Wednesday, January 28, 2009

More of Glory

I've had an odd day. I took some pills this morning for a cold, and they knocked me out. I've felt odd and out of touch with things for the rest of the day, and I don't think I dare take anything else for a while.

I can't say that I have a real brain right now, either. There are a few cells bouncing around in there, but mostly they're just kind of waving at each other in passing. It's unfortunate, since I do have a lot of things that need to be done.

Russ might come home this weekend. We suspect, given how badly the weather has gone, that it won't happen. But on the off, odd chance that it does, I need to have things cleared out so I can spend time with him and not worry about FM updates or DAZ newsletters.

I just need to focus, and that's not happening today. Gah. It's not really happening. I've been working on this little note for a couple hours now, and I get a line or two written and then my mind wanders off to something else.

I guess I'll just drop another snippet of Glory here and call it good. I hope you like it.

"I must take a shower," Talis said. He pushed himself up from the chair and tottered on his feet for a moment, balancing with one hand against the wall.

"Do you need help?" Glory asked -- and blushed.

He laughed. She thought she ought to be annoyed at his reaction as well as her own, but then she laughed as well.

"As soon as I'm in the water, I will be much better," he assured her as he stumbled past.

"I hope the pipes still work," she said.

"If there is a problem, it will not last for long."

"Good. Be quick. I want a shower, too."

He paused for a moment and she almost thought he might suggest they share the shower. She didn't know what she would say if he did. Instead he shook his head, grabbed some clothing from the closet by the door, and headed into the bathroom.

She stood there, feeling... relieved?

Not really.


She had work to do. Glory moved her shoulder bag and the drawer to the side of the bed, within easy reach. She began taking things out of the secret compartment of her suitcase, preparing for the night's work. She stacked them on the table beside the bed, moved the suitcase back to the floor, and sat down to wait.

Talis didn't take long, and he certainly looked better for it afterwards, even without a shirt on. She winced at the sight of the bruises and the red, puffy area of the arrow wound.

He'd taken his hair out of the braid, too. It dripped a little water still at the end, but the shower's blower had nearly dried it to a fine, long cloak of waves.

"That hair is incredible," Glory said, shaking her head as she stood and circled him. He looked amused again. The hair seemed to roll and fall down to his waist. She had never seen such nice looking hair on anyone, man or woman, and had to stop herself from reaching out and petting it.

"In my place, such hair is a sign of..." He started to say something and stopped. "Of station."

"Has it ever been cut?"

"No. Those who brought me here say that they will cut it off if I do not cooperate, but I think they know if they try, I'll be far too angry to deal with."

She nodded. "Do you want me to braid it for you?"

"Only after you shower. I just got all the soot out."

She looked at her hands. Soot, dirt, and his blood... She shivered at the sight as the horror of the night came back. Nearly losing Talis...

"Go shower, Gloryanna," he said softly. She looked at him, marveling that he had survived, and how he seemed concerned for her. "You'll feel better."

Glory nodded and moved, though slowly, and wincing at aches and pains that had already settled into her muscles. She knelt and grabbed clean clothes out of her suitcase and headed for the shower.

And did feel better for it. The warm water pulsed against the back of her neck, loosening muscles that had almost turned to stone with stress. She wondered if Talis had done something magical with the water. Or perhaps she began to relax because she realized they had survived one hell of a hard day, and while nothing had been remotely settled yet, they had not failed. That counted for a lot in this madness.

And she had answers. Not the final answer they would need to defeat Amam, but they had taken a good many steps along the way.

Fearing she might fall asleep, she turned off the water and turned on the air to a soft warmth, letting water slip away, taking the last of the grime with it. She pulled on loose, comfortable lounge clothing, and came back out to find Talis standing by the window, a shirt pulled on, but not buttoned. It had begun to rain outside.

"Did you do that?"

"No. It's natural here, though perhaps some of my earlier work might have brought this into play. I'm not sure."

"Come and sit down in the chair," she said, tapping the back of the seat. "I'll braid your hair, and then you need to get some sleep."

He looked at her for a moment. She couldn't imagine what she saw in that shadowy stare, though. Then he nodded, as though he had made some important decision. "Yes, you are right."

Talis pulled a chair around and sat down, and she got to play with his lovely, long hair. Odd. She'd never liked doing anything with her own -- obviously why she kept it so short. But she remembered spending hours with her sister's hair when she was younger, and with doll hair.

She laughed.


"Oh sorry. I think I've just found my inner beautician. Maybe I should have taken up hairdressing as a job. My life would have been a lot calmer today."
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

So far....

