Christmas has come and gone, and so have both my decorations and my health. Now before you all start attacking me for my un-Christmassy spirit, let me lay it all out for you: new baby, new house after 10 months of bumming off family, hard-core Holiday season. (We were “smart” and moved the WEEK of Thanksgiving. Brilliance, I know.) Add on to all of that a cleanliness complex and the intense desire to see my living room without looking through a billion nutcrackers I had no other place for, and you might begin to get an understanding of why everything came down FAST. I mean, I literally finished college, came home, became a stay-at-home mom because that sounded fun, and spent the next week trying to cook a myriad of cookies with the four-year old for Christmas presents, because “that’s cheaper.” Lies. Alllll lies. Next year, people will get a craft from the boys and be happy with it. So there!
All that said, the stress and insanity have led to that age-old bane of winter: the Drippy Nose Cold. I’m not quite sure how to survive. My bathroom trash cans are over-flowing with wadded up tissues, my nose runs like Niagara Falls every time I slightly test gravity, and I think I pulled a muscle in my neck from sniffing. How’s that for a trip to the doctor’s? “Doc, I need some of the good stuff. I’ve pull a muscle in my neck and can’t see straight.” “Alright, how’d you do it? Car accident? Slept wrong? Wrestled polar bears?” “Ah…no… I sniffed too much.” I can just hear my mother telling me to go blow my nose. Doesn’t she understand, though, that you can only blow your nose so many times before a.) you are living in the bathroom blowing your nose every 5 seconds or b.) your nose turns into a massive bloody appendage worthy of a Kleenex commercial.
Alas, life must go on. My head may feel like a gigantic melon, my cheeks might feel full of rocks. My nose may be an endlessly dripping facet of nasty, and I might use up all the tissues and toilet paper in the house, but life must go on. So, I valiantly head forward, back into the melee, armed with a roll of Charmin and my trusty Lysol. If I fail to re-emerge, send in the foot patrol. I might need some Dayquil or something. Maybe, JUUUUUST maybe, if I survive, I’ll share a little of the chapters I’ve edited. Maybe. IF I survive.
I’ve been gone for so long, and I’m probably going to vanish again for another week or two as life wraps up. Oy, that life… Keeps getting the best of me. I have a few updates to post really quickly, though, as well as some shameless promoting of a fabulous artist.
First, Calypso is nearing the halfway point! YAY! I know, I know, it’s dragging by. Trust me, I want it out there just as much as y’all do. I’m beginning to understand why it takes some books years to appear. There are so many details and subplots and character flaws to fix! For those of you out there that are authors, tackle massive projects with care… I’m beginning to wonder just what I’ve gotten myself into. As it stands, chapters 1 – 9 are fully edited (first round edits), so chapters 10 – 18 remain. Luckily, the second half is more concise and coherent, so it should be quicker. Now, just to stay within my 80K to 120K word limit for Sci-Fi… Can I pull a J. R. R. Tolkien or Diana Gabaldon please and have it be 150K? Please?
Second, Puck is on hold indefinitely. I am so incredibly disappointed in myself for this, but I’ve had to face the reality that I’m tackling too many projects at once. I hope to get a few chapters up in the coming weeks, but don’t hold your breath. School lets out, and I’ll be immediately jumping into “homeschooling” my son (if you count Pre-K as school, which I do) and preparing for the arrival of the fourth member of our little clan.
Third, the lovely Li Bromfield has completed the new cover for Puck! For those of you new to S. G. Ricketts, she is the same artist who did my cover for Calypso. She has an amazing talent for drawing the scene right out of a writer’s mind, literally and figuratively. Here are my two covers done by her:
She’s on deviantart.com under the-Li and does a myriad of different things. She does commissions for indie authors, gamers, and those who love awesome art. Here are a few of my personal favorites, but remember: you can always look through yourself. Who knows? Maybe your idea or book will be her next masterpiece.
We writers (and artists in general) know that true art is an expression of ourselves. Whether it be a commission or a free-flowing piece, there must be that little grain of something that says, “This is who I am.”
I’d lost that with “Calypso.” I’d become so focused on the fame and the finish line that I lost sight of why I was writing in the first place: to tell a story. I’d lost my connection to Kira in my multiple attempts to make her more intriguing. I’d lost my connection to the romance and mystique in my failed efforts to create more drama. I’d worn myself out trying to match the political intrigue and mind-games that some of the Greats achieve. I’d lost myself.
I would love to tell you that it’s all better now, but that wouldn’t be true. Perhaps this is any writer’s struggle, the tug between how you want the characters to sound and how you keep your connection to them. I don’t know. I know very few writers who have openly said that they struggle to connect. I can tell you that it is getting better. As I stop demeaning myself, I’m beginning to see the qualities of Kira that are also in me. Rather than seeing myself in the weak, whining, scared child who was my first incarnation of Kira, I can see myself in the overly-righteous, stubborn, logical Kira that is beginning to form. I am finding my connection again.
This may seem trivial to many of you who read this blog. I know it’s not the usual topic I blog about (not that I’ve been blogging much lately), but it’s a major part of my journey. On top of that, if I’m struggling with this I’m sure some other writer somewhere out in the void is having the same problem.
If you are, take heart. Step back and examine what is wrong. Why can’t you connect? What part of your character is blocking you? I’ve been amazed by the complexity of the human spirit. I can at once be the self-effacing girl-child that I first wrote freely, but I can also be the strong leader that is now beginning to flow. Hopefully, the revelation or the struggle helps someone. Otherwise, I’ll be content with discovering more about myself.