I’m happy to announce that a piece of flash fiction that I wrote will be featured on http://www.rhetoricaskew.com soon!

If you’re interested in the opportunity to have a piece of flash or a poem published on the website, check out Rhetoric Askew on Facebook and follow them to see the weekly Social Media challenge. It’s pretty cool, and here’s the scoop: once a week they post a photo, and all you have to do is use that photo as inspiration for the work. The other authors and followers vote by likes, and the piece with the most likes wins a feature on the site.

So there’s my happy news and my plug for the day. 😉 I’m still working on Book 2, but I’ve gotten to the point where I need to go back and read through what I’ve already written to see where I need to flesh things out or rework things. Y’know, make sure I haven’t written any huge holes in there.

Well, off to work before it’s my turn to drive. We get back home today, and tomorrow it’s back to mundane life yet again.

I wonder…

I wonder where the dragons went

The spirits & sprites & things

I wonder exactly when they left

These magical, mystical things

I wonder if it was just my mind

Concocting them for me

I wonder if I’ll find again

A spirit I can see

I wonder if they were ever there

Or if I was merely ill

Because I lost touch with all magical things

As soon as I took the pills

The Great Outdoors (kind of)

Well, it’s official: I’m am now a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. (Not a card-carrying member yet; those won’t come in the mail for a bit.)

This weekend is my first official SCA event. A camping event. I am not a “camping person.” I am a “creature of comfort” person. But I’m going to give it a try for my husband. He’s so excited for this weekend and for me to be joining the SCA, so I’m glad I can make him happy with this.

I don’t have any “garb” (medieval-style clothing) of my own, so I’m borrowing some from a friend. I’ll be making us some clothing soon, which will cut into my cosplay time, but some of the garb is fairly simple to make so I think I’ll still be able to finish the cosplays by Phoenix Comicon.

So far I enjoy the rapier fighting practice part of the SCA (although it will be quite some time before I participate in any kind of actual fighting/competition). There are apparently a lot of arts things that are available to try/learn, like calligraphy and scroll making and sewing, so hopefully I’ll find more things to do than just stabby-stab people with tipped swords. Not that that’s not fun, but y’know, gotta keep occupied. Plus I’m not a card-carrying fighter, which I guess is a thing that means I’m cleared to actually do more than just practice as a noob. I don’t know how long/how much experience it takes to get one of those cards, but I don’t mind if I just practice for the time being.

One of the pieces of garb that I need to make (technically two, because I need one for me and one for my husband) is some kind of jacket for fencing/rapier practice. It has to be kind of specific in that the fabric has to be puncture-resistant. And I’d really like to have a jacket that fits better than the loaner gear our friends have. Not that I’m not grateful that they provide loaner gear, but I’d like something that doesn’t restrict my movement due to being a bit tight. I’ve already got a fencing mask thanks to my husband being a former fencer, and we plan on ordering a gorget (neck protection) and gloves and stuff for me soon. Basically, all the things I can’t make myself besides the actual swords. Those are expensive. Or at least to me they seem expensive, but I guess for quality you have to pay for what it’s worth, so I don’t mind. We’ll just have to wait a bit and use the loaner swords until we can afford to get our own.

I suppose I should check out the SCA websites (for the SCA itself, our kingdom, and our barony, etc) to see what options I have for activities. Art is probably the way I’ll go, because sewing can get expensive once you factor in all the fabric. Then again, so is cosplay. So I guess this is kind of cosplay of a different sort.

This weekend will be spent in tents and on cots, with a few people I know (and a ton of people I don’t know), and lots of drinking. Not that I want to turn alcoholic, but I may end up getting lit just to cope with the social aspect of it all. I tend to get physically exhausted from too much social interaction, especially with people I don’t know. Our friends will be there, but they’ve all got things to do at this event, so I’m either going to be a social barnacle to my husband or I’m going to sit awkwardly off to the side by myself and try to become invisible.

I try to keep telling myself I can do this. I can do the camping, the outdoorsy stuff, the social stuff … but I’m not sure I have myself convinced yet.

I just hope my social anxiety/agoraphobia doesn’t get so bad I start crying. If that happens, I’ll probably be hiding in the tent for a while. A hermit in a social club. “Hermits United,” as The Doctor said in the “Utopia” episode:

The Doctor: Bit of a hermit.
The Professor: A hermit? With friends?
The Doctor: Hermits United. We meet up every ten years. Swap stories about caves. It’s good fun. For a hermit.

(Had to incorporate Doctor Who into this … because, c’mon, medieval-era stuff? Definitely timey-wimey.)

Well, it’s time to get ready for work. My last bit of modern day before diving into the past. Well, pseudo-past.

Let’s do this!

Fighting the good fight

Today’s the day! I’m out of the boot and psyched to be attending (and participating in) rapier fight practice for the local SCA group.

I go into this with absolutely zero working knowledge of fencing or swordfighting of any kind. Zero. So why am I so excited? Because, as an avid fantasy fan, deep down I’ve always wanted to learn how to fight with swords. It may have no useful purpose here, in modern days, but it’s cool as fuck and looks really fun.