That's Zaphod with a Plot Bunny Problem. (grin)

The writing is going really well, despite a round of general annoyances here at home. Russ hasn't been home since the first week of November. Because it's winter, that means I haven't been any farther than the house next door since then. It's hard to get excited about anything when it seems like the work is just one round after another of the same things -- the same walls, the same food, even the same cats. I am making changes in my own ways. New stories, of course -- and those are going well. I'm back to reading the Great Books of the Western World, too -- mainly because they are so outside my usual things that it really does make a difference in what I'm doing.

On the good side, I've been working well on Draw the Line and Glory, plus some background work on a new fantasy novel and editing Such Gifts. I've been writing 3k a day, which is what I'd like to do for the entire year, but I doubt it will happen. The rewrite of Glory is just going so well that it almost makes me bouncy. The little nuances that I can add in now that I see the whole, the rewording of sections that are not as clear as I thought they were when I first wrote them -- it's all going very well. I'm about half way through the book, and I am just amazed at how much I am enjoying it.

I am doing something entirely different with Draw the Line, the new sf novel. I am only allowing myself to write 500 words a day on it, and those are the first 500 words I do when I come to the computer. No emails, no checking websites -- nothing until those words are done. Wow, what a difference that makes, too, especially in my attitude. I feel like I've accomplished something important right away! Most days the writing flows very well, but there are others where it's a fight and might take me an hour to get them done. But I do them, with the reminder of something that I started a while back and then let go:


I suspect that at some point I'll not be able to hold myself back and I'll run with Draw the Line. But it's been fun to work this way because it's different for me. There that is again -- the need to do things differently when so much else of my life is trapped into this little house.

So, I'm happy with the writing side so far this year. I think, despite the frustration of the first couple days after the New Year started, I finally got things working better. It's going far better now, even on days like today when I can't seem to focus well on anything.

Here is a bit of Glory. This is an urban fantasy set in the near future after... well, after things changed for one reason or another. Glory, Talis and JB have just escaped a burning building. Things are about to get odd.

Snippet from Glory:

"I don't -- things happened," JB said. He still gasped. Then he put his head to Talis's chest.

That scared her enough to bring her back to her feet. But he lifted his head and nodded. "Heartbeat is erratic but strong. I don't know what happened there, Glory. Things weren't right --"

He stopped, looking past her toward the end of the building --

She spun. Mrs. Clan, silhouetted by the fire, stood by the wall. She had something in her hand and brought it up -- a weapon. Glory grabbed at her shoulder bag, reaching for her gun while her eyes focused on the enemy. Bow. Arrow. Fired as JB shouted and brought his gun up.

Arrow. Wood.

Glory grabbed her tyet in one hand and shouted for power as she reached to shove the arrow away from Talis. It didn't want to obey, already under a geas from Amam to seek out his enemy. She used her magic to thrust as hard as she could, but the arrow still came close enough to tear into Talis's shoulder.

He screamed with the pain. She hadn't expected it, not from the man who had taken so much abuse already with hardly a sound at all. JB grabbed him with one arm, fired toward Mrs. Clan with the other --

But she wasn't quite Mrs. Clan any more. The arms had lengthened, and the shape of the head mutated. Changing -- which meant the real Mrs. Clan had finally died.

"Oh shit," JB said. "Oh hell -- what --"

Glory wanted to grab Talis who whimpered and moaned, senseless now to what was going on around him. She wanted to comfort him, to help him. Instead, she brought the tyet up, whispered more words to call Eset to them, and let the red light brighten the world around her.

Aman knew what that symbol meant and took the hint. He turned and ran, dropping to four feet --

"I --" JB said. She could see his face in the bright red light. Wide-eyed, stunned. He seemed to want to speak, but she doubted he had quite found the words he needed yet. She remembered that feeling when the world had suddenly changed so drastically for her. "I -- Astu?"

Someone moved behind her. Glory spun back around, her hand lifting the tyet again.

"Me," Astu said. For some reason she even believed him -- that he was not the enemy returned in another form. "Arrow -- not good. New wood from a very old tree."

"I gathered that," she said. She looked up. Clouds suddenly raced in over the smoke-filled sky. Lighting flashed.

Astu looked up as well. "Yes, his. You need to draw the arrow and the poison out, Glory. I will talk to the spirit of the tree and maybe get her to understand. Hold him JB. This is going to be difficult."

JB nodded, plainly realizing this had gone far beyond his understanding. He didn't even try to ask any questions as he gently helped Talis lie down to the grass. Astu began to chant in his own language, his fingers brushing close to the arrow. Even though he didn't touch it, Talis still shuddered each time the fingers moved.

