Saturday, April 9, 2011

Closing Night

I so miss the days when I could sit down at the word processor and put down in words the images I was seeing in my head. Plot and character would introduce themselves to my mind in full lighting and makeup, well rehearsed and ready to perform. I simply took dictation, recording the story they played out for me.

I am beginning to think that my production company has gone bankrupt and all of my players have left me. Did I forget to pay the light bill at the theatre? Did my troop go union? Where did they go?

Now, when I sit to write, all I am presented with is an empty stage. No scenery, no costumes, no actors waiting in the wings. The lights are dark and the house is empty, save for the unfinished playbills scattered throughout the aisles.

If only I'd not lost my sense of metaphor, I could explain it.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Testing the whole type it in Word and post it online thing

Just trying to configure my my MSWord so that I can blog to my new blog site. But it's not working.


So nothing new there!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

And then, inspiration struck . . .

Or maybe it didn't. I was hoping the title would get me rolling on a great idea for a new story, or at least a witty blog. So far though, not so much.

I've been remiss in keeping my blog lately. The past two years have not been what I'd call conducive to writing funny little bits to keep the masses amused, so may I be forgiven for the lapse in entries?

Ideally I would like to finish a novel or two or six that I've been working for a few years, but I've not had the spirit to go back to them. It's not that they're especially bad — or for that matter good — stories that has kept me away. It's only that the stories have stalled, and are stubborn in giving up their secret endings so that I can keep going. I always let the story (a.k.a. the muse) lead the way, you see. If I try to steer it, move it, or otherwise coerce to go my way, the muse will just flip me the bird and flitter away. If, however, I give him free rein and let him simple dictate the story to me, it goes along fine. I've often describe the creation of my first novel, "My Brother's Keeper" as a hostage situation with the muse. He was a merciless captor who would not release me until I had delivered 180,312 words. I managed to scrape up that ransom in about three months. He was a little less demanding with "In The Wake of Ashes" only requiring 172,347 words. That one took a year. He allowed me 3 years for "By Right of Will".

(Notice how I worked in all my book titles there? That was for your convenience so you can hurry over to Amazon and buy them. Wasn't that nice of me?)

But the muse has been fickle as of late, sending me starts and fits of one story, only to pull up stakes and move on to something else, leaving me with lots of unfinished work. I feel guilty trying to start something new, when I have five projects languishing in my word processor. I want to finish them, I really do. I ruminate on plot, seeing scenes, making plans for this story or that, and when I get to the point where I'm ready to start writing, the muse smites me for daring to work without him.

It had gotten to the point that I had finally decided that my writing days were over. I said as much out loud a couple of weeks ago. "I'm done," I declared. "Archive the prose, fold up the poetry and unfinished short stories, and call it quits."

Later that day, out of the blue, my mother called to tell me that a friend of a friend of a cousin or something knew someone who was maybe interested in doing an interview with me on my latest book. Well, I know mom is well meaning, so I was polite and said, "thanks, I'll let you know if anything comes of it."

I was pretty surprised when something did come from it. I was contacted by Judy Buswick, host of "The Writers", a locally produced show that features local writers with published work. She wanted me to appear on her show. Needless to say, I was pretty glad to do so, so I put in for a day off from my paying job for the day, and got to be an author again. It was fun.

The muse smiled. "Quit huh? I don't think so."

But he didn't bring me any new story. So I figured, I'd just 'slow down'. But really, slowing down from a full stop is pretty redundant, so I just let the glow of the interview warm me for a while, and then quietly slip back into my 'not writing' mode.

Then, my friend Jesse, read one of my short stories on her radio show. "Road Trip" was suddenly being read and I was getting requests from printed versions.

The muse laughed. "Might be time to dust off that word processor, Lorrieann."

So, I came to realize that the reports of the demise of my writing career may have been premature. It's time to start again.

So, that's where I am. Starting over. I'm still waiting for the inspiration to hit, but this time, I have faith that the muse will come back to me. Maybe he'll even be demanding again. That would be nice.