Last week I was hesitant to take part because: A) I am a noob and didn’t want to humiliate myself and B) well, refer to A.

Now? Now I’m ready. Well, emotionally ready.

Physically, I’m going to get my ass kicked.

No loss of time, but lost time anyway

One good thing about living in Arizona (besides the weather): No daylight savings time adjustment.

One bad thing? My husband works from home for a company based out of California, so he had to “spring forward” in a manner of speaking by starting work an hour earlier (since Cali did do the time change). Which means my little bit of “sleeping in” today was interrupted by his alarm.

Oddly enough, the sleeping in has screwed with my morning productivity. I’ve been doing pretty much nothing but talking with people on Facebook messenger for the past two hours. No writing, no editing, nothing of import. I made an energy drink with our Soda Stream (great invention) and took my morning pills, had a few bites of yogurt for breakfast to get me through til lunch, and that’s about it. Haven’t made my lunch for work yet, haven’t taken my shower and gotten dressed, haven’t done much of anything.

I think my body wanted to sleep off some of the aches and pains from the previous day. Yesterday I was sore all day long (as though I had done a heavy workout, without the physical benefits of working out), which has somewhat carried over to today but not as severe.

Part of that aching may stem from the couple of hours I spent sitting on an awkward but much-appreciated stool while watching SCA fighter practice with some friends yesterday. Well, I watched; my husband and our friends participated. I have never done fencing or rapier fighting and was a little apprehensive about trying it out. Now I’m excited for the chance to do something fun that counts as exercise. Hopefully I’ll be out of my boot next Friday and will be able to join in.

There’s some deciding to do as to what “persona” I’ll take for SCA. I want to do a medieval Viking-type character, but my husband–who wants to do couples’ characters–isn’t too keen on the Viking thing. He wants to do Celtic, but I’m kinda Celtic’d out. I know that technically Vikings are more of a fad now than Celtics (thanks to the History Channel show) but I want to be a shieldmaiden. Yeah, yeah, Celts had warrior women as well…but damnit, I wanna be named after a valkyrie and beat on people with sticks. Or use rapier finesse. Whichever ends up being more suitable for me. I don’t quite understand a Viking using a rapier, but I don’t fully understand how SCA LARPing works yet, either, so I’m going to give it a shot.

Our friends who are in the SCA are nice, and they seem very inclusive. I just hope they stay friends. Our luck with friends the past few years hasn’t been the greatest. But that’s how friendships are: they move and grow and evolve and change and often that change includes a rift that can’t be crossed.

Hopefully I’m back to my early morning schedule tomorrow. I have to get back in the swing of early morning productivity, especially with the boot soon to be off and the sewing back in action. Two and a half months until Phoenix Comicon–gotta get cracking!



Grand Designs

The first sketch is drawn up for my first phoenix wall sculpture and I’m pretty excited. I have to work around my work schedule and the time I get over at my parents’ house (since apartment neighbors frown on excessive fumes from heat sealing, contact cement, and spray paint).

Gotta start scanning art to my computer too. Now that I have a quality scanner that scans & prints larger-sized images, I can take advantage of that and make my own art prints. I may start making more clay designs in coming weeks as well. I had planned on getting at least one new item up in the Etsy shop each week, so I have to start producing more stuff. No product, no $$. Basic economics.

Since I don’t have the time this morning to actually start cutting foam for anything, I may sketch up something else to make as well. I’ve considered a dragon sculpture, and I’ve gotten some suggestions of things like a flying unicorn or even a flying pig! (I gotta admit, the pig thing’s kinda funny….And I happen to know where I can get bright pink craft foam) 😉

And, of course, I’m going to retake some of the photos of the things I’ve already listed on Etsy. I want to get better quality images, with good lighting, that showcase the art.

But first thing’s first: shower. Then doctor’s appointment. Then work. Then artsy stuff. 🙂

Sinking Feeling

Gerald couldn’t believe his luck. The first man to walk beneath the ocean’s waves, first to wear the new technology. Breathing underwater? Brilliant. 

So why did he have such a bad feeling about it? There was nothing under there except for fish. Nothing to worry about. Gerald was a scientific-minded man. He knew the rumors were nonsense. 

As the helmet was lowered onto his shoulders, the weight seemed tenfold compared to the test runs in the tanks. Something was going to go wrong. He knew it with as much certainty as he knew that the earth was round. He was going to die that day. 

Still, the logical part of his brain pushed him to the edge of the boat. Pushed him over the edge. Into the water. Beneath the surface. Toward his demise. 

The pressure was somewhat relived by the suit, but still he felt the waters closing in around him, sealing him into what would be his grave. 

Stop it, Gerald. There is nothing here but fish. Not even an occasional shark sighting in this area. You are perfectly safe. His internal scolding did nothing to alleviate his fears. 

He walked slowly, mindful of the currents, fascinated by the strength of the water. Such a mundane thing, often thought harmless, yet in such quantities, at such depths, it was a force to be reckoned with. The weight of the suit did nothing to aid him in his movements; the water seemed to be the proverbial immovable object. Each step took a considerable amount of effort, kicking up mud that swirled in the water, lowering visibility. 