Talis coughed once, and blood leaked from the corner of his mouth. The storm raged overhead, but no rain fell. She feared that was very bad.

"When I pull it out, you must take the poison from him as quickly as you can. Your goddess has a gift for that."

"Yes, she does," Glory said, forcing herself to find calm again. She didn't look at the fire raging nearby. She laid her fingers on the medallion. "That's a gift she gave me. I can do it without calling her. We use it to clean up the pollution -- poisons -- in various places."

"Be quick or we will lose him. If the poison goes to his heart, there is no hope."

She nodded, her mouth gone dry.

"Sprit of the great white pine," Astu whispered. "Be kind to this creature of nature. Come gently."

He put his hand on the arrow. JB had trouble holding Talis. The wind howled around them, the fire flaring in the blasts. Glory felt his fever in that wind -- warmth that grew, and the surges that came as raggedly as his breath.

They had to help him. She feared that each breath would be the last --

But as she watched, another hand -- leaf colored, delicate -- wrapped over Astu's fingers. In the next moment the arrow came up and out.

Glory pushed her fingers over the bloody wound, ignoring Talis's shudder and gasp of pain, ignoring the blood that welled up, warm and tingling with magical power, around her hand. Glory whispered to Eset again and concentrated on the magic until she could feel the poison, black and burning within Talis. She caught it, her eyes closed as she felt out the invasion that spread through his blood. It burnt even her, but she pulled at the darkness, drawing the strings of it back out of his body. Somewhere beyond the concentration of her work, she became faintly aware that he had started to calm. Glory pulled more, and a little more, until she could not find enough to grab, though she felt a few specs, still rushing through his blood stream.

Astu put a hand on hers. "It is good. He will survive."

She drew her hand back, shaken now that she had done the work, and too aware of how close they came to losing Talis. Astu whispered words, closing the wound with a gentle touch of his hand.

Talis took a shuttering breath. Color returned to his face, and it started to rain. Good.

Glory sat back on the ground, heedless of the blazing fire that had consumed nearly the entire building. She looked at JB who glanced from her to Astu, and then to Talis, and then back at her again.

"You know, I am beginning to think that there's a hell of a lot more going on in the world than I really want to know about," he said.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cold Winter

From Storm Videos, 2009

For those of you who don't know what winter is like -- there you go. A look at the snow storm back on January 12th.

Now we are trying not to freeze our little toes off in this miserable weather. It is -13f with a wind chill of -34f (That's -25C with a wind chill of -37C). This house, as I've pointed out before, is not the best house in the winter. There is virtually no insullation. There are no storm windows on several of the windows, which means only a single pane of glass between me and the cold.

Cold being the important word. Ice (not frost) has formed on the inside of some of the windows, but I manage to keep my office warm enough. We're managing to survive. Even more than that, I'm actually getting quit a bit of writing done. I've taken back the 'Writing Comes First' Campaign, and I write 500 words each day before I even look at email. So far, that's been work on the new book, Draw the Line. I haven't written anything else on it, which means it's moving forward at a very slow rate for me... but it's been interesting to work that way. I have a lot of notes and worldbuilding and a very light outline for it. I work out more depth in the outline in notes I write out during the day, and stay a day or two ahead of the actual work.

The rest of the writing day is taken up by several other projects. I've been doing a rewrite of Glory, a final edit of Such Gifts as These, and daily notes on a new worldbuilding project that is so far not named. I've also written a new article for Vision.

Obviously, the writing part of my world has managed to swing back in. I don't expect it to last, but so far it's put me in a much better mood, despite it being very cold, and despite that Russ hasn't been home for two and a half months.

I am also back to reading The Great Books of the Western World. I'm working my way through the plays of Sophocles now, and once I got the feel for the wording, I started breezing right through them - if you can call about five pages a day breezing. In fact, I've found it difficult to put Antigone down. I am amazed at how well I have come to like this stuff.

It's an odd life.

But I seem to be surviving it.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

New Year... ugh

Hello, and welcome to 2009

So far, I want to kill my computer, destroy Forward Motion and burn all copies of Vision. I have had nothing but one frustration after another today while trying to get things done. It's 11:30 pm and I'm no closer to getting some of this done. My only hope is that Mar can figure something out.


I think if we can get past this point, things will not be so bad. But I have to say that as a first day of the year, I'm not really impressed. I am going to go crazy if the year keeps going like this first day. I hope this isn't an omen.

I have started a new book. I've gotten about 500 words on it. I'm going to work on it some more later because I refuse to start the year out that badly. So there's something to take my mind off the rest of this.
Posted by Picasa