gwynhefar: (Default)
If you're here to read my stories, here are the links to the sections/chapter for both ongoing works. This post is unlocked, but the entries themselves are friends locked, in case I want to publish these some day. If you're not on my friend's list, but want to read the stories, either friend me and let me know, or email me and I'll send you an electronic copy.

Keeper of Secrets (AKA The Liath Story)

Contents )
Dear Pinny

Contents )

Also, I have recently succumbed to the siren call that is fanfiction. If you want to read my poor contributions in that area, they are over in [ profile] gwyns_fics.

Comments, encouragement, *constructive* criticism, etc. are *always* desired and appreciated! Also, since several people have told me I should, I'm including a Paypal button at the bottom of this page. If you like my writing, and you want to help keep me in a position to continue writing, please feel free to donate. Donations are IN NO WAY REQUIRED to read the fiction. If you're not on my able to access the chapters, either reply to this post with your LJ name or send me an email - I'll see to it that you have access.

gwynhefar: (Default)
The Secret Keeper by Kate Coombs

Good lord! Guess my Liath story isn't really very unique any more.
gwynhefar: (Lady of Shallott)

Wonderful advice. I'm still totally in that stage, and it's hard because every now and then I write something small - maybe a poem, maybe just a single scene in a short story, and I can tell that it's *good*. Which makes the huge volume of crap that I write most of the time that much more depressing.

And you start to ask yourself why? If you're in this stage, you're most likely not making any kind of living on your writing, so you have a full-time job, perhaps a family, things like grocery shopping and laundry and doctor's appointments and all this other stuff that needs to be done. Why am I spending so much time and effort on something that I know will never be published, that almost no one but me will ever read, because it *sucks*. Especially those of us who grew up with the "if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well" philosophy and its corollary "if you can't do something well, don't do it at all".

So yeah, this is really good advice. And something I think all creative types need to be reminded of frequently.
gwynhefar: (Please)
My car ended up needing a $1500 repair this weekend, so I'm offering custom poems, short stories, or whatever else you can think of to try to raise the money to pay the bill. Go here if you think you can help.
gwynhefar: (Please)
Ok, so I just found out that the little problem where my car has started taking two tries to start in the morning was actually a symptom of a much larger issue to the tune of around $1400. I don't have $1400. What I have is an awful lot of debt and an uncertain job future. Since I absolutely need my car, the $1400 is going on the credit card, which I really don't want to have to do, but I don't really have a choice.

So here's where you come in. I hate begging for money, but I don't do it often, so here it goes. Click the button below to donate to my 'pay the car repair bills' fund. Every little bit helps. I am offering what little services my poor talent allows. $10 gets you a custom written poem on a topic or prompt of your choice. $20 gets you a short story. Check out my "poetry" and "writing" tags to get an idea of what I'm capable of. $30 or more gets you just about anything you want that's in my power. I do make bead jewelry, and have a decent collection of materials - ask and I'll be happy to make you something. Want an audio file of me reading your favourite poem or short story? No problem. Want an audio file of me singing your favourite song (badly)? I can do that too. I can also do icons, avatars, and custom wallpaper within certain limits.

So yeah, I know times are tough for everyone, but if you can spare just a little to help me through this minor crisis, I would very much appreciate it.

gwynhefar: (Default)
Hush, little kitty don't say a word,
Mama's gonna buy you a mockingbird

And if that mockingbird ain't tasty,
Mama's gonna make you a mousemeat pastry

And if that mousemeat pastry goes stale,
Mama's gonna find you a lizard's tail

And if that lizard's tail goes splat,
Mama's gonna buy you a scratching mat

And if that scratching mat won't scratch,
Mama's gonna find you a bug to catch

And if that clever bug gets away,
Mama's gonna buy you a catnip tray

And if that lovely nip gets old,
Mama's gonna buy you a fish of gold

And if that goldfish comes to any harm,
Mama's gonna buy you a ball of yarn

And if that ball of yarn winds down,
You'll still be the most spoiled little kitty in town!
gwynhefar: (Default)
So last night I dreamt that I had published a novel - just a short little YA fantasy thing, and I was at a conference giving out ARCs. For some reason, there was a huge trash chute next to my booth, and people kept picking up my book, flipping through it, and then throwing it down the chute in disgust. There were all of these *brilliant* writers there - authors I've loved since I was a child: Robin McKinley, Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, Jane Yolen - and they all saw this happening and were looking at me with pity. Sharyn November was there too, and somehow I'd managed to get her as my editor. She kept bringing me replacement ARCs since my table kept emptying so fast, and she kept telling me how well I must be doing, as a first time writer, and I wanted to cry and tell her "no, they're throwing them all *away*" but I was too embarrassed. And then I woke up.

