Monday, November 25, 2013

Belief.

 
Belief is a power all in its own. People believe in divine forces, wishes, in each other, holidays, etc. When you suffer from one week of laziness, you believe the next week will be more productive (which it was). When you realize that hardly anyone in this world can appreciate a holiday anymore because retail stores has supplies for that said holiday months in advance, you believe that there are SOME people left who understand that Thanksgiving should NOT be skipped because of the need to buy cheaper priced Christmas gifts on that very day (and while there aren't many of them, I'm happy that there just are those people left in the world...isn't it ironic that the media is focusing on a holiday that is perceived to be the one where we're expecting something to be given to us rather on the holiday that is perceived to be the one where we should be thankful for who and what we even have?). And when you know that there is supposed to be snowfall during the weekend and you only get a dusting, you believe that perhaps the next day will be better concerning the amount the sky spews forth.
 
I'll let these do the talking:
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fair warning to any who want to live in New Mexico: people will think you live in Mexico, Arizona, or California. I guarantee that many of your friends and relatives won't remember that New Mexico is a part of the United States, let alone realizing that it is a "high desert" in the mountains so yes, we'll get all four seasons. Either way, you'll still get comments like, "It snows where you live?" or "Um, why are you still so pale when you live in hot weather?". I should start charging whenever I hear those comments, I might get my books published faster! I'll charge double for the "you speak perfect English!" or "did you need a passport?" comments! :)
 
Anyways, the snowfall yesterday was really great. Shadow loves the snow and he was super enthused when I took him off leash in the yard so he could fool around. We even managed to play a decent game of tag! For the remainder of the day, he could not wipe the tongue to the side grin he flashed after playing in the snow. I joked around before saying I should invest in a sled and let him pull me around in the yard when it snows like this, and the funny part of it all is that Shadow would really love that. He even understands "mush". Ah, the joys of owning a husky mix!
 
Editing update! I was way more productive last week. I should also thank the song, "I See Fire" by Ed Sheeran; I've been in a craze since the second Hobbit movie is coming out soon and interestingly enough, the song makes me think of book 3 too. I started last week with chapter 5, and I'll be starting on chapter 13 this week (most likely tomorrow as I am a bit under the weather today). I'm going to need a new Sharpie pen too; I started with a brand new one for this set of editing, and so far, there isn't a single page without some pink scribbles, drawn lines, and added content. And yes, I did write "pink". My red one is dead after going through ALL the edits of books 1 and 2; may it rest in peace.
 
Has anyone ever had a moment where you're editing and you write down a new sentence, only to find a similar sounding one a few paragraphs later? That's been occurring quite a bit through this first content edit. The other funny part is that while book 3 is considered new territory for me, I did have ideas about how my then trilogy now full on series was supposed to go back at 13. The point? I found that some of those ideas I hadn't seen since that age actually found its way somehow in book 3. You know what they say, what's meant to be will be and make itself work. Believe hard enough, and things shall happen!
 
Seeing as how today I feel, well, plain ol' blah, I'm going to do the unthinkable and let myself rest. Maybe I'll sneak in some of the Lilith Saintcrow novel I just started reading, or maybe I'll return to my old school Zelda games which I started up again this past weekend. Sleep first, that's for sure. And lots of tea. LOTS.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Hello 24.


My first post as a 24 year old! The birthday festivities were really great. I send out another thank you for all the wishes sent to Mom and myself, we appreciate them! I got to watch some football and have drinks with friends on the actual day, and Mom and I celebrated our "In-Between" birthdays at Tanti Luce 221 here in Santa Fe (everything was perfect!).

I'm sure you're wondering if I got any work done last week. Believe it or not, I did! I'll admit I didn't edit as much as I thought I would; I think the birthday excitement proved too much for the workaholic Mel. Since this process differs from the previous editing processes of books 1 and 2, I'm doing way more than I originally intended to. The first edit of the book I do is a content edit. Because I wrote book 3 without stopping due to a block, the content editing is going to take up way more of my time than usual (I'm not complaining, don't worry). After that, I'll need to take some time away from book 3 so that my mind can refresh before I edit for grammar and whatnot. Depending how I feel about the book after that, I either go through it all again or I send it off to my reader and take their comments into account. There's also the need to reread and perhaps do some editing again of books 1 and 2, just to make sure it is cohesive with book 3. I still intend to start book 4 in January, but depending on how the rest of this works out...I just might start writing later on.

