Tag Archives: gingerbread

loglines.

the last two weeks i have been editing the ever-loving-crap out of my YA fantasy, GINGERBREAD. So much editing that my eyes have gone buggy. The other day I met with my writers group and opened Ginger, and couldn’t even read my own typing. My eyeballs revolted.

I revised around 20K, if revising means re-writing whole chunks because you (and your awesome CP) came up with a plot bunny that strengthens the story and makes it more original, and so I am pretty thrilled with where it’s at, except for the fact that looking at it is giving me a twitch.

So, I took yesterday off, and will go back into the revision later today. For now, though, I’m playing ME: Andromeda and working on a logline for my Adult Fantasy, HAPPILY NEVER AFTER. Anyway, it’s interesting to think about plot bits and what would sound cool in a logline, but what is really hard to get in a logline. Here’s the logline I have so far:

In the Land of Foehn, alliances are forged through the bespelling of Princesses and the promise of Happily Ever After. When the Princess of Gael goes missing from her forest shrine, and is later found wandering the bank of the Black Pond, Diego Abello, servant to the Queens, is questioned. When his lover, the blood witch Markus Crowe, is framed for the crime, Diego must risk not only his life, but the honour of his family line in order to protect Markus from a power more dangerous than the Queens.

Here’s the stuff I can’t figure how to get into the logline (yet):

Markus is a somnambulist, and works with his partner to put the Princesses to sleep to wait for their Princes.

Markus is kind of in love with Diego, Diego is mostly ignoring his feelings, and lover is kind of a strong word although also not.

They’re both in love with Annabel.

Markus is also a faerie, and it’s his mother that harmed the Princess, and his mother that Markus needs to be afraid of/is afraid of.

Annabel is the ass-kicker of the group.

Words are hard.

Okay. Take care. Bye bye.

-me.

the Chimes of Aignesz

in the last month or so, my weird little WIP about fairytale princesses, complex relationships, love, murder, blood magic, blackmail and treachery (if all goes well!) grew from a tiny little thing, into 10 thousand words of magic.

Diego’s neck grew hot. His coat was still on, and the intyn leaf had long worn off, and so the memory of Niall twitched beneath his skin. “We delivered a body. A corpse. You can’t blow out a candle and expect the dead to walk. Resurrection is not so simple.” Diego had never believed in resurrectionist magic. He still, after all the years they’d known each other, eyed Markús with suspicion, and the tricks the man performed with only his hands. He had never believed the denizens of the Blood Red Wood gave life, just that they took it away.

I’m fortunate that my CP is a genius, and upon reading directed the story in a much more plot-logical way, so now it is about notes and planning and coming up with the middle to avoid the muddle, and then the ending. I guess I know what happens in the end, which is what makes fiction different from real life.

I was talking to my writing chums last night — once a week I meet up with 2 or 3 other writers just to write — about how characters, for me, come fully formed, and that I’m terrible with planning, and coming up with cause/effect. It’s just not how my brain works. My brain works in emotional reactions. But in order to have a reaction, I have to have already put my character in a situation. And not just on paper, I have to know how they felt when it was happening, and how they lived through it and I learn through writing them. I don’t suspect this is different from other writers, really, but for me it’s the germ. It’s the genesis.

Which is why it’s really important for me to have CPs and readers that are great at plot bunnies, and cause/effect. I can see it in other people’s work, but usually not in my own.

But this, this Happily (n)Ever After. Gah. I am so deep in love with it already. Markus, the blood magician and his boyfriend Rayif. His lover, Diego, and their lover Annabel and the place where they all intersect and how relationships aren’t ever equal, and jealousy and complexity and all of those things.

Also blood. Because why not.

I think I just wanted to write a book about a blood magician. Because one showed up in The Mourning Wolves, too, and his name was also Marcus (for reasons – I had an RP character years ago, who was also a blood magician, whose name was Marcus, because why not? And I just wanted to find the right place to put him), but now poor Marcus will be expelled from the wolves, and instead, live with the princesses in the place called Aetherny.

I think he’ll be happy there. I’m pretty much happy wherever he is, which I guess says something about me, and i am TOTALLY OKAY WITH THAT.

In other news, it was a week of new music:

William Control‘s new EP: Revelations: the Black dropped (some WC is NSFW you have been warned. it’s cool, it’s his thing. I got no qualms.)

And, due to the Terminus announcements (because i am way lucky to live in a place that has an industrial/electronic/dark music festival), bought The Rain Within: Thunderheart, which is syrupy, slightly gloomy 80’s influenced synthpop, and it its beautiful.

