Tuesday, November 3, 2015

While my wife and I were back home, I didn't get a lot of writing done. Since we have started travelling again I have gotten back to editing Transitioning Home. I am aware that I should direct some energy to the next chapter of Potter but that is farther down on the totem pole.

I did write an entry on the other blog, talking about starting this next round of travel and going to a Da Vinci exhibit as well as Escher and Rodin. That was very cool and my head is drunk with all the art. So, there is that.

As I read more books or write more I'll keep you updated.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Been busy lately trying to fix Transitioning Home. When I wrote it, I was not aware of how passive the story is. So I need to trim the fat and make things more active. It's a real pain but at least the whole thing will read better at the other end. The odds are that I am going to add a scene or two. Honestly, at the end this will be a different story, with a number of similarities to what was on BCTS.

The same is planned with Splintered Life, though only more extreme. I figure I need another 6+ chapters there to really flesh things out the way I want to. Then it will be ready.

I am also working on Amulet of Adventure, though that is a bit on the back burner with all this other stuff. The changes are good for the story overall but it hurts to cut so many things. But you cut what you must and make the changes that are needed for a stronger story.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Vermont has been great for a number of reasons. The scenery is awesome. The vibe is lovely. All in all it has been a wonderful stay.

In addition to that, I have had a number of poems rolling through my head trying to take form, done some editing and writing, have a new novel idea, read a lot of stuff, met David Orr, so many, many things that have been making the creative juices flow again. Granted I was worried if this would ever come back but clearly I needed to heal first. Sigh…

Other things, when we arrived here the trees all seemed to have the same color green, pretty much across the board. Now that the leaves are turning color, it is like each tree is trying to be as unique as possible. It is like Van Gogh sneezed on his palette and the colors went everywhere. I have never seen such vast color variance in leaves. My wife noted that in the spring things are like this as well and that summer is that time where the trees try to be grownups and conform only to get to fall and say screw it. I think that’s a brilliant way of looking at it.

So back to reading and such. Ta

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I also finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, yesterday. I really enjoyed it. Gaiman is excellent at creating a sense of mystery out of the simplest if things. Since the majority of the story was told as if by a seven year old, that even upped the potential scare. At 7, the world has so many mysteries that it is difficult to grasp. Gaiman uses that as well as his own particular bent towards mythos to have the Maiden, Mother, and Crone try to help the boy out.

The characters are interesting, and described in an interesting and very seven year old manner. You get more based on the emotional connection to the character. Lettie’s mother just comes across as a little different than the usual mom, but not much. Even his parents are more archetypes than people, which I do understand. He has a Father and a Mother and they are Adults. Those are huge distinctions at that age.

It was an entertaining book with some very intense emotional moments. If you like his style of writing it would be a very good read.

The other book I finished was one on Da Vinci. This book gave a brief historical overview and then dealt with his notebooks and anatomical drawings. The author was upfront with his focus on the anatomical work of Da Vinci, but he ended up making it sound like Da Vinci focused more on that than anything else. That was odd and not supported by other accounts.

I did like to learn the history and dispensation of the notebooks after his death. That was very neat, to hear about how discoveries of the notebooks occurred. The fact that several times chests have been opened and surprise Da Vinci! makes me chuckle. Not a bad overview but with some problems.

I read a lot yesterday.

Monday, September 14, 2015

I just finished rereading The 97th Step by Steve Perry. It is the follow up to the Matador trilogy and is quite excellent. One of the things Perry excels at is action scenes. When I was focusing on improving my action sequences I reread a lot of his books. He keeps things trimmed down, sparse, focusing on the movement and flow of events rather than get overly introspective during combat. In the few times I have been in combat that is what it feels like, these short staccato moments even when things are flowing. I was having trouble translating what I knew into something that could be written down.

All his books in that series are excellent for that. He establishes character quickly and moves right into things, no fuss no muss. And he doesn’t give you too much information, using a lot of odd words, different languages, etc… to set to mood. The atmosphere is good but honestly, it his action sequences that get me.

His interpersonal stuff is also good. When characters fall in love it is easy to see the why of it all, which is nice. That way you can believe the actions that happen thanks to those emotions. All in all it is wonderful stuff and certainly helped me learn a great deal about writing. I have followed his blog as well, which has been interesting. He has many and varied interests and not all of them show in the books. That’s not bad. Getting to know him as a person has also helped me figure out stuff about being a writer. So I go back to that well often, to reacquaint myself with those characters, that way of writing and such. Good fun.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Writing Blog
It seems as if the block to my writing has broken or at least there is a large crack in it. I have been able to write more, some of it even good, which is a nice thing. I have story ideas popping up, which is also a nice sign. Maybe this means I can get some more work done and hopefully get out Transitioning Home and finish the tweaks to Amulet of Adventure. That would be nice.

