Written? Kitten!

Yes, I know. I am quite erratic with the blog posts. Anyway, had this cute link to Written? Kitten! and as I am a sucker for the demanding fur balls, I followed the link. It is a tool to prod you to write. For every 100 words you write, the website puts up a pic of an adorable little kitty.
Of course I just had to write something to get a litter of kittens. I pasted it here, but remember that Standard Disclaimers apply*.

The red ball dangled on the tree branch. Reflected on its shiny surface, a fireplace was in full blaze. A tiny little hand grew big in the reflection, until the chubby fingers curled around the red ball and yanked.
"Ah!" a mother's voice said, "Those aren't for playing Joey." She picked up the crawler child in yellow onsie, and turned him away from the tree and set him back down in front of his playskool toys scattered on the carpet.
The mother dropped back down on the couch before the roaring fire, and picked up her glass. Sprawled on the couch, her legs stuck out and the back cushions mussed her pageboy cut black hair. The comfortably worn out jeans she wore had faded at the knees. The oversized Snoopy shirt above them had a hole.
She reached over and took her drink from the wooden end table just within reach at the end of the couch, and brought it to her lips. Her eyes never turned away from the crawling child in front of her.
A radio in another room played Christmas tunes. The mantle clock ticked away. Flames burned lower. The baby played. His mother drank.
The boy left his toys and crawled over to the couch. When he came near, his mother picked him up and kissed him. He yawned and snuggled on her chest. One arm to keep the boy safe, she leaned down and hooked his blankie on the floor with her finger. Her face with a love filled smile, she wrapped Joey in the blanket and rocked.
When the glass rattled with empty ice, she dropped it on the end table with a thunk, and with Joey held to her chest, she stood to turn off the light.
The soft Christmas music still played in the other room. The fire still glowed. The tree became beautiful.
The mother came back to the couch, still holding her son to her chest, lay down and watched the fire. Christmas carols played. The fire danced in her gaze. She slept, her arms around her sleeping boy.
The fire burned down to ruby coals. A soft click from another room. The music stopped. A man, his snow covered coat still on his shivering frame, walked in as soft as a whisper.
He came over to the woman asleep on the couch, and kissed her cheek. She didn't stir.
He went to the high backed arm chair and took off his coat and boots. The fire melted the snow to water spots on the carpet. The man looked at his love with his child in her arms, and smiled.

Ha! Got four kittens out of that. 🙂
*These are raw words. No editing has been done. Your patience with any grammar or spelling errors is appreciated.

OMG! I just clicked send! ACK!

Yes, I finally sent my story, "June n Peaches", to the editor that liked it at the Cascade Writers Retreat back in July. Never fear, I followed all their guidelines for submission, including the pain in the {blank} synopsis. Let's see how long it takes for her to get back to me. Being between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I don't expect anything until January at the earliest, but I think that's why I sent it now, I want to hold off the deadline, since I've only ever got rejections before. But! This story is my best work, and the editor liked my first chapter enough to tell me to submit it when finished. I've edited twice, sent to betas, and edited twice again. So, I hope and wish it will be good enough. Please, let it be good enough!

please…

Nothing to do now but write a new story tomorrow so I won't think about this one. I should save what little sanity I have left, right?

Seanan McGuire’s Thoughts on Writing #46: Easy Is For Other People.

Yes, I am posting other people's great thoughts. That's because I look up to these people, and my life goal is to write as well as they do. On both occasions, their thoughts hit me powerfully and had to share.

Originally posted by at Thoughts on Writing #46: "Easy" Is For Other People.

The time has come for the forty-sixth essay in my fifty-essay series on the art, craft, and barely controlled interpretive mosh pit that is writing. I know, it's been a little while. Blame my deadlines. All fifty of the essays in this series are based around my original fifty thoughts on writing, meaning that I'm nearly done. Yay!

Now, to the essay itself. Our thought for today:

Thoughts on Writing #46: "Easy" Is For Other People.

That's a little hard to follow. Here's today's expanded thought:

Not everything you write is going to be easy, and not everything you write is going to be fun, and if you think "easy" and "fun" are your rights as a writer, please go find something else to do. Every book has a chapter you don't want to finish. Every story has a connective segment you just want to be done with already. It's going to happen. Acknowledge it now, and when it hits, you won't be so surprised. But you'll still be a little surprised. The painful parts of a project are like ninjas, and they sneak up on you.

Writing a book is a lot like cleaning a house. For every counter you de-clutter or deliciously sweet-smelling sheet you tuck into place, there's a toilet to be cleaned, a stove to be scrubbed, and a distressing stain to be attacked with baking soda and prayer. If you only take care of the easy, fun parts, you're going to wind up with a house that's one part showroom, one part disaster…and the disaster will spread. The hard parts are often the important ones, even if they're the parts that no one appreciates but you.