I really do have a long way to go with the editing since I've completed four chapters so far. I have a need to restock my supply of Sharpie pens too...good thing the holiday season is almost upon us, because that means discounts! However, I do not want to think about Christmas shopping right now. Can the world get a chance to enjoy Thanksgiving first?? I like presents as much as the next person...but I'd like to give thanks first for the people and things I DO have in my life. I just want to go into a retail store and not cringe at holiday decorations stocked even before my birthday happened, that's all. Also, it'll be Shadow's first Thanksgiving with us. You can bet the boy will be spoiled more than he already is! :)

Before I go off and lose myself in the world of editing, please enjoy a few snapshots of the birthday festivities!

I melt every time I see this picture. Shadow was quite mystified at my hot chocolate birthday cake!
 
The "In-Between" birthday celebration cocktail: "Cran Ball of Fire" at Tanti Luce 221. Both innovative and delicious!
 
I am the ultimate cheesecake fiend, just so you know. Tanti Luce 221 has a cheesecake of the day option, which on that day happened to be raspberry cheesecake with raspberry sorbet. Mom had red wine poached pear with mango sorbet. I might still be dreaming about this dessert...hell, I'm still dreaming about the entire dinner! Yum!

Hey, even the "Instant Foods Queen" can cook! I made my spicy Spanish chicken with white rice for Mom's birthday dinner. One of my favorite dishes to make! :)


Monday, November 11, 2013

Oh, sh...sugar.

Break? Relaxing? What's that? What is this amazing concept you speak of?

I apparently have forgotten what it is like to do that very thing. Writing IS considered relaxing to me and I'm so used to doing so on a regular basis that not writing actually drives me nuts! The funny part about all of this is that I couldn't have started the editing process last week even if I really wanted to (and yes, I really did). I picked up a binder early last week to put my printed first draft in. I readied the manuscript to print double-spaced. By the time I reached the printed page of 179, I had the ultimate facepalm moment: I forgot to buy paper. I'm pretty sure the universe laughed at me when that happened. I could have sworn I heard in my head "Will you finally relax now, woman?!".

I can't say I haven't entirely failed at relaxing...I may or may not have been living on "The Hobbit" Facebook page and watching some of the video blogs and trailers over and over again...I may or may not have decided to choose Lee Pace over Orlando Bloom this time around...Believe me, Legolas is a huge love of mine, but I'm so intrigued by Lee Pace and his interpretation of Thranduil that it makes me watch him more than my favorite pointy-eared warrior. Even I can be a crazy fangirl, you know. Ok, maybe not "crazy"...I haven't reached that level, but a fangirl I certainly am. There will be a day where I will be that person who dresses up in costume and sleeps in a tent for the premiere of a movie like this one. *sighs* Someday.

I also read Harbinger by Philippa Ballantine during this short period of a break, which is book 4 of The Order of Deacons series. It's really great if you're into the fantasy genre, as well as a different kind of priesthood and the "dark deities" as I like to call the Geistlords. Her first book, Geist, was a little hard to get through in the beginning, but I swear it is worth it. It's also just nice to see some more women fantasy writers out there.

Do not fear, my dears! I will be picking up paper today to print out the rest of book 3. I have to start editing, I really do. The more I kept telling myself, "Take another week off, Mel", the more I really wanted to work. Book 4 is trying to convince me that I should start working on it now instead of January. It does not like to be told to stop keeping me awake at night and it laughs at me when I beg it to let me work on the cohesion and editing of the first three. The urges to start it grew stronger when I bought some new music to add to the writing playlist. I know, I know - writer problems.