I'm working on setting up a video link to the interview. I'll post it when it's available – or when the technology muse returns and helps me find a way to do it.




Monday, August 2, 2010

Work in Progress - The Letter

The young courier arrived in the early morn before the sun made even the slightest show on the horizon, much to the chagrin of the inn keeper. The lad, garbed in a rain-sodden broadcloth riding cloak, the mud of the road thick on his boots, stood in the common room of the old Thistle and Crow Inn. His expression was calm and patient, as he endured the barrage of grumblings from the affronted inn keeper.

"What do you mean by banging a man awake at this hour? The inn is closed!" The old man barked, waving his candle toward the door, spattering the lad's cloak with wax. The courier was unmoved. "Did you not hear? Be gone! You're muddying my floors."

"I beg your pardon, sir, but I am sent to deliver a letter to one of your guests."

"A letter? At this forsaken hour of the morn? My guests are all abed and sleeping." He gave the lad a push toward the door. "Return when the sun is high, and be sure your boots are clean!"

The lad pushed back. "You are Ben Aulds, yes?"

The old man narrowed his eyes. "Knowin' m' name won't get you in any quicker — 'specially if I dinnae ken you."

"If you please, it won't take but a moment, I am charged with delivering this now, sir."

"And I said I shall not wake . . . what is this?"

"For your trouble." The lad dropped a pouch into the Ben's hand. It jingled as he caught it. "Now, if you please. I should like to examine your register, to know which room to find—"

"I've but one guest at the moment." Ben eyed the courier warily for a moment, then glanced toward the stairs then back to the pouch again. "The gentleman guards his privacy and declined to sign the registry. Give your letter to me, and I shall see that he gets it."

The lad reached into his cloak and produced another small pouch and held it out, pulling it back slightly when the inn keeper reached for it. "In which room might I find him?"

"Top of the stairs. First door to the left."

The courier dropped the second pouch into the innkeeper's hand, then brushed past him toward the stairs. A moment later he reappeared, and with nary a nod to the inn keeper, hurried past and out the door.

Before the echoes of the closing door had even waned they were replaced by the frantic clatter of footsteps on the stairs. The inn keeper turned, startled to see the tall man, his hair still unkempt from sleep, his clothes haphazardly pulled on, nearly tumble head over heels as he attempted to pull on his boots while rushing down the stairs. "Ben! Ready a horse!" he called, groping for the banister as he stumbled on the bottom step.

The innkeeper rushed forward, catching the man before he fell completely to the floor. "John, slow down, lad. You'll fall and crack your skull, and bleed all over my floor. Now, tell me, where is it you are going at this hour?"

The man clutched at the inn keeper's arms, a wild smile stretching across his face. "She's answered! At last, at last, she's answered! I must leave at once. She's consented, Ben!"

Ben's eyes went wide. "Are you certain? 'Twas truly her hand that wrote?"

"Of course! You know how long I've waited for her reply. Oh, Ben, why the worried face?"

"I worry when letters cannot wait until the light of day to be delivered—even when they've been long awaited. It makes me think there is ill in the wind."

"Always the cynic." John laughed. "You should be congratulating me. I'm to be wed, my friend. By this time tomorrow, I, the lowly John White, the son of no-one of any renown, shall return with the Lady Isabel Fenworth, by my side as my bride."

"But the Lady Isabel . . . the banns have all been called for her betrothal to Lord Penfield, John."

"It is why I must hurry, Ben, the wedding is set to take place tomorrow. I've just enough time to ride to her house in Brighton."

"You're mad!"

"Mad with joy!"

"Do you tell me you intend to just. . . spirit her away like some scoundrel in the night?"

"Scoundrel?" John laughed again. "Don't you see? It was her father who arranged her marriage, not her. The old bastard has no use for the likes of me, a simple mercer, and has told me to my face that he promised her away solely to keep her from being with me. But at last, she has determined to be free of him. Free of them all! Please, Ben, be happy for me."

