Tag Archives: the place where we belong

this is why it is like trudging through pudding

this book edit is taking forever. Here’s why:


Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 7.41.48 PM
The black is zero draft, the purple is new draft. LABORIOUS.

seriously. That’s about how much I have changed, all over the first half of the draft. Nevermind the actual plot stuff I’ve been adding.  That section about her jacket I spent approx. 5 hours on and it’s still kind of bad. I swear. BLAH.


just a note about at things, lists or something

this is what is happening in my head right now:

  • more research on the Rosicrucians, specifically from a symbolism point of view
  • sub rosa: under the rose, flower symbols, mythology and what that might look like/how also: thorns (see above: Rosicrucians, the Rosy Cross)
  • tarot: the Temperance card (Rider/Waite deck)
  • my favourite: the unicursal hexagram
  • Willow Trees: serpent/grief & death (also Salix, also calligraphy ink)
  • Altor
  • Crowley/Thelema, LaVey, still might be a book in there, somewhere, but I have two others to write first
  • Scene structure, character motivation/action: spear carriers VS full-fledged, what does that look like, should it, might? who knows.

anyway, this book I’m writing is really nifty. I have such affection for it.

a draft, like a breeze coming in through the cracks in the walls.

So I started Gingerbread in May 2014.  About six months later, maybe more, it became The Place Where We Belong, but now it’s the GingerbreadProject because I haven’t found a title for it yet and for me, no title is better than wrong title.  I seem to have started this project in May of 2014, the file that I have from that date is about 16K and most of it doesn’t exist in the current draft. Versions, sure,  looking a bit like twins separated at birth who go on to live separate lives, but there are huge chunks that just got caught away.

I finished the zero draft, which I’d written out of order in bits and pieces (I’m also working on short fiction as the mood strikes), on March 19, 2015, and yesterday the book that I’d cobbled together and had to almost entirely re-write,  is now a magical first draft, at 57,000 words.  3 months isn’t so bad, and it showed me a thing or two about who I am and how I work.  I’ve written my whole life, and although I don’t know if trying to have a novel published is a thing I want, I also don’t know if it’s a thing I don’t want, which puts me in a unique place in my own head. I think it is. But I also know it’s not a thing I’m hitching my wagon to.  I will be okay, either way.

I do think that I have a unique voice, and I’m proud of my little book and I want to be part of the voice of writers that write about diversity and inclusiveness, and I want to be part of that movement. I might be a super white cis-gendered yuppy, but I know how much it hurts when the people around you don’t feel you have value.  I know how hard people will work at trying to convince you (us. me.)  it’s true.  I want to tell a different story.

I found this image today, and it’s amazing:

alchemical rosicrucian


The flowers, the crown. Crown for the Blood King and flowers for the garden of Eden. Not canonical, of course, but I have borrowed so many small things from the Order of the Golden Dawn, and the Voynich MSS, that this combination, just makes me happy.  There’s a part of the book where the MC, Haven, is looking at tapestries on the second floor of the Blood House, and I suspect this one will be there, hanging outside the Rose Room, where Haven first meets the Blood King.  It’s interesting that it popped up after I’d spent half the morning looking at the tattoos of Kristen Holliday (which are amazing, btw), because the flowers and crown would look so, so beautiful in ink (I mean seriously, look at those tattoos!).  Jamie Lee Moyer tumbled the link to Kristen’s blog, and yay for tumbler (And Jamie!)

So,  now I’m thinking about all of this again, all of this magical mystical business. I’m not a scholar, and I never have been, so the chance of me writing some complex thing is very, very unlikely.  I always wonder why we can’t have books in which people just sit about and drink tea.




this is why we edit: a snippet

because, kids. This? Makes no effin’ sense, and i know what it’s about!

The Blood King came in a shadow, somehow the moon, what it cast of light, or didn’t. Silvered and marked, dust and ash, full above my head, I leaned back, looked up. So many stars, flickering twinkle of light, a hundred wishes made, snuffed out. I’d been sitting for an hour, more than an hour, making up minutes. Making up time.

I have seen the future and this is how it will end.

“And the girl, Bonnie Lint? From my perspective the Crimson are really good at making people believe they’re going to live forever but they’re shit at keeping them alive.”

(I’ll miss you when I’m gone.)

The Blood King traced the back of his right hand with the tip of his finger. There were tattoos there, too, his flesh marked by a dial, like a mandala or a wheel. Ink the rust of henna. The skin looked stained, as if the ink were rubbed in instead of tattooed. There were uneven shapes in the centre of the mark; they looked like pieces of torn paper, shaded the blue of faded denim, circled by tiny letters, words too small to read, symbols I didn’t recognize. A language I didn’t know. It looked like the page of a book, or pieces of it. A pinwheel of stars fanned out. Deliberate scatter.

A second trail of stars marked his wrist, marching a path along his forearm. It was as if the whole of the sky, of heaven and earth, had marked him.

“You’re right.”