Today we're going to be talking about the hard parts, why they matter, the forms that they take, and why you can't avoid them, no matter how hard you may try.

Ready? Good. Let's begin.

My thoughts are not your thoughts; my process is not your process; my ideas are not your ideas; my method is not your method. All these things are totally right for me, and may be just as totally wrong for you. So please don’t stress if the things I’m saying don’t apply to you – I promise, there is no One True Way. This way for my thoughts on doing the hard stuff.

Do you think it is possible to write a good book if you never read?

Short answer Hell No! Long answer from Ms. Elrod below. I can only shake my head at the question writer's naivete. I hope they are a teenager and not a voting adult. 

Originally posted by at Do you think it is possible to write a good book if you never read?

.
The title is a question posed by a young would-be writer on a message board.  She added that she doesn't have much of a vocabulary because she doesn't read, though she did finish a popular book by a writer whose derivative crap is selling well. She only reads when she has to. Can she still write? 

My reply:

No.

Unless you get past the not-reading thing, you're never going to make it as a writer.

I doubt anyone else here will be honest with you about that, either.

You're looking for an excuse to get out of reading, yet be a writer, but that's like a composer who refuses to listen to music, or an artist who doesn't go to museums, or an actor who doesn't watch movies and plays.

I'm a professional writer and editor and will let you know you will never get a thumbs up from me or anyone else in the publishing industry unless you suck it up and start going through books like a threshing machine. I can tell who's got something worth reading and who's just phoning in a recycled version of a book they skimmed back in the day.

You are at the perfect age to start, too.

For someone who wants to write, yet not read books, it's completely ridiculous to avoid reading, so put on your game face and make the library your new second home. You will never get the vocabulary you need unless you put the words into your brain. Your brain is a sponge and starved for new stuff. Feed it.

EVERY writer I know is addicted to reading. You just never found the right books that made you want to finish them.

The big fat popular book you did finish is one of millions out there, and you'll figure out later that the writer of that book is not that good. I think the "author" is pretty lousy, but you love that book. Why is that? Because you don't know what's OUT there!

You're settling for crappy stale bread and think it's great because you've never sampled anything better. Just for the asking you can have a gourmet meal of reading. It's all at the library. For free.

You must think you won't be a good writer, so you can excuse future failure now with the "I don't read" excuse.

Well, (bleep) that!

READ.

Or begin considering a career in the housekeeping industry.

No, I take that back. I was at a writing conference and got a box of free books that I could not take home on the plane. The housekeeping lady who made up my room was thrilled to get them. She adored reading and so did her kids. I helped her load 20 books into her cart next to the clean towels. She'd share with her family because there was something for everyone.

So how are you going to write anything better than recycled crap unless you read?

You won't.

Get cracking.

—————

She later posted a thank you and said she'd not thought of things from that direction before. She promised to go to the library.

I hope it works out for her.

Annual Christmas Story for my Kid-let

I need a Christmas icon for this sort of thing…

Anyway, I asked my son what kind of Christmas story he wanted me to write for him this year, and he said he wanted a D&D story. Hunnybun popped off with "Christmas in the Dungeon!" and laughed. Little did he know, my muse liked it enough she ran with it. I think Kid-let will like it, but he has to wait until Yule, because I'm mean that way.

Here's the first bit. If you like it, ask nicely and I'll send it to you as a present. 😉

The Tower of Yule

To those in the U.S.A.

May I be the first to wish you a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

To those who don't celebrate, I wish you a HAPPY THURSDAY!

Hunnybun’s synopsis try

Hunnybun took a stab at this synopsis thing, and except for not including the ending, what'cha think? Would you pick up this book?

June’s life has gone to hell. Fresh out of college, she suddenly finds herself out of a job, apartment and boyfriend, all in the space of a month. Having received a job offer from a friend across the country, she packed and headed out, only to find herself seeking shelter in a seedy motel when her car breaks down.  
When Peaches, a marmalade tabby, appears out of the storm and informs her that he is her familiar and she is a wizard, she feels the catastrophe of her life is complete. Wizards in her world are considered evil, hunted ruthlessly by the government, and now all the stress in her life has awakened her own latent magical talent!
After Peaches takes her home to his cattery, June discovers that all is not as it seems and the lines of who is good or evil are not so clearly defined. As she grows into her talent, June discovers that wizards aren’t the evil creatures that she’d been led to believe, and their world is worth defending. And defend it she must, as when her new home is attacked, she finds herself soon defending all familiars from government led genocide.

He's pretty good, isn't he? You can tell he reads this kind of stuff. He's got the dustcover prose down pat. Good thing he doesn't have the patience for storywriting and does songs instead or I'd be in trouble! 😀