Literary self-esteem issues, me? Nah.
gwynhefar: (Default)
So last night I had a dream that I was reading a book. It was a short book, maybe 120-150 pages, almost a novella. And it consisted of a number of short vignettes from the points of view of twelve people who lived in a single apartment building and never spoke to one another. The narrative would switch back and forth among the characters whenever they encountered each other - in the hallway, the elevator, the parking lot, the laundromat, etc. It was all interior monologue about the little (and not so little) domestic dramas of these 12 people. In particular, you find that the man in 4A has a crush on the woman in 3B and vice versa, until at the very end, 3B says hello to 4A by the mailboxes, the first dialog in the whole book.

It was a really neat idea. Now I think I'll have to write it. As if I didn't have enough writing projects to work on.
gwynhefar: (Default)
I am trying to get back into the writing habit, and to actually make some progress on the things I'm working on. So for those of you who do occasionally read what I post here, I have a proposition. Reply to this post with a question for any of my characters - major or minor - and I'll write their answer. No guarantee you'll get a straight answer though :)

Hopefully as an exercise in character development it'll help me flesh out some of what I already have as well.
gwynhefar: (Default)
I think I've determined that the part of writing I suck most at is character development. The problem is that the characters mostly show up in my head as fully fleshed out people. I forget, sometimes, that they're not in the *reader's* head.

I was writing a scene yesterday for Keeper of Secrets (yes, I *am* still working on that) and it occurred to me that if someone who had been reading what I've posted of that story so far had read that scene, Tommy's involvement would seem like it came from left field. Because I'm finally getting to the part of the plot where Tommy becomes important, and yet I haven't laid the groundwork yet. Y'all don't *know* Tommy - he's showed up in what, two scenes so far?

I get too focused on the "and this is what happened next" part, and I forget that in order for it to work, the reader has to *see* those little daily interactions that let you get to know a character *before* the character does something important that only makes sense if you know that person.

So here I am writing this really important scene where Tommy does something that has all these profound implications, but only if you know his history and his personality and his relationship with Annie - none of which I've actually *shown* yet.


Character bio sheets for RPGs sound so much easier, why don't novels work that way?
gwynhefar: (birds of a feather)
I am, and always have been, a book lover and a fangirl. I admit it - I don't just get enjoy books - I get obsessed with authors, devouring everything they've written, dreaming up fantasies of somehow being transported into their worlds, meeting and befriending their main characters, and generally writing epic Mary Sue fanfics in my brain long before I'd ever even heard of fanfiction.

People like Susan Cooper and Robin McKinley were queens in their distant palaces, sitting on their finely crafted literary thrones and generously dispensing amazing tales for my grateful and worshipful enjoyment. I remember vividly a point in middle school where I had to do a report on my favourite author who was, at the time, Anne McCaffrey. Being that she was a contemporary genre writer, I had a hard time finding some of the biographical information I needed. So I sent a letter to her publisher, asking for the information for my report. Several weeks later I received a rather stuffed envelope from Ireland - Anne herself had written me back. Ok, so she included her standard FAQ (although it wasn't called that at the time), but she also included a letter just to me, answering my specific questions and wishing me luck on my report. The letter was type-written, but it was also *hand-signed*. I was over the moon. I still have it. It was this incredible moment of connection between me and someone I viewed as being the next best thing to royalty.

Today, responded to a post on Peter S. Beagle's Facebook with a question, and two minutes later, Peter himself responded with the answer. And yeah, I gave a little fangirl squee, but nothing like the reaction Anne McCaffrey's letter evoked twenty years ago.

What has changed?

