Moody gives a thumbs up

pitchwars bio: scary part one. (not even the scary part)

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

Hi!

for starters, here’s the link back to all of the fabulous pitchwar participant’s bios. And when is say Fabulous, I mean this kind of Fabulous:

Fabulous-Thor-Meme-Gif

A bit about me: 

I have been writing since the dawn of time (since I’m kind of old, this is almost a true statement). I have always written specfic of some kind or another and didn’t realize until I was well into my thirties (true story),  that I mostly read specfic… I always assumed I just read (wait for it!) Books!

Seriously, it didn’t even dawn on me. Amusingly, my favourite book of all time (meaning childhood-me) isn’t specfic, it’s The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton).  I actually think there should be a club for writers who point to that book as their first source of writing inspiration. We’d easily fill up a sports stadium (go sports!). As an adult, my favourite is The Road (Cormac McCarthy), which can be argued as non-specfic, but it’s mostly dystopic, so I say it fits. It’s ok if you don’t agree. I support.  But even if you are all like “dude, so not specfic”, you can’t argue that this, below, is an outstanding bit of writing:

No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one’s heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes. So, he whispered to the sleeping boy. I have you.

I mean, come on already! gah. Confession time: I like words. My biggest challenge is information delivery: I tend to under-explain and am working on finding the right balance so readers are interested and intrigued, but also not lost in the narrative. I craft a mean sentence.

Me in a nutshell:

  • Luke Skywalker. The Empire Strikes Back
  • X-Files
  • Penny Dreadful (OH VANESSA)
  • In love with the Salk Institute for Biological Studies
  • EBM/Industrial. A smattering of witchhouse, doom/drone and apparently the score to The Last of Us
  • Coffee
  • I have an occasional vampire problem

sexy

  • All of the quizes point to Hufflepuff. I am 100% on board with this

I currently write YA novels and adult short stories. Usually fantasy (urban/real world kind of stuff) or horror.  My most recent short story was published in The Dark.  I’ve had a few others published, mostly back in 1804 (because I’m kind of old, remember?), some of which received honourable mentions in the Years’ Best Fantasy & Horror.  I’ve had the honour of being a CP/Beta reader helper-person for some pretty amazing books. I’m bad with commas. Good with characters.

The novel I’m subbing for pitchwars (Gingerbread) is a loose (as a goose) YA re-imagining of Hansel & Gretel. It’s about Blood cults and nephilim and inspired by the Voynich Manuscript (kind of?). It’s about birthright and protection and loss and sacrifice and flowers and mostly it’s about a brother & sister who went into the woods and into a spooky house and badness ensued. Warning: it kind of has a vampire in it. Fo’shizzle.  But I promise it’s a good thing.

I tend to write books around makeshift families.  In Gingerbread, my main character is in a pretty heavy relationship with her dude bestie, but it’s not romantic. Technically it’s queer-platonic, but as I re-write this draft my MC’s sexual identity is shifting (she’s somewhere in the grey-ace spectrum), so I can’t say for sure what it’ll be at the end. But I can tell you that as of RIGHT NOW:

she won’t get the boy. If she gets anyone it’s a girl. Also there’s no real getting. More like unexpected crush-time. Her name is Douglas.

It’s still not a romance. It’s not even a love story. Do not get your hopes up. :) Unless you count the queerplatonic relationship she’s in with her bi-male-bestie as romantic, WHICH I DO!

In case you’re curious about my writing, I present this gem from when I was in Grade 2:

FullSizeRender

 

Owl friend, way to help your elephant buddy. :)

In summary: I want to write (and read!)  books that remind me of Laura Ruby’s Bone Gap, combined with Leah Bobet’s An Inheritance of Ashes, if you add in three dashes of Holly Black’s The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, a heavy helping of Erin Morgentstern’s The Night Circus and pretty much anything found in  Caitlin R. Kiernan’s work.

I don’t always remember what books were about, but I always remember how they made me feel.

lovelyday

Thanks for reading!

Moody gives a thumbs up

sometimes, when it’s late and i’m left to my own devices

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

I let my voice sneak in extra into my prose:

“Poet!” I screamed his name, a betrayal because he was the last person I wanted. The gloom lifted. A silvery haze wove through the trees. I was alone. Panic. I dug the vial out from the pile of snow, turning it over and over in my hand. Cold had thickened the liquid, it was sluggish and heavy. I unfurled the piece of paper. Read it out loud, or tried, my voice an inaudible tremble of sound and fear. I pressed the paper into a rough bit of fallen wood, holding it open with my thumb and forefinger.

SEVEN FOR A SECRET.

An address nowhere near the Blood House. The address was vaguely familiar, calligraphy done in a steady, specific hand. Curl and knife-sharp, lines so thin they didn’t end, but disappeared into the white of the paper, fading away.