It’s also Feb 24. 242. Which means it’s international EBM day. And although the world is full of wonderful ebm, I share with you this classic, by our friends Front 242. I’m guessing you just made the connection.

What else? We bought tickets to see Logan. And I am beside myself with excitement, and I realize it’s because Logan reminds me of my husband Joel, and his sidekick Ellie, but I have actual super high hopes for Logan as a superhero movie that doesn’t annoy me. Also, there’s something about woodsy Hugh Jackman that is just working for my ovaries.

I would also super really like a release date for The Last of Us 2. Okay? Okay.

But first I have to finish editing my YA. But not today, because I’m going to see Matthew Good, and then tomorrow my aforementioned William.

Because sometimes life is kind, and full of fun.

all about that bass.

it’s like a new music-a-palooza around here. Last post I mentioned The Blood of Others, and my William, and then alla sudden all the music in music land was released – new Dead When I found Her (OMG) and which does not ignore Michael’s love of Skinny Puppy, but then just when you think you’re onto this album, it changes into something different.

Randomly, Rotersand released a new album and the Gothiscles showed up again in my inbox (and I need to go download them), and it’s like a dance music wonderland around here.

I went to see Dr. Strange, and yes the orientalism is a bit much, and there’s no good reason (despite how good she is) that Tilda couldn’t have been played by someone else, but I am honestly not sure how they would have gotten away from the mystical asian stereotypes in that film. Cumberbatch was great, and my Mads (hubba hubba) was pretty hilarious doing martial arts, when in my heart he is always eating half-raw meat in a very expensive suit. (FANNIBAL).

I sent my wee short story off to the market, and so shall soon hear on that. I’m editing a book for a friend, working on Gingerbread, and The Mourning Wolves and generally not understanding why it is so dark out.

 

i can be your monster/i can be the teeth sunk in your skin.

Okay! So first order of business is Mr. Control has a new song/video! *dance* (Note: WC’s music is way catchier than most things I listen to. This is straight up sing-along-in-the-car dance music, and I LURV it. Which shouldn’t actually surprise you, cuz it’s mah William)

Next order of business, is that in an unexpected move, I’m heading to LA in mid-October for the Das Bunker 20th Anniversary party, because someone I love is ultra squee over the Covenant live show, but the overall lineup is bananas: VNV Nation, A23, Covenant, High Functioning Flesh, my beloved Author & Punisher, my friend iVardensphere (not sure he knows he’s my friend, but whatevs. Yay Scott!), end.user, the Legendary Pink Dots and about 5billion other bands you have also never heard of, including my Aesthetic Perfection, who are performing songs off of an early album as a joke, and it makes me laugh (you know that thing where your music project evolves but everyone is still stuck in 2006. Yeah, it’s like that. FUNNY).

I am a bit amused to see VNV Nation twice in a month, as they’re bringing their Compendium show here (3 hours of snappy Ronan action!), I don’t even listen to much VNV anymore, but am still excited about this as the first show I’d ever seen in what is now “My Thing”, was VNV/Icon of Coil back in 1806.

In additional, writingly-news:

A.Y. Chao  (who is probably the single-best resource for writing workshop information) recommended the Discovery Story Magic series for character development, and I’m almost finished – started with graphing/gridding Gingerbread to identify sticky-open plot places within the character’s journey. When the rewrite of GB is done (which, at the rate I’m going is probably going to take forever, bc reasons!) I’ll go through it for both The Mourning Wolves and Ellis, Underground. In a way I’ve got the bones of it all, as I tend to understand my characters on an emotional, if not practical, level — I don’t know their favourite cereal, but I for sure know how they feel if they find themselves standing on the stoop in the middle of the night with a snowstorm blowing around them.

So far, I’ve gone through DSM, and then I did a chapter breakdown which showed me some seriously glaring holes in my structure, so yay! also: boo. But, I am nothing if not resilient. If anyone asks, the answer is Yes, writing is precisely like running into a wall 300X a day. I’ve cut my first two chapters up, changed up my inciting incident, moved what was the II to chapter 2 (or I will, as soon as I stop procrastinating through this here blog post. :D), to make it maybe the first plot point – although, maybe it’s still too early for the first plot point, but I needed to up the haps and suggestion from People Smarter Than Me was more character development in the first 2-3 chaps (I tend to be a slow writer, as in I am not a whiz-bang plot a minute go-go-go writer, so feedback is often “pretty, but nothing happened”. I have learned not to take that feedback personally, but still. Man, this business is hard).

 

Curse this wretched anger and hurt
Surrender all the lonely and hurt
Or is this just a ruse, shall I keep this hate to use?
It’s so hard, to say no to you

“Passengers”, WC.