The short answer is "the internet." Ok, so the internet existed when I was in middleschool. But it wasn't something *ordinary* people used. It wasn't until the early nineties with the development of internet service providers like America OnLine and Prodigy that the general public began to interact online. I was, unsurprisingly, an early adopter - my family had AOL (one of my friends had Prodigy, and we had long arguments over which was better). The internet, for me, became more than anything else a way for me to indulge my inner fangirl. I'm embarrassed to say that there are still floating out in cyberspace posts I made on the Mercedes Lackey fan list in the mid-nineties signed "Gwyn'he'far shena Tale'sedrin."

Of course, the fact that the fans were online meant that the authors would eventually follow. The invention of Web 2.0 technologies like blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. meant that the social gap between celebrity and fan as narrowed to the point that in some cases it's nearly non-existent.

This is the world we live in now. And it's *incredible*! The revelation that authors are real people too sounds like it should be obvious, but it's something I just didn't *get* before things like author blogs. However, when you spend your time reading about the latest antics of Poppy Z. Brite's many cats, Patrick Rothfuss complaining about the all the folks who keep asking when the new book will be out (It'll be out when I'm finished, dammit!), Robin McKinley grumbling about reading proofs and wondering why she thought writing would be such a great career after all, and Neil Gaiman posting pictures from *inside* the Academy Awards, well . . . it's hard to maintain that difference.

And that's not even mentioning the wonderful published authors I have actually following and commenting on this blog. *waves*

Is my fangirl squee gone? Hell, no. Hey, Will Shetterly is following me on Goodreads, and did I tell you - Peter S. Beagle actually answered my question! *squee*

But the artificial divide is shrinking. And I'm glad. Reading about writers I admire and respect talking about writer's block and recalcitrant characters and days when they spend four hours writing 100 words is what gave me the courage to actually start writing myself.

There was a time when I thought being an author meant you were somehow touched by Grace, above the rest of us puny humans. I have to admit, all things equal, I like them down here on earth better.
gwynhefar: (Default)
I'm trying to decide where to go with this . . .

The original idea was to do the whole thing as a series of letters, with the reality of what happened at the beginning only being truly revealed at the end. The whole thing is supposed to span about 7 years.

But . . .

A. started giving me a *lot* more backstory than I expected. There are other things I want to tell now - things that can't logically be explained through the medium of one person who was there writing to another person who was there.

Moreover, the scene that originally sparked this whole thing was just a flash of the discovery of A. last letter to Pinny by a third party. Obviously the discovery must be narrated outside of the letter context even if the story actually ends with the last letter.

So I'm torn. If I continue with the letter sequence, there's just so much of the story I won't be able to tell. If I alternate between letters and narrated scenes, then it will be difficult to have the gradual revelation through A.'s words that I imagined.

Hmm . . . maybe if I intersperse the letters with narrated scenes from the point of view of other people that A. meets - people who also don't know the story, and therefore can't give it away too early, but are still able to provide an outside perspective . . .

I'm thinking aloud here, obviously. Damn story in my head doesn't want to come out the way I want it. *sigh*
gwynhefar: (Default)
I just spent half the morning drawing a circular calendar diagram and conversion tables so that I can properly convert from the Doloran calendar to Associated Standard Years and back again. Note, this will *not* be vital to the plot of the story. I could tell you that 7 Trucidula II, 2357 in the Doloran calendar was 58/2357 and you'd believe me and it wouldn't make any difference to the plot. But, in fact, 7 Trucidula II, 2357 is actually 352/2357 ASY. And I know this. Just as I know that 58/2357 was actually 18 Congregula of that year in the Doloran calendar.

Because I am a big fat geek.

EDIT: And because I want to show off just how much of a geek I am, the conversion sheet I created is here:

And for you hardcore folks that get a kick out of extreme geekery, how it works: )
gwynhefar: (Pirate's Alley)
[ profile] s00j concert last night was wonderful! It was a small venue, with only a handful of people there, and while I could have wished s00j a bigger audience, I actually really liked the intimacy of it. I got to meet some great people, and the other two members of the Traveling Fates were wonderful. I shall be buying CDs from them as soon as I can afford it again.