No time. No deadline. An impossible invitation with no expiry date. Now or later. Now or never. I opened my mouth and stretched my jaw. Something cracked and something peeled away. A half-formed scab, a bit of dried blood. I pushed my tongue into my cheek and winced.

No time. No deadline.

But how soon is Now? Do I go. Stay. Fight, when I’m so tired from crying?

Terror.

Sometimes his name was prophecy.

Hrm, I also realize in this piece I need to fix some continuity. Yay for blog posts. Also, tense. ugh!

Moody gives a thumbs up

last*dance

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

in case you were wondering, and it’s really ok that you weren’t, I discovered a major source of my word-Smithing* influences last week:

I’m so glad you came
I’m so glad you remembered
To see how we’re ending our last dance together
Reluctantly cautiously but
Prettier than ever I really believed
That this time it’s forever

But Christmas falls late now, flatter and colder
And never as bright as when we used to fall

(Last Dance: the Cure)

Seriously.

And also:

She walked out of her house and looked around
At all the gardens that looked back at her house
Like all the faces that quiz when you smile

And he was standing at the corner
Where the road turned dark a part of shiny wet
Like blood the rain fell black down on the street

And kissed his feet she fell
Her head an inch away from heaven
And her face pressed tight
And all around the night sang out like cockatoos

“There are a thousand things”, he said
“I’ll never say those things to you again”
And turning on his heel he left a trace of bubbles
Bleeding in his stead

(Like Cockatoos: the Cure)

*see what I did there? :D

I don’t listen to the Cure in regular rotation anymore, mostly because I listen to music on my phone and am too lazy to update it much, if ever, so it’s mostly the same three hundred William Control songs and a smattering of other things like Cygents and iVardensphere and yanno, whatever else shows up on shuffle. Like Matt Good, sometimes.

I hadn’t been to a big, full-on stadium show in years. Maybe the last was Nine Inch Nails? Maybe? But sitting there, with the lights and the dancing drunkos, and the crowd that was easily almost the same age as me, listening to Robert Smith sing exactly how he should, it hit me.

Influence. In the way words form. In images. In my obsession with using winter imagery and strange combinations of words and structure. The sadness, or longing. Hopeful loneliness.  And the cold.

I’m still on vacation, but now it’s a staycation. My feet are sore and swollen and angry for walking 70KM in as many days. I bought art and ate delicious food and snuck down dark alleys and walked with Fantomes, and I bought art. Invested in art, actually.  And today I had hipster coffee and hipster toast and am looking out over the city and the sky is all bluebirds.

I’m still working on Gingerbread, it’s not the first draft anymore but technically it changed direction when I wasn’t looking so the bits I’m writing are first draft. I’m trying to prep for pitchwars, because any goal is a good goal and the experience of it will be super good for me, I think.  I’m also better at deadlines: left to my own devices I’d probably play nothing but Last of Us because OMG that game broke my little tiny heart (I am, however, listening to the soundtrack/score RIGHT NOW. If you like moody/sad instrumental I strongly recommend).

Anyway, here’s a snippet of what i wrote today. I don’t think it’s right,

A ball of pain so sharp it may as well have been made of thorn or razor wire, spread through my gut. “I am not missing anything. I’m just trying to duck the bullshit coming out of your mouth before it sticks because as of right now, I don’t think any amount of soap would wash your crap off. Seriously. You ramble on about nothing, lie to me about the Crimson, about yourself. If I asked you what colour the sky was, you’d probably tell me cotton candy because you think I’m idiot enough to fall for whatever sweet comes out of your mouth.”

too many “mouths” mostly, and the end doesn’t stick (ha) the way i want it to, but it’s a start.

Okay. Onward!

Moody gives a thumbs up

happily never after

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

for the first time in, oh, a year, I’m writing a short story. I should be writing the novel, but my bestest writing Twin sent me the open call for this anthology: Over the Rainbow.

And lo’, now I’ve written about 2K on this weird, slightly mean short story about these two henchpeople who work for the evil Queens, and whose job is to ensure Princesses don’t get their happily-ever-after, but my theory is the promise of happy-ever-after is harmful, and sets people up for disappointment. Not sure it’s overly original in scope but the narrative is, and the characters are assholes, and I haven’t actually written protags who are jerks before, and I’m really, really enjoying it.

I want to write pages and pages and pages of these jackasses, but for that, we need a plot that can support more than four thousand words.

We will see.

 

 

Moody gives a thumbs up

when you blow it up.

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

Today’s trip through writing class was (partially) to take a piece of a scene you had written and blow it up. Not literarily, mostly just expand. Add some air.

This is the original:

Quince was quiet, then he reached out and opened his hand. I dropped the keys in his palm and watched as he stepped forward, his left hand on another tree trunk for balance. He brought the keys up and started to scrape their edge into the cold wood.