 

what else? OH! I  finished “I’ll Give You the Sun”, which was kind of amazeballs. I thought the characters were maybe a bit too awesome for their own good – the characters were well-developed and they sure had faults, they were just very fancy? like, in the way they’d built their outlook on the world, and the way they approached it was very Inside of a Novel, however! I cried. Pretty much. Not a full, on ugly Oprah Cry like I did for The Road, cuz that was a moment that is likely to never be repeated, however! IGYTS is lovely, and wonderful because even though the characters are pretty shiny and the framework is snappy, underneath the shiny they read like really complicated, honest, sad people and OMG I LOVED IT SO MUCH.

anyway, here’s a snippet of the new first-draft-messy that I’m adding to GB:

 

But then Emeric smiled, and tapped his fingers to his face and Quince grabbed a tea towel and wiped some of the green goo away and for a second it was like all that time hadn’t passed at all.

But then Quince blinked, and maybe stuff got clear because a sadness slipped over his face and my own heart sunk.

Emeric just looked a little bit sheepish, and whole lot beautiful.

Quince said he was art, like straight out of the Louvre art, where everything was carved from marble and stone and people stood around and gawked and pointed, but mostly they just blushed because hot was hot no matter the medium. I had to take his word for it.

You can easily see the troubles already – two sentences starting with ‘but’, for a start. Really, sentences should never start with But, however! sometimes a girl’s gotta make a stylistic choice. That someone will, later, mark out in red pen.

What else?

in an effort to be the hippest writer in hiplandia (actually, I can’t even say that’s true b/c I had no idea magically hipster pencils existed until I went to the stationery store), when I was looking for a plain, blank journal (no lines, people! lines restrict! I dunno, I’m on a blank-page kick), and found a midori journal, and of course leave it to our minimalist friends to make a super simple but beautiful journal –I mean, it’s the plainest notebook in plainlandia, but soooo pretty) — I also found Blackwing pencils (and bought one, but I think it is too soft and next time will try the pearl AND I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST TYPED THAT SENTENCE, BRB, I’m going to go drink my cold brew coffee in front of my edison bulb lamp while I google places to eat in Portland), because for some reason I’m into pencils, instead of pens. I suspect it’s because they come with erasers and I’m tired of crossing out the bad ideas i have. Erasers make them go away.

mostly.

even though the lines are gone, you can still feel their ghosts.

 

 

 

 

 

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

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!

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

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!

last*dance

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!

when you blow it up.

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.

i made thinkings

as a short story, The Mourning Wolves is a meagre couple thousand words. It doesn’t really do much except introduce three characters in three different spaces worried about three different, but also the same things.  I moved pieces around and turned the first three scenes into three chapters, ASH,  PAJA, SALAMANDER.

Ash, so far, is the protag, Paja is someone else. Antag, protag both.  Salamander is my bad boy, or he might be a bad girl or maybe it doesn’t matter, maybe that’s Ash, too. Ash tells me gender doesn’t matter, but writing agender, or gender-fluid is a huge undertaking, or feels that way. I’m such an average, middle class cis-gendered, middle-aged white lady.  When I think about writing what I know, which is an old acorn and not necessarily true, or even good advice (except when it is), I want to write not about what I know, but about who I know, my trans* friends, the folks I know, or will know who don’t consider themselves binary, my gay and lesbian friends and my straight cis-friends. My bi-friends.  But good gods I don’t want to screw it up, either.  I want the world I’m writing about to reflect the one I live in, which is the same one I lived in when I was small. Except in many ways this one is so, so much better, which doesn’t always say much.

in the untitled Gingerbread project, my MCs are ace (asexual) and bi, and they are in a relationship with each other, and it is heteroromantic, and it is not sexual, and it’s poly,  too, and I’m not sure I got it right, but I’m trying. I read a lot, through asexuality.org and utilized my friend google, and I’m not sure if there’s enough identification within the book, because i want it to be clear. So that’s a note-to-self. I want the reader to know who Haven and Quince are, both to themselves and to each other. Gingerbread is a relationship book; if I did what I set out to do, it’s about Haven and Quince and their little brother growing up, it’s about Haven finding a father, it’s about sacrifice and letting go.

I’m not sure it’s there yet, but the mss is with some very smart people and they will tell me.

I think The Mourning Wolves is my loner book, although so is Ellis, maybe.  Maybe also is Three-Tenths, Nine-Tenths, the languishing werewolf/baba-yaga book (oh, great, now i have TWO werewolf books. I’m using up all my themes in theme parks, here) that i think about finishing, sometimes.