It does not help that the raven familiar villain I introduced in book 3 is just so much fun to write that I am eager to return to his POV. Don't get me wrong! I love writing as the other characters, (including the character Shadow is named after) but he is just so...*sighs* I don't even think I can use a single adjective for him. Right now, I can say that if I had to write a whole book from his POV alone, I could do it. Eclipse makes me understand why some actors say it is more fun to play as the villain rather than the hero. There is a scene that keeps playing in my head concerning him and THE main character of the series and it excites me because it concerns a lot of the Native American tales concerning the animal he represents. Book 4 will also contain a lot of the armor and battle tactics research I did before writing book 3 (book 3 had a little bit of the Husaria research I did towards the end of the novel). Speaking of which, I should return to the research material I bought about Norse and Celtic mythology. There's some tales I need to refresh my mind about which will possibly be used to reference for book 4 . Possibly.

By the by, these are the last three days of my being 23. It was definitely an interesting year for sure. I cannot count all the changes that happened within it, but no matter how saddening some of them were, they were all for the better. The best thing about 23 is, of course, writing two books. I'm really looking forward to turning 24 on Thursday. It's the year that I plan in publishing book 1 (the manager and I have started the planning and money saving for it, woo-hoo!). Considering that my birthday is on a Thursday, I am TOTALLY catching TNF. I do not care that neither of my two teams are playing. It is football, and I am so going out to watch and have some beers. I never really went to a bar for the sole purpose of catching a game, and the birthday is a good time as any to start.

Alrighty then! It's time to somewhat be productive this week! :D

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fall back.


Happy November!! Of course, this is also where I say "Happy Scorpio Season". There is not a day in this month without a birthday for me. Such a happy month!

The recent time change is a bit of a doozy, however. I always love an extra hour of sleep, but I do NOT enjoy waking up at 6:30 in the morning.

I hope you all had an awesome Halloween! Shadow did not entirely hate his angel wings, but after a while they made him so nervous that we had to take them off. Poor boy. We also had a bunch of trick-or-treaters! We started to get worried because our first set of kiddies didn't even come until 7:30. There were a lot of tweens this year too and they were pretty happy they got some candy from us. I do not discriminate; I was that kid who kept trick-or-treating until I left Hoboken for Vermont. My friends and I would meet up at our lockers after school, go onto Washington Street, and just collect candy from all the stores and restaurants. In my senior year of high school (as Wednesday Addams), a couple of adults just looked at our group and said, "Aren't you guys too old to be doing this?". Our response? "We're dressed aren't we? Then give us candy already and learn some Halloween cheer." One is NEVER too old for Halloween! Those poor unfortunate souls...I guess they didn't have that much fun on the holiday in their lives.

I can also announce that I finished Champions of Arrygn on Mischief Night! The first draft is composed of 107,092 words and 287 pages of 1.5 spacing. For the month of October alone, I wrote 54,295 words. NaNoWriMo was a month early for me there! It's technically smaller than books 1 and 2, BUT this is also the first time I've written a huge novel without stopping due to a block. It's going to go through some major editing, and I have no doubt I'll edit this manuscript at least three times before feeling that I am able to put it away. While I'm working on that, I'll be returning to books 1 and 2, just to make sure it is all still cohesive. Nothing will ever be done with a capital D until I publish each book respectively.

The feeling from this does not get old. I certainly did not expect to finish two monster novels within a year. I love it!!!

Book 4, tentatively titled War of Arrygn, will begin production in January 2014.

I'm not sure when I'll start editing book 3, as I'm trying (and the key word really is "trying") to relax for a little while. Somehow I ended up writing 3,000+ words for a story that popped into my head during the weekend...go figure, right? On the day after Halloween, Mom and I did our usual tradition of a tarot reading (we usually do it on Halloween night but we were otherwise occupied with guests). Since the acceptance of my spiritual side, I usually get a slew of dreams after a tarot reading. There were times in the past where I would meditate with a friend, and somehow I would get a dream about them (I used to say I would "catch" a bit of their energy). Whenever I told them about the dream, the common reaction is a mixture between curiosity and shock; the dreams would somehow involve something that's been bugging them. Naturally, dreams after a tarot reading give me a visual of what is truly upsetting me. That day, I just thought about how I felt about some of the issues I have and wondered what I would have done if I lived in a parallel universe. Somehow after that, I ended up writing. I don't intend for this story to see the light of day; some cathartic pieces of writing are just for me alone. I don't even like writing stories that contains people I actually know. There's just too many complications when you involve real people. I'm pretty damn sure a lot of them will get pissed off if they read how I wrote about them. There's a quote by Anne Lamott describing this very situation:

"You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should've behaved better."