I waited, and listened. I watched him write letters and I watched him carve a heart and when he was done he stepped in, stepped close to me and I kissed his cheek and smelled lime and linden flowers and it was like we’d won some battle, like we were victors, finally, and I lifted my hand and pressed the soft of my mitt into the bark, into the heart and thought I could feel it beating.

This is the blown up version of same-same:

Quince was quiet, then he reached out and opened his hand. I dropped the keys in his palm and he stepped forward, his left hand on another tree trunk for balance.

I waited. Listening to the rustle of dead leaves, the brittle back and forth of their fragile conversation. Quince turned the key over in his hand, a study in dull and sharp edges. He pinched it, his fingers shaking in the cold. He looked at me, and I nodded. He didn’t need permission, but it was there anyway, a reminder in the subtle movement of my chin that it was okay and I was here and that I loved him.

He pressed the tip of the key into the wood. A bit of bark lifted, then fluttered down. He scraped and scraped and scraped and the bark paled, and a drop of clear liquid seeped from the cut Quince made; a new wound that would never fully close over. He started with Q and ended with K and he rubbed at his nose and I wasn’t sure if it was because he was cold or because his nose always ran when he cried, but I didn’t ask. I pulled up the impossibly puffy collar of my second hand coat and watched him carve that heart, and I’d hoped this was a kindness, what I’d asked him to do,  but it was too late to start over.

He half-smiled at me when he was finished, the keys in his hand dead, lifeless things. He stepped in, stepped close to me and I smelled the familiar of him; lime and linden flowers. I kissed his cheek and it was like we’d won a battle out here in the middle of this nightmare forest. We were victors, finally, and I lifted my hand and pressed the soft of my mitt in the the bark, over the heart he’d drawn, and thought I could could feel it beating.

I realize we’re supposed to be all calm, cool & collected and the what not about our own work, but I am pretty proud of 10 minutes worth of work. This book is going to be good if it kills me :) or gives me the elevensies, which is much more likely than death.

Moody gives a thumbs up

and, poet.

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

I’m about 50% done the almost-last (OMG) edit on this book and finally, FINALLY I can admit to being slightly proud about some/most/parts of what I’ve written and that makes me super happy. Like this.  When you name a character something ridiculous and he’s never supposed to show up and then he does? And then he says something that makes you laugh?

It’s like that:

 

“If you’ve brought a flask and you are not sharing…”

I turned. Poet. His hand out like he was demanding my entrance fee to this party. “No, not -“

“She’s not drunk, Poet.”

“Well, that’s disappointing.”

I cleared my throat. Poet, of the Rupprecht-Brodsky Poets, or something because all ten-dollar names had lineage, looked at me like he was bored out of his tree and tapped Quince on the nose. “Master Woodcock.”

Quince grimaced.

“Still an unfortunate last name,” Poet said in a sigh. “You could change it, you know, after the wedding?”

“Poet.” I widened my eyes and shook my head.

“I didn’t mean to you.”

“For fuck’s sake, Poet,” I hissed.

He fiddled with the button on his blazer. His boring, regular, funeral blazer. He was wearing a boring funeral tie and dull shoes. Someone else had dressed him. Silver cufflinks glinted when he talked, his hands always part of the conversation. “Oh come on, Haven, if we all act dead they won’t know which one of us they’re supposed to bury.”

Quince gasped. All I could manage was a blink.

Poet leaned in, his hand on my shoulder. “Arwen told me about the birth star.” His breath was soft and warm. “Be careful,” as his other hand touched the mark on my wrist. “Leave as soon as you can and do not come back here. And hide this mark.” He kissed my hair. “From everyone.” He stepped back and bowed lightly at the waist.

The scent of rot and roses bloomed around me.

Moody gives a thumbs up

the hardest part is starting

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

And I think that’s because nothing makes me feel more inadequate than sitting down to write.

Which is frightening because, all things considered, it’s really the only thing I know how to do.

Moody gives a thumbs up

where did you come from?

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

The girl could only keep looking, watching, feeling her heart in all its new pieces settle into the depth of her body like sand on the bottom of the ocean. As she watched him, her eyes settled on the dark blue pullover he was wearing. A spike collared bulldog stared back in warning. Something was written in football jersey script below the animal, but letters were missing, worn through, the remaining spread themselves across the width of the shirt. The girl ran her eyes across them, sounding a word out in her mind.

P ATH ETIC.

As she pieced them together she put her hand to her mouth to keep from crying.

anyway, going through old files so I can clear out some hard drive space and i keep finding single page snippets of stuff that has no contextual meaning. At all.

Moody gives a thumbs up

maybe it’s the tea.