So focused was he on his task that Gerald almost didn’t see it. No, not it. Her. 

Here. Beneath the surface. Under the waves. A woman. Swimming effortlessly, bothered not by the water’s resistance. His vision was momentarily obscured by the mud that his boots had kicked up, but the man in him recognized the woman in her, and he knew instinctively that she was beautiful. Beyond beautiful–radiant. A goddess. 

He shook his head in slow motion, hampered by the heft of his equipment and the crushing force of the water surrounding him, trying to clear his vision. Surely there was something wrong with the oxygen flow. That must be it. There was no way a woman could survive at these depths without some sort of protective gear such as he wore. Her lungs would collapse, fill with the salty liquid, and she would drown. 

Perhaps that was what he was seeing; some poor woman had suicided, and her body was drifting at the bottom of the sea, weighted down by the water inside of her, not yet filled with the buoyancy that the bloat of decay provided. 

Then she blinked. Her lithe form maneuvered through the water with a grace that mesmerized him, flowing closer. Moved against the current. Moved with purpose. As she neared, he saw that she was nude, and even in his stupor he had the decency to try to avert his eyes. He tried, but failed. He was drawn to her visage, held hostage by her eyes. 

So caught was he that it took Gerald several moments to notice a glaring abnormality to this woman. She was ravishing–or at least the top half of her was. Below her slender waist, where her hips and legs should begin, was a tail. Like a true denizen of the sea, she had fins and scales, scales which glistened in the light that refracted through the water. It was no wonder now how she moved through the depths with such ease. 

Science be dammed, somehow this fish-woman existed. Mud now settled by his lack of movement, the water was clear and crystalline. He felt his heart rate quicken and the blood flow shift to his groin. The first was a well known sign of hypoxia; the second, though, was purely a primal reaction to the sight before him. 

That was the last thought from his scientific mind. The primitive mind had taken over. Gerald the scientist was gone. Gerald the man was all that remained, and Gerald the man wanted this fish-woman as he had never wanted any woman that walked the land. (Never mind that he could see no way to couple with her; the part of him that would recognize the inherent flaw in that fact no longer existed.)

She paused mere inches from him, her eyes wide and head cocked to the side. Her slim yet toned arm reached out and her delicate fingertips brushed the glass of his helmet. A frown passed over her exquisite features, followed by the rapt stare of wonder. He wondered briefly if she had ever seen glass before, and if she understood this waterlike material that was as hard as stone. 

Gerald’s hand moved as well, drifting to the smooth looking skin of her face before descending to her chest. He paused there to appreciate a firm yet feminine mound. There was no nipple, but then again what need would a fish-woman have for nipples? 

Even through the thick rubber of his suit, he could feel a warmth that was contradictory to her nautical half. If scientific-minded Gerald had been aware, he would have been curious. Instead, he wanted to feel that warmth against his skin.

At this point, he no longer knew what he was doing. He pulled off a glove, allowing the ocean into his suit. He didn’t care. All he cared about was the fish-woman. 

As he reached for her again, she took his hand and smiled wide, exposing brilliant white teeth. White and sharp. Sharp as a shark’s. Sharp enough to pierce his skin. 

Before the waters could fill his suit, she bit into his hand. The animal brain that now controlled Gerald felt a surge of pleasure, and he licked his lips, longing to feel hers against them. 

He didn’t notice the blood mixing with the salty ocean. 

He didn’t notice the nearby shark, which had been circling above since the woman appeared. 

He didn’t notice, until her bloody smile turned cold. 

His animal brain filled with fear, commanding him to flee. 

But it was too late. 

The shark descended. 

And the fish-woman retreated, giving her lover room to feed.

Playing God

As I work on my next novel, a sci-fi/dystopian piece, I’m in awe of authors who can create whole worlds from scratch.

With my novel, I’m skipping ahead a century or two, but I’m sticking to good ol’ Earth as my locale. I figure it’s easier to try to envision how today’s events may unfold into tomorrow’s reality than to build an entire world (or universe) from my imagination. Can I look at today’s tech and society and draw lines from now to then? Well, I sure hope so. But trying to create technology that has never existed (and may never exist) all the while weaving the threads of a society that evolved and developed such technology…it’s mind-blowing.

Creators of fantasy/high fantasy/epic fantasy also amaze me. Forget science…we’re going to make a whole new world where physics is thrown out the window and metaphysics takes over, where there are creatures never before seen and people capable of unreal feats. It baffles me.

I’ve tried worldbuilding as a teen, and even a bit as an adult. I just can’t do it. I can’t get the details, the nuances, the little bits that make it all come together.

With my current WIP, I originally tried pantsing it, but it just wasn’t working. The world wasn’t rich enough, wasn’t deep enough. As I brainstorm and make notes, it’s slowly evolving into something much thicker. Meatier. Juicier. Plots are forming, technology is springing up, and the people living in the society that created this technology are starting to go about their daily lives. They’re coming to life.

I may not be able to create an entire world or universe out of thin air…but I’m slowly becoming the god of my vision of the future.