In four days it will have been six months post-surgery. I guess that does make sense that my writing is coming back. That was a big deal. Anytime you have such a big surgery your world is going to change, whether you want it to or not. My world has changed. I do see somethings differently, and there have been some changes to my interests. Nothing totally huge, like I now want to be a Mennonite Rock Star or something, but there has been a perceptual shift that is interesting.

What does this mean for my writing? Well, I certainly will be able to keep doing it, which was something I was worried about. For most of my life writing has been a huge component of who I was and am. The loss of writing would have been a serious blow to the psyche. Considering I use it as an outlet for some of my thoughts and feelings, that could have turned me into a bomb of sorts. But thankfully, things did not go that route. You have no idea how happy that makes me. I love writing and storytelling and to have lost that would have been to lose me.

So, the writing will continue and hopefully I will be able to get more serious works out. Besides Transitioning Home I also want to get out Splintered Life. It was the story that got me into more prose work and to see it come out for a much wider audience would be lovely. Sure the money would be a nice treat but in the end, I far more care about the fact that people get to read and enjoy things.

With that in mind, enough woolgathering, time I got back to work. Ciao,

Friday, September 11, 2015

I just finished The Hum and The Shiver by Alex Bledsoe. It was an excellent book. Alex certainly has a grasp of the East Tennessee life, and small town fun and games. The characters are really good, and with the exception of one moment with the Army, I could buy all of it. I liked the plot, as it had a nice slow growth, being mostly character driven and about rediscovering their roots. The atmosphere that he created was great, with excellent description of the landscape and surrounding nature without bogging down the text.

The Tufa, as a group of characters to write about, seem like a fun subject. They have a lot of interesting characteristics and their subculture is fascinating. The heavily music driven nature of their culture comes across easily with the sheer number of songs and musical references thrown into the text. Watching them use their music in different ways was really interesting.

I highly recommend the book, as it is a fun read. We even pimped it out to a waitress here in Vermont whose name was Buffy, “like the vampire slayer” in her own words. I absolutely look forward to diving into the rest of the Tufa novels and am glad that Alex is working on his fifth. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

It’s the day before my 47 birthday. My daughter Katie is 23 and married. If she had been mine biologically I would have been 23 years old at the time myself. I was a mess at 23. Between dysphoria, trying to be “manly” and failing, going to the University of Kansas, being engaged to Alison, and struggling to keep from being a basket case it was a miracle I made it through. 23 is a rough age.

My writing at that time was primarily poetry. Some of it was good but mostly it was overly intellectual epic poems. I did learn a great deal from doing that but honestly, someone should have taken the Walt Whitman away from me and maybe introduced me to the Beat poets, or other more modern writers. I dabbled a bit with prose writing, but my main source of writing was poetry.
That’s not to say that it was a bad thing. To this day I still love poetry. I read Neruda, Oliver, Snyder, and many others because there is a certain magic about poetry that isn’t in prose. Prose is amazing and can weave these beautiful tapestries of word and imagery that can share with you someone’s life and experiences. What does it matter that it is fiction if it is well written and draws you in? Poetry however is a different animal. Where prose can be a tapestry, poetry is a snapshot, in all it’s glorious clarity and depth. You get to drink deep of a moment, a feeling, a wish. Where prose might be a meal, poetry is a drink. Sometimes a shot, sometimes a refreshing glass.