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

Two weeks and a day ago i bought gerbera daisies at the IGA. Thought it was a Sobey’s because I want the free breadknife that comes when you collect the stamps, but apparently just because you are owned by a thing doesn’t mean you get the benefits of the thing.  The daisies, purple and yellow, smaller than the width of my palm and stored in a canning jar, don’t seem to want to wilt. It’s winter, anyway, and they’re up and sturdy and taking up the same amount of space as they did on the day i brought them home, when i was walking around the grocery store, mostly numb and crying.

I miss Dexter. I miss his little chirpy face. I miss his obnoxious chirps and his little fuzzy bum and his wet-bird smell. I miss the way he would grow 3 sizes when he was happy to see me, and I and his tilty-sleepiness when he would sit on my laptop because it was warm and try not to topple over while doing the snoozy head bob. I miss how he would fall asleep in my hand because all he did was sleep because he was old and didn’t want to tell me he wasn’t feeling well, so he did his best to look strong and happy. He pooped and he ate and sometimes he chirped and he never looked scared and tried, always to climb to the highest part of me because that’s what birds are supposed to do. Be High.

He was a really good bird. I know we’re supposed to love our pets. I know we’re supposed to tell the world that they’re the best pets, that no other pet in the history of pets was as good as This Pet.

But, seriously. Dexter was a fucking great bird.  I can’t tell you how much I miss him.  I went to pick up his tiny little cremated bits and it was all fine and dandy until I walked out of the veterinarian’s office and exploded with grief.  5, 480 days, minus vacation and a couple of sleepovers is a long time to be with someone.  Double that if I include every good morning and good night, if you count covering and uncovering his house with his bunny blanket. Triple, quadruple that to conversations, to snuggles, to him dancing on the back of the sofa when he was a little guy, trying to woo me into being his lady-love (I’m not sure he ever understood the interspecies thing doesn’t usually turn out that great), or hanging upside down from my glasses,  or sitting on my knee in the bath because he really liked baths and he liked to sit on my head after, soaking wet and stinking like a wet bird does, all oil and musty weird. It’s strange, he smelled exactly the same after he was gone, warm and stuffy,  wrapped in a dishcloth I’d been sent from asia, so that was all good memories, too.

it’s strange, the way we are. I was reading, last night, about a restaurant I was in yesterday morning (we did a drive-by) was suddenly closing after only been open 11 months. Normally I don’t get nostalgic over such things, but in version 1.0 of this place, I had so many great conversations and experiences (like joining an imaginary rock band, and having our own section with the server (I hope school is going well, Steph!) we liked the most and the charming host/maitre’d who was always happy to see us), and although it’s a brick and mortar thing, it’s people too. People who try to do a thing that is of their heart, and for a while it’s there and strong and vibrant and then the wind changes, and blows it off, into the ether, and then it’s memory and a feeling that everything has a time. That we’re here for a bit, and then we’re gone. We waste so much time trying to be a thing that other people like or want or respect. And, yeah, I know it’s a bit bananas to compare people to a bakery that also served dinner, but at the same time, it’s all the same need: make a mark, set your stake or wave your flag.

Remember me.

You know?

I’m drinking earl grey tea out of my heart cup.  I was supposed to be  editing Gingerbread, because I finished it about 3 months ago and it’s time to go back, but I found myself here, instead. Full of sniffles and missing my little dude and thinking about the transitory nature of all of it.

anyway. I should go do a thing.  I hope you’re having a great day :)

 

Moody gives a thumbs up

witch which is which.

Hey! I wrote this on MonkeyStamp. But now it's here.

in which we have a snippet:

 

Fig’s foot is wet with blood. I pull his sock off, and grab at the hem of Yegor’s dress, I tug and tug until the fabric gives and then I’ve got a bandage. “Pressure will help but if you got broke bones then -“

He covers his mouth with his hand, wincing as I tug on the fabric, make a knot, tucking the ends under so it won’t come loose. “I’ll just slow you down.”

I shake my head. “It’s okay, Fig.” But it’s not and he knows it.

“I wasn’t lying when I said you kill me if you want.”

His hair’s a tangle and there’s still water in the corners of his eyes.  I don’t apologize for falling asleep. For saying one thing, then doing the other. “Not a thing I’m doing. Witch’ll help.” I’d seen Yegor heal up worse.

“Ain’t a worse thing than witch,” Fig says in a sigh and I almost backhand him for being stupider than I thought possible.

“Witch might mean I don’t need to change your name to Lefty McHobbleston.”

“Lefty McHobbleston?”

I throw up my hands. “You scare me half to death again and I will leave you strung upside down in a tree with a note on your chest that’s all recommendations about what you’re good for. Understood?”

Fig nods. “Help me up?”

It’s still dark, maybe there’s enough heat the in the fire to start it up again.

I guess when I promised him I wouldn’t kill him, I should have clarified on purpose.