I jerked my head, squinting at him. “I am?”

“Yes. Emeric was mine to keep to safe and I did not keep him safe and now he is gone down to bone and feathers.”

Lark. Anomaly. “I thought -“

“That I would give you the satisfaction of argument?” The Blood King sighed and pushed his fingers through the dark of his hair. “It’s too late for that. Your brother is Awakening. When eyes of the Bene Elohim open, the Knock use their claws to blind them.”

House of Feather. House of Claw. “The Knock told me who they are, and they told about the Lark and she,” I pointed at Caoimhe, “told me that your pathetic fucking lunchbag is Lark. Everything Terror is, is your fault. You did this to him.”

The Blood King got quiet then, his voice barely a whisper. “There are things you do not understand Haven. His name is Min and he was Mine long before you were born and will be Mine long after you are bone and dust.  You will respect that, and you will respect him or I will make your body a book of blood and etch the truth of your brother’s story on your skin and leave you lifeless.” A vein in his neck throbbed, and blood pooled in his eyes like tears. “Do I make myself clear?”

Do not trust him.     

But I wasn’t crystal and I didn’t break easy. I leaned in, close and closer. “Fuck. You.”

The Blood King opened his mouth and it was all teeth.

“Haven!” Caoimhe screamed my name as the Blood King’s body flew and impacted with my own. I staggered back, the force of the blow sent me flying, airborne, I felt a rush of blood and salt and tears as my lungs seized and my cheek smashed into the floor. I couldn’t breathe. All of the air was gone.

I gasped for breath, my hand on my chest as if I could pound the air back into my lungs. Saliva filled my mouth and I spat it out, a spot of glittering wet on the dark of the floor.

I tasted blood and my neck throbbed where he’d tried to bite me.

Caoimhe stood over my body, blocking me. I felt the Blood King’s anger, hotter than the coals that burned in the fireplace. “You touch her again and you answer to me.” Her voice was cold. Flat.

The Blood King took two steps back, turned and smashed his hand against the wall.  “She’s a fool, and she doesn’t understand.”

“She loves her brother.”

“And I loved our son.”

“So you did, my beautiful Teloch. You and I both and still we failed him.” Caoimhe bent down, brushing my hair from my face. “I apologize for my Teloch, his heart is broken.”

“So is mine,” I mumbled, pushing her away. “I want my monocle back.”

“Teloch,” Caoimhe said as she turned, still kneeling beside me she held out her hand. “Give it to me.”

The Blood King took the glass from his pocket, handing it to her. “The Knock will kill them both.”

Caoimhe nodded as she palmed the glass, then opened my hand and placed it on my palm. “And you are no better.” She swallowed. “He’s right, Haven. The Knock will try to kill you, but here,” she looked again the Blood King and her words faded away.

I held the monocle to my chest. “Teloch?” I wondered.

“Death,” she replied and I looked up at the Blood King and his eyes were red with tears.

this is the safest place you found: a playlist

The Place Where We Belong:

I also tend to listen to my William’s “Speak to me of Abduction” on repeat. The other day it was “Hurricane” by 30STM. It’s the only 30STM song I ever listen to, ever. Both are available to google, but not entirely SFW so for now I will leave you to your own googles.



let me ask you a question: what time is love?

remove 9K, add 1K. That’s how it goes. I worked on the rewrite of my diner-chapter last night, when the Blood King comes and Haven (MC) meets him for the first time. I want him to be scary, unreliable, borderline dangerous. But he’s nice. He’s half fallen angel and all vampire. He’s ruthless and serious and highly, highly capable. But he’s not evil. He’s just old, and seen the world in a way my 17yr old protag hasn’t. He wants to take care of her, she who has lost almost everything.

I need more bad guy, or in my case, it’s bad womens. There are three witches, and when they come nothing good happens, and I know this. And I know the Blood King saves the day and it doesn’t look like saving at all. I know who dies, or almost dies, and I know that Haven’s world changes, again, and I know that her best friend falls in love after the book ends and I know she and the Blood King build a relationship that’s unexpected and full of love and caring because she needs a parent and he makes a good one.

But I feel I’m lacking the epic-ness that folks attach to when they read specfic YA. I write small stories and I always have. I suppose, though, the bigger-ness will come out in the rewrite, and I like having a vampire, who, at his core, is deeply in love with the fallen angel that takes care of him, is tired of knowing the secrets of the universe and desperately misses his son. I think his story would be a great one and maybe one day I’ll write the whole of it, but right now he just wants to make helpings.  But he needs to make helpings and also be at least a tiny bit scary. He did threaten Haven, which was nice. But it wasn’t quite enough.






stranger we become

in this rewrite of “The Place Where We Belong” (whose title is going to change, this one felt right at the beginning, and is now wrong somehow), I realized there was a whole 40-page chapter that probably no longer fit. My MC goes into work, and just as she’s about to close up, one of the possible/maybe antags (this one is the Blood King) shows up. There’s another character, who works for the Blood King who has become more important to the story, and my wee subconscious was telling me that with his previous introduction in the text (when he was being all undead blood drinky), we had the connection we needed to the BK and his nefarious ways, so perhaps he wasn’t needed – perhaps he was better lingering in the sidelines like a dangerous shadow.