Also, while in New Orleans, I made a point to go to Pirate's Alley. I cannot describe the feeling of being there, on that street, where my novel takes place; of putting my hand on the wall of the building that *is* the Black Rose; of smelling the unique scent of New Orleans mingled with the fragrance from the Cathedral garden; of sitting drinking rum and cranberry juice in the bar whose interior will inform the layout of Liath's bar. I took tons of notes. It was incredible, and surreal, and wonderful. I need to go back!
gwynhefar: (Pirate's Alley)
So the building in Pirate's Alley I was thinking of using for Liath's bar? It's the Faulkner House, where William Faulkner lived when he wrote his first novel. Which is really cool, except that I would feel weird about co-opting such a historic site for my own uses, if that's even legal -- do you need a building owner's permission to use it in fiction? So I think what I'm going to do is (fictionally speaking) pry open the alley between the Faulkner House and the building next to it, and insert the Black Rose there. Problem solved. And if people actually end up reading this (assuming I ever get it finished) and go to Pirate's Alley searching for a building that's not really there, that's just icing on the cake :)

Oh, and I totally need a Pirate's Alley icon.

EDIT: I have a Pirate's Alley icon!!
gwynhefar: (Default)
So, this is a story I've been working on for a long time, and for the past year or so, I've finally been able to get some actual scenes written. Some of you have been following my I'm sure frustratingly sporadic posting of this story for some time. Others may not have read any of it at all. I decided that since I've been skipping around so much it's high time I gave y'all a guide at least to what order the bits that have been posted so far should be read. Keep in mind that not only does the narrative itself skip around a lot (among other things it switches back and forth between post-Katrina New Orleans and 1st century AD Ireland) but there are also a lot of scenes in between that have not yet been written. So I'm not promising true coherency, but things will probably make the most sense if read in this order.

AUTHOR'S NOTES: such as they are. Liath is pronounced the same as Leah. It means 'grey' in Irish. I don't know if it's actually ever used as a name in Ireland, but assume for the sake of my story that it is. Any historical inaccuracies in this or any other bit of the story (which I think will end up as a novel if I ever actually finish it) will be covered under the 'no one really knows what Celtic society in ancient Ireland was really like, so I can make up whatever I want' excuse. I'm also claiming artistic license in having my ancient Irish characters using modern Irish words and phrases, since I don't know Proto-Celtic. Actually, I don't know Modern Irish either but I have a dictionary and a grammar book. Anyone who *does* know Irish please let me know if I got something wrong.

Introduction: The Black Rose
Meet Liath
Meet Annie
Liath has mother issues
Liath's Interlude #1
Meet Bruce
When Liath met Bruce
Liath in 1926
Annie's first day
Annie's impressions of Liath
Liath's Interlude #2
Annie gets a phone call
Liath's Interlude #3
Liath's liberation
Meet Annie's parents
Liath's return
This takes place waaay later

More will be forthcoming. Really.
gwynhefar: (Default)
Today's offering is a what-happened-next version of The Tinderbox and might make more sense if you were to read that first.

The wedding festivities lasted a whole week, and the dogs sat at the table, and stared with all their eyes. The people were a little nervous, for they had seen the dogs bash the old king and queen to pieces, but the old king had not been very beloved, and the dogs were very well behaved, even if they did look a little odd. Also, the people loved the new king, who had rescued their princess, and could forgive him anything, even his dogs.

The new king was very personable, and he talked easily with the common folk, for not too long ago he had been one of them, and understood their ways and their troubles, and spoke as if he cared. When he was not talking with his guests, he was gazing longingly at his new queen, and everyone could see how much in love they were.

Of course, everyone was curious about the dogs, and many asked the new king where he had obtained such astounding creatures. The king wasn’t about to tell anyone of the tinderbox he had stolen from the old witch he’d killed on the road, so for each person who asked he spun a different story, each more improbable than the last, and the people laughed, and exclaimed to one another about their clever new king.

Eventually, however, all good things must come to an end, and after the week was done, the people reluctantly went back to their lives, and the palace workers began the long task of putting the place to rights after such a large celebration, and the new king took his new queen to bed.

The new king was, perhaps, not very smart, or maybe he just trusted his new wife so much, for he left the tinderbox in plain view on the bedside table. And late that night, while the soldier-king slept the sleep of the well-satisfied, the new queen took the tinderbox and struck it once . . . twice . . . three times.