It's very true. It should be considered common sense the moment you befriend (or date) a writer. There are so many publishable stories I could write concerning the people who remain as well as those I've come across in my life, but out of some sense of morality, I do not. The poems I write that would involve a person? I've never given a name. People can assume all they wish, but we all know what happens when one assumes. I do take the emotion from an experience and use it in the situation my characters are in. How else will it be real to my readers?

One day I could change my mind about this. I could just say "to hell with you" and write about the people I know. And I don't like to lie. Sugarcoating people in a story just screams falseness. But that is a path I have yet to tread on, so only time will tell if I ever choose to show the stories I've written with people who do in fact exist.

With that being said, it does not exclude certain life experiences. Of course, I'm referring to experiences such as dining, festivals, hikes...you get the picture. There just so happens to be one from yesterday!

Mom and I, along with our friends, Wiola and David, had dinner last night in El Farol. El Farol is one of the oldest restaurants and cantina in Santa Fe, and it is located in the beautiful Canyon Road. Mom and I have been wanting to try it for a long time, and we were pretty excited to finally be able to dine there. I'm sure you sense a "however" coming, and you'd be right. So we get there, we're all hugs and smiles, and I'm happy that the bread basket is right in front of me. It was a sliced loaf of green chile bread...and the excitement died when it ended up being kind of dry. It happens though, so I wasn't too upset. We're all chatting, deciding what tapas to order and what entrées we'd like...and for a good chunk of time, the only staff member we came across was the busser. It wasn't until I started looking around while saying loudly, "Is there even a waiter?" (mind you, I would NEVER be like that without good cause, especially since I've worked in a restaurant for six months) did a waitress come up to us. So we order our tapas and entrées, and Mom orders a margarita. Probably about 15 minutes afterwards, there was a 4 top who sat beside us. Within moments, they had the same waitress we had. They even got their drinks (alcoholic beverages, not water) before Mom had (which she STILL did not get until another 15 min after those people got theirs). At least the margarita was on the house because of it. I had a sip of it and I was like, Holy Tequila! I've had strong drinks before, but I don't recall needing to take a deep breath afterwards, heh. When we did get our tapas, I was pleasantly surprised on how good it was. It was helping me forget the bad service...almost. I couldn't help to keep watch at the table beside us, and saw that they got their tapas AND their entrées already. Forgetting about the service just wasn't going to happen now. We eventually got our entrées; I ordered the balsamic chipotle glazed angus rib eye with mashed potatoes and asparagus, covered in cabrales butter. The asparagus was immediately sent in Mom's direction. I don't mind the taste of balsamic, as long as it is in small doses. It was very nice with the rib eye, so there's a plus. The cabrales butter is mainly blue cheese, and it doesn't take a foodie (of which I am not) to know that if not careful, too much of it can be overpowering. One look at my plate and how much cabrales butter was on it, you would scream "Holy blue cheese, Batman!". I'm adept at scraping unwanted things off of my plate, but there was one bite of rib eye where I missed a hidden chunk of the blue cheese...my eyes are now watering at the recollection of it. I also ordered a medium rib eye; when I got towards the center, it was medium rare. I can't go past medium; I actually get sick. You could imagine how sad I was to not being able to finish the rib eye because of it. Mom and Wiola enjoyed their entrées though, so it is safe to say the entrée portion was batting 2 for 4. Dessert was nice though; the tiramisu Mom and I shared was lovely, and Wiola's and David's trio of desserts was nice too. All in all, it was just kind of sad to see more of the bus boy than the waitress. It was also sad to see other tables getting things faster than we were. It's twice now that we've tried something on Canyon Road and something negative happened. I just keep thinking about my old job at the Luminaria, and how everyone would be chewed out if something like that happened. The berating would happen right then and there too; the manager would take over most of the service because of it. El Farol is quite pricey too, just like Luminaria. I've dealt with many kinds of characters who dine on expensive cuisine, and believe me, they do not skimp on what pisses them off. Oh well, I guess. There's two strikes against Canyon Road dining. We'll see what happens next.

Now, it's time for me to pick up some books and relax! :D