I need a name for a diner.

I just started watching Dominion. Hot dudes that happen to be angels. It’s like I signed the cheque on this thing.

imma ruminatin’

I hadn’t read any of Ellis for months. Gingerbread, or whatever title really is, took me just over a year and a bit to write, which isn’t fast and perhaps doesn’t bode well – but there were 3-ish drafts in there, and a couple of short stories and the general life things.

I write primarily for myself-  i think those of us that started early, when we were small things, write for ourselves first, and other folks second – it’s a way to make sense of the nonsensical, a way to put ourselves out into the great vast whatever in a quiet and deliberate way. I think it’s why, aside from short stories, I don’t have the same urgency for book-publication that some folks do, although it’s there, just in a smaller, more subtle way. Kind of. Mostly I think it’s a serious cause of OMG I WILL FAIL syndrome (I am not a risk taker at all. I’m not sure if it’s a personal failing or just means I’m SUPER DEPENDABLE (although I also get super excited when people read a thing I wrote and like it. Maybe I’m deluded). Man, is the all-caps a side-result of reading Felicia Day’s memoir over the last few days? MAYBE!) ed note: this doesn’t mean I don’t want my books published, it just means I gotta get past whatever interiorbrain hurdles are getting in my way. okay? OKAY.

I went through chapter one of Ellis this morning, building a mind map (I use mind node, now) of the chapters – i don’t use mind mapping for brainstorming because it feels too organized and too deliberate for a “storm” (as if nature isn’t deliberate, but work with me on this metaphor thingy here), but I use it as a visual way to gather my outline/thoughts/major plot points. I say this like I have a Process, but really I started using the mapping software when I realized that writing Gingerbread out of order was really, really screwing me up and I needed a way to put things in place and make fix with the jaggy puzzle pieces that upon first glance had nowhere to go.

And it helped.

So I’m using it again because it’ll help me identify the bits of Ellis – no surprise to anyone who has written a thing ever – I stalled out on it in (you guessed it!) the Middle. 29, 000 words and Bam! It’s like I’m a creative cliche or something.  But even reading the first chapter, I find I’m super happy to be back in Ellis’ world – from a writing-craft standpoint it feels way more me than Gingerbread – although Gingerbread is probably clearer and more accessible and still contains the themes I use all the time: makeshift families, atypical relationships, winter, blood, gargoyles, vampires etc. etc. etc. Oh, vampires. It’s like I never got the memo that they were old news (but I super love my head vampire guy. He’s so damn nice. Mostly). If I ever write a sequel, there’s werewolves too. Yup, that’s me, lacking originality since 1971 (not true: I rule).

There are no vampires in Ellis, ps. NARY A ONE. Oh, there’s angels though, at least in the first draft, also fortune tellers. If my writing came with a bingo card, i would win every time. There’s rain, though, and snow. And it’s winter in Gingerbread and i wonder if i should have made it more wintery, because people believe winter in Canada is made of horrid (it is, for like 2 weeks), but frostbite didn’t really work with the plan (I had no plan).

I had a point to this, I swear. I just lost it. Imagine that.

But starting on Ellis again made me think of all of the things I love about the world: the twisted Alice in Wonderland-ness, where the Alice is a city architect who built the version of the world Ellis falls into when she gets involved in the mysterious death of the feller-across-the-street. My unrequited love (he died before they met. OH TRAGIC. It’s practically Nicholas Sparks!), the Alice’s relationship with Basil & Alastar, teacups and clockwork rabbits. It has made up words and flowers are poison. It’s good times, yo. Like, it makes me want to curl up in a blanket that smells like cinnamon and burnt leaves.

(what I love about Gingerbread: that the bad guy isn’t a bad guy at all, not even kind of. My ace MC, Haven, and her hetero-romantic relationship with her one-true-love-bff, their cozy house, the vampire’s house, a blood cult hiding actual vampires, evil flowers (Oh, a theme, rose thou art sick and all that), and mysterious safehouse that might show up if I write another book in the same world. Altor!).

I’ve thought about what might come next, after these two. I had the idea of the kids who meet in high school (HEX) one of whom is related to Crowely, the other to LaVey, but after that it doesn’t go anywhere, and if you look close i hinted at Crowely in Gingerbread anyway – not the person, but the philosophy.

So what then? Another retold story? I love Little Red Riding Hood, and I’ve been thinking she’d made a nice addition to Hansel & Gretel and Alice in Wonderland, but no matter how much I dwell on it, ain’t nothin’ showin’ up. So.

I guess not.

Anyway.

I’m all rambly.