And in an instant they were there before her: the dog with eyes as large as teacups, the dog with eyes as large as mill-wheels, and the dog with eyes as large as towers. And at her command, the dogs fell upon the king and tore him to pieces, while the old witch watched through the new queen’s eyes.

In the morning, she would play the grieving young widow, and tell how the dogs had turned on their master, and how she had barely escaped with her life. She would declare an entire week of mourning, to complement the week of celebration just past, and she would offer a great reward for the death or capture of the dogs, who would of course never be seen again.

But at night she would hold her tinderbox and laugh – not the cackle of an old woman, but the sweet clear laughter of a young girl – and rejoice in the luck that had placed the soldier in her path. For soldiers are easily led, and this new body was really much better than the last one.

We're up to $125 now, but more is still needed. Please considering sponsoring us and help me get home for the holidays!
gwynhefar: (Default)
Today's installment:

Come away with me, into the woods
The path is no place for little girls
Can’t you see where it leads?
An old toothless spinster, helpless in bed
Worn out, torn down, by hard work and age
Is that where you want to go?
Is that who you want to be?

Wouldn’t it be better
To run free through the trees?
The path is hard and rough, calloused by hundreds of feet
Come feel the caress of soft moss beneath your paws!
Little girl, with your scarlet cloak,
Have you ever felt the bare wind in your ruff?
Do you know the sweet smell of life, and death
Or the sharp tang of fresh blood on your tongue,
Ten times sweeter than custard.

Come away with me, into the woods
Where you can chase butterflies all day long
And catch them too!
Where you can run free through the hills all night
And howl yourself to the blessed moon!
And in the morning all they will find
At the edge of their precious path:
An empty basket, and a huddle of torn red cloth.

gwynhefar: (Default)
These started yesterday, with [ profile] shadesong's wonderful poem here. Now it's my turn.

From the time she was a child, I followed her. My brothers were content to stay at home and wait for rescue, but I could not stay still. My brothers left only once a day to fly around the mountain, but they took no joy of it. They ate what the dwarves brought them with little thought, and slept on gilded perches. I slept on rough tree-bark and ate whatever I could find. I gloried in the feel of the wind beneath me and the sun warm upon my feathered back. And I followed her, a dark shadow flitting from rooftop to tree branch. She never saw me.

I was there when she learned of our existence, and when I saw her tears I knew what she would do. I was with her when she left our parents’ house and I followed her into the wide world. I was with her when she came to the sun. Remembering how the first Raven had freed him, he burned bright in welcome, as I had known he would, and his heat made her flee (as I had known she would). I was with her when she came to the moon, and he, smelling my carrion breath, turned her away also. As I had known he would. And I was with her when she came to the stars, but they merely winked knowingly at me as they gave her the key.

That night, I stole the chicken bone from her pocket while she slept and hid it at the top of the tallest tree in the forest. I am a Raven. It is my nature to steal that which is valuable.

When she came at last to the glass mountain and found the key missing, I hoped she would turn back. And when she cut off her own finger to open the door, I felt ashamed. But only for a moment.

And so at last I followed her home. And when my brothers arrived for their meal I joined them one last time. I knew before I drank what I would find in the bottom of my cup. Radiant, my sister stepped from the shadows, into the light. My brothers gathered round her, human once more, and cried tears of joy.

Gazing into the eyes of the one I had followed so long, I too cried. Gripping the fatal ring in my human hand, I cried tears of sorrow for the loss of my beautiful wings.

Remember, we are taking requests -- so let us know what you'd like to see. And one lucky sponsor will get a lovely pendant by [ profile] kythryne at the end of project (details at [ profile] shadesong's journal). So please sponsor, and help me get home for the holidays!
gwynhefar: (Default)
The first installment of the fairy tale writing to get me to Boston for Thanksgiving has been posted here.

In addition, the absolutely wonderful [ profile] kythryne has donated a lovely Red Riding Hood pendant that will be given to a random sponsor at a drawing at the end of the project. So please, go read [ profile] shadesong's wonderful poem, and sponsor us!

I'll be posting my first contribution tomorrow, so stay tuned!


gwynhefar: (Default)

August 2014

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