk on Christmas Eve. The Paint Out is an awesome event to go to; all of the art galleries host artists from all over the place and you'll actually get to see them create fantastic pieces throughout the day. There's live music as well, and it's just plain fun. The Farolitos Walk on Christmas Eve is great to attend as well, even WITH the crazy amount of people that go that night. Farolitos are candlelit paper bags held down by sand, and when you line them up along the streets, it's really quite the sight. There's caroling that goes on throughout the walk, and there's plenty of hot cider and hot chocolate stands, just to keep you warm. I think I saw kettle corn stands too, from the last one Mom, Shadow, and I went to. It's basically a festival of lights, and it's really worth going to.

We brought Shadow for the walk this time around today, and you know he's having a good time when he just wants to run and weave all over the place while casting that large smile of his.

Shadow made some new friends during our walk, but we also noted another side of him that never surfaced before. Since we've gotten him two months ago, Shadow has only been around women; never men. We realized that Shadow's previous owner could have been a male, and was the one behind the neglect and harsh actions done to our boy. So we're just going to work on introducing him to guys who aren't jerks :).

So if anyone ever stops by in Santa Fe, make a trip to Canyon Road. You'd be glad you did! :)