So I deleted the chapter (saved for posterity, of course because I liked it a lot)and started writing it anew. This time I was going to have a friend of the MC (who she feels betrayed by) show up so they could have a Chit Chat of epic proportions.

No sooner did I open the door, and bam! the Blood King is like IAMHEREBITCHES, because he is nothing if not ego and did not want to lose his scene (he has a really important scene near the end, but apparently that wasn’t quite enough for him).  So there you go. I deleted the chapter, only to be told that I have to write it again. It’s different, slightly, as the MC has more information than she did before, and although I’m glad I can re-purpose a bunch of the previous version, I’m also amused by the BKs pushy-ass ways.

The complexity, here, is that he’s a good guy, but my MC doesn’t know that. For the reader, I don’t want it to be obvious – because even “good guys” have an agenda.


“And you and Quince?”

I tugged on my t-shirt, stretching out the ace of hearts print. There were no words to describe what Quince and I were, nothing that didn’t require notes and a diagram and all of my fingers and toes. “He’s my alibi,” I said, instead of the complex answer. The Blood King laughed.

“Emerick loved him, too,” he said, and watery pink-stained tears formed in the corners of his eyes. He smiled, a half-true, searching smile, both sad and wistful.

“You ruined that,” I whispered and he shook his head.

“Some things are bigger than all of us,” he murmured and the tattoo on the back of his hand shifted, grew another leaf, birthed another star.

Here lives a kindhearted woman. (snippet)

It was a particularly cloudblue July Tuesday when Eve Hallow came barreling down the lane on her rusted red bicycle, a trio of grass pinks in her wire basket and sidebags full of groceries, only to notice a young man she didn’t recognize laying on her porch, his feet on a great blue backpack, staring at the sky with his eyes closed.

She turned the bike onto her flagstone path, pedaled past the side of the house, right into the backyard and into her tiny shed; a little clapboard room barely big enough for the gardener’s tools. She dismounted, leaned the bike against a barewood wall, crept out and around the corner, and back towards her porch, forgetting, just for a moment, her grass pinks and stuffed brown bags.

Tapping the sleeping boy with the tip her shoe, Eve waited and watched for signs of life. Watched for more than just the rise and fall of his chest, the quick twitch of his nose.

And because all stories at the edge of the world tend to start with the weather, it was just then that all of the blue clouds went grey, and a great boom shook the land as rain began to tumble from the sky in great fat dragontear drops, soaking the strange sleeping boy, and almost drowning Eve Hallow who stood puzzled and dumfounded by the stranger on her porch who seemed uninterested in waking at all.

I was organizing my writing folder(s) and came across this, from the beginning of a novel called The Trap Road, about a mysterious house in the middle of nowhere that two storm chasers stumble upon when the map they are using sends them in the completely wrong direction.

I like it. I might go back to it someday, after this one, and the other one.

never let it be said I was untrue…

..I just never found a home inside of you.

And. So. Here’s the thing: if you don’t submit stories you can’t be rejected. Being rejected twice in the same week for a story you think is pretty amazeballs is hard on ye olde ego. I realize that rejection is part of the process and yadda yadda and you have to be tenacious and stubborn, and that’s all true, but it still kinda blows goats. Which, I know, makes for happy goats, but less than thrilled Ambers. So, that’s where it is.

This week I’m working on two projects, the neverending novel of doom, which had me stuck for days and days and days until some talking out loud with the feller made me realize the chapters were out of order, so now that we’ve cleared that bit of the road we can go forward. Slowly, but baby steps are better than no steps.

I also hauled a really, really old story out of my personal slushpile, “Red”, which I wrote after hearing Combichrist’s song of the same name way back in the day (like 2007). It’s a future-dystopic-vampire-western, where the vampires are half metal/half machine people, even if that’s not really clear in the narrative, maybe because it’s not overly important? There’s also a sassy lady named Marie Antoinette who isn’t onscreen most of the time, but she shows up at the end. I kind of love it, if only because it’s super fun and writing it is a no-pressure game.  I added almost 800 words yesterday, and edited some others, and my word-count for the year tipped over the 20K mark, which is also kind of awesome given that I didn’t record word-count for a month as I was editing and all that math gave me a rash.

So, that’s where I’m at down here in the word mines.

Here’s a picture of Scott Fox. His face is My Day in Rockstars. His face is how rejections make me feel. Upside?



He’s the feller behind iVardensphere, and he once saved my sister and I from a particularly violent mosh pit. iVardensphere’s new album, FABLE, is unrelenting and overwhelming, especially when I listen to it on my super fancy new headphones. It’s like there’s a crack in the world and you fall right through. iVardensphere are also Canadian (Alberta), which makes them double-awesome.