Now I am far more into prose. I have easily written over 4 million words since 2004, a good bit of it fanfiction and transgender fiction posted online. Looking back over the things I have written it is clear that I have grown in skill, able to weave words more effectively, able to tell a deeper more fulfilling story than before. That makes sense, as I have gotten a good amount of feedback from my writing and have worked on honing my craft, pulling lessons from writers I am impressed with.
For example, I have drawn from Steve Perry how to write an action scene. His Matador series has some of the best action sequences in fiction. They move organically and catch you up in the action in a visceral manner. I have learned how to craft atmosphere from Stephen King. Despite my not liking anything he has written save The Dark Tower books, even I have to admit that King can shape atmosphere more brilliantly than most any other author. There are moments in The Stand that are terrifying, though nothing happens, all because the descriptions touch something visceral inside. Many authors helped me learn the fine art of character creation, though none more than Heinlein. He said that people don’t read books just for atmosphere or such, but for characters. If you create good characters people will want to read the story, regardless of the setting. After all, it is people to whom the elements of plot happen. From Michael Crichton I learned how to plot in such a way that a maze of madness envelops the characters but it is all logical and step by step when seen from a distance.
That is not a full list, obviously. There are more authors I could mention, especially in the Sci-fi Fantasy realm such as Lackey, Tolkien, Lewis, Asimov, Brooks, etc… No the process of learning the craft of writing is a never ending one, where you hone yourself against writers you admire, whose craft skill you wish to emulate. There are always great stories out there that you can drink deeply of and see if anything sticks.

So yes, I am 47, have one published novel to my name, far more than that online and I am hoping to have a future in this career. Will I succeed? Honestly, at this point it is readers who will determine that. Because it doesn’t matter how good you are, how profound your writing is, how deeply it touches upon the human condition if readers don’t connect to it. So, here’s hoping.

P.S. My wife said to celebrate the first six months of my novel 300 Rains being out and available on Amazon. Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/300-Rains-Heather-OMalley-ebook/dp/B00UB6FUIA/ref=zg_bs_10886545011_3

Monday, August 17, 2015

I have been reading some Pablo Neruda lately, getting drunk on his words. A lot of you know that I am a HUGE fan of Neruda and have been since I was introduced to him in the movie Il Postino. The poems chosen for that movie were among his best. The way he talks about love and desire is enrapturing. Just reading it drives me to writing poetry.

I haven't written any poetry in a while, at least not a lot at any given time, ever since I completed my thesis in 2005. I put out things now and again but nothing like the amount I did then. Since then, for the last decade, I have been focusing heavily on my prose. Now they are both at the same skill level. I want to be able to write both but the roll of fiction stays in the mind more than the etherialness of poetry. Capturing a moment or a feeling as purely as possible is not an easy thing.

Will I write both? I certainly hope so. I know that there are more poems that go into I Tiresias and I have been trying to get into that. Hopefully Walkabout will give me the ability to relax into both poems and other words.

Here's hoping.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The root of woes

I was able to finish up the chapter for Harry Potter and Grief's Wisdom, the fanfic I am writing. It has some good stuff for both plot and character development. That alone has been nice. Granted the final length was only over 2k words, but it is the principal of the matter.

There was a bit of a release of tension as I wrote about Harry's woes, as fiction was moving again. It was nice. I am not trying to push myself too hard as healing is a big part of this process. As my body heals, and my mind reconnects, the focus on the physical world will back off some, allowing me to get back into those different worlds. I miss it.

True, it used to be a way for me to hide, creating stories and scenarios that were far removed from the stuff that was bothering me. I have also used it as inexpensive therapy, having a character go through something plaguing me, letting me work issues out through them. I have also lost myself to the sound and feel of words, creating things that have a good sound but go nowhere. That is the nature of my writing. However, above all that, I love telling stories. Trying to shape and make clear the narratives and characters that present themselves to me is a challenge. Each story, each character I learn more and more about the craft of writing.

This crafting is the development of a sense that tells you what word fits best, what scene goes where, what events the character has to go through in order to become who they are meant to be. I love the craft of writing because I love the magic of storytelling. Just like a painter needs to learn all sorts of techniques in order to paint their best, so does a writer need to learn ways of telling before they can let their best work come forth.

As you can see, I have a real passion for this. That is the biggest reason why I hate not being able to write anything over 4-500 words unless it is non-fiction. But at least I got that working for me.

Friday, August 14, 2015

There's the rub..

As most people who know me or follow my tumblr know, I suffer from depression. Not just the temporary feel bad and mope kind but the debilitating, turn off my ability to life kind. I am happy for those whose depression leaves and never comes back. I feel more like Smeagol, who gets Gollum to leave only for him to return when things don't go very well. My vitality fades and my desire to do anything goes up in smoke. As one might imagine that is the kind I am dealing with now.

The Walkabout has been good in a number of ways but Depression simply drags me down. And one of my main ways to battle depression is to write. Alas, I have not been able to really write fiction since my surgery. And there's the rub.

If writing helps me through depression and I can't write does that mean I'm stuck? Well, I don't know. I had a major surgery and those take a good bit of energy to recover from and I am aware that things are still healing. So if it is simply a healing thing, then that will work itself out. If as the voices say, that I can no longer write, then I don't know. I will address that issue when and if that seems to be the case.

Oddly enough I can do non-fiction writing, as evidenced by my continued posting on FemHype. That seems like a suitable stopgap measure and so I am dealing with it. Writing on this and the Walkabout blog have been helpful. Creative non-fiction is a thing and I have been doing some of it. I figure, that so long as I can write something then the fear that I have lost the knack will fade. I hope.

Anyway, that's what I have been up to, fighting ghosts and struggling with uncooperative fingers.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

I am sorry that I haven't written much, things got busy here. There hasn't been a lot of writing lately but that is mostly due to the fact that I have been either unconscious or out and about. The interesting thing is that I have been getting a lot of ideas for both stories and poems, which is encouraging. I want to get back to writing because I miss the rush I get from the flow of story through me. Le sigh...

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I was able to get some editing done, which was nice. Not a lot going on so far, so I simply tackled Transitioning Home, to try and get more done. I may need to do more than I originally thought as there is a lot more telling than I was expecting. Given that I wrote this in 2006-7, my writing has changed just a little bit since then. Oy

Monday, August 3, 2015

Traveling is going great. I think it might help me get past this writing congestion, as I have been feeling a few things percolate. That is most certainly a good sign. I need to finish up the edits for Transitioning Home, since it is pretty much ready. A lot of that is cleaning up the prose and adding a few things, partially thanks to my experiences post transition. That should be exciting. After that, I honestly don't know.

Since I am still rather grumpy with my parents I might do more on The Cost of Blasphemy. I am certain it will hurt to write but I also know that it will be a good read and rather powerful. Amulet of Adventure also needs tinkering, especially with the way that things have changed with the story. Regardless, I have a few things I can get to if I can ever get back to them.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

I have been working very hard on my Femhype articles because I can write them fairly easily. It's not fiction work but it is still creative and gets me moving in a direction. That is what is important. I may not be able to write story but I can still write. Femhype really is helping to relieve the pressure that not being able to write creates.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Not a huge fan of all the health issues getting in the way of my writing. Very annoying. Thankfully it only seems to affect my writing ability and not my ability to review. So, with that in mind I am going through Transitioning Home again in order to get it somewhat ready for publication. What I will do from there I don't know but getting it ready to go can't be a bad thing. And a number of rewrites/edits come from the fact that I am a better writer now than when I first worked on the story. I am pleased with the story but I am able to make better emotional connections to things, making the book stronger.

One of the things I have been thinking about is that I am good at writing Trans narratives but is that all I want to do? I have several stories that are non-Trans but are they as strong as the others? I don't want to pigeon hole myself as a Trans writer but it is an area I can speak to. Hell, I am not even sure how to go about finding an agent or publisher if I have that particular leaning in my stories. And my YA series isn't even remotely Trans so I don't know.

Figuring out how to market myself is challenging and not exactly fun. I am doing what I can but it really is annoying. That seems more difficult than anything else, honestly. Am I a writer who is Trans or am I a Trans writer? What do I want to write? How do I want the market to see me? This sort of thing is problematic. I understand that a particular identity can help make marketing easier but that does seem to limit me more than liberate me. I have no clue.

So, anyway, editing and revising are in my future. Yay...

Monday, July 20, 2015

Writing has been tough for me lately. I have been able to write some non-fiction articles for FemHype, which have been nice but fiction is what really does it for me. Granted, there is a lot going on in my life, what with having had surgery in March, getting ready for Walkabout, the nonsense with my family, etc... so it does make sense that I am having difficulty really stringing things together. I am working on that but it isn't easy. Here's hoping that I can get Transitioning Home and Amulet of Adventure edited and out. That would be a nice change of pace.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Recently I have been having issues with my writing, namely I haven't been able to do any. I think part of that stems from the fact that I was trying to push the creative process when I needed to let it do its own thing. The Finder of Words was planned to be done and edited by the end of this month. It is a fun story and I enjoy writing it but I ran into a roadblock. I can't figure out the moment when things go from happy and fun to not good at all. That moment is a pivot point in the story and without it I can't quite figure out which way to go. I am also editing Transitioning Home and reworking Amulet of Adventure. Both are serious pieces and my mind can't seem to focus on anything. Maybe blogging might help. Thanks.