Ben sighed, and turned away. "I shall be happy when I see you return and all is as you say. I pray these farthings I took are truly from the lady, and will not be your undoing." He rattled the coins, then emptied the pouch into his hands. He let out a surprised gasp, to see not the five farthings he expected but five shining gold crowns. "Zounds!" He quickly emptied the other pouch to find it equally endowed.

"It looks like you've finally made your fortune, Ben. Do you believe now? Lady Isabel is known to be generous." John grinned at Ben's open faced gawk. "I'll need some food for my journey, some bread and cheese if you can spare it." He straightened his shirt, and checked his pockets.

Ben simply stood staring down, idly turning the crowns in his palm.



"The cheese?"

"Oh, yes. Yes, of course . . . cheese . . . " he said, absently dropping the coins into his pocket, before reluctantly disappearing into the kitchen.

A quarter hour later, Ben stood on the door step watching as John galloped away, the first rays of dawn painting the eastern sky red. "Red sky in the morn . . . an ill sign for certain," he sighed to himself. "Be well, my friend."

* * *

He rode hard, stopping only briefly to allow the horse to rest. Brighton, on a fair day, would be a day's ride at least, and he wanted to be within sight of the village well before dark. To do that, he would have to push the horse to his limits. By noon he had no choice but allow the animal long rest, though he was barely half way. He led the horse to a stream, then seated himself on a log to eat some of the cheese Ben had packed. He took the time to read again the letter. The script was delicate and small, slightly less neat than Isabel's usual penmanship, the words few, but in the brevity an urgency he could not ignore. 'Twas written in haste, no doubt, he thought, and after all is not the script but the words that are important.

My dearest,

Come tonight to Brighton. Look for my candle in the window. I shall wait for you.

Your Isabel

"I'm coming, Isabel," he said quietly, his hand resting over the pocket that held her letter.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Well things are rolling along now

I started in on the new book again the other night. "New" is a relative term here. I've been working on Passages now for three years already. I can't believe it's three years since I started and I'm not even halfway to the finish line on this one. Too many subplots. I need a road map to keep it all straight.

I also realized, to my dismay, that it was a year ago this week that I started writing "Redamntion" (yes I made that word up.) I went back to re-read what I had started and I really like the story. I was moving along really great on that one too. I stopped working on it near the end of January, when I got laid off.

Now, logic would dictate that being out of work should have meant I had all kinds of time to write. And I did have all kinds of time. So why didn't I write? I did, a little. I worked on Passages, fully planning to get the whole thing knocked out before the end of the summer. I was rolling pretty good for a couple of months. I don't remember what triggered me to stop, but I recall opening the word processor one day, and realized that the muse had clammed up again.

So now I'm working for a living again, thank goodness, and enjoying it greatly. My days are busy, and I am going to bed at a descent hour. My time is filled -- so of course it means it's time to write. Yup, the muse is back, and he's demanding my attention, even though I do not have the time I need to be his scribe. Why does that happen?

I have now got four novels in the works, none of them related to each other. I think I'll put together an anthology and call it, The Great Unfinished Works of Lorrieann Russell.

Chapter One: The Last Ballad of Amelia White; begun in June of 2002, and languishes at 72,305 words.
Chapter Two: Farewell Arcana; begun November of 2002 because I couldn't work on Amelia anymore. This one is stalled at 50,253 words, but I really like the story!
Chapter Three: Passages; the last installment of my published series. You'd think I would get that one done just so I can have the whole set.
Chapter Four: Redamntion: begun last year on a lark. Maybe it will turn into a short story.

There are also a couple of others that I've started, and abandoned. How did I ever put 180,000 words together for that first book?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Well things are rolling along now

I started at my new job this past week. Talk about jumping right in! It was great. I started out at a conference with a lot of folks who came in from all over the country for a three day event.   There was candy and screaming monkeys. What's not to love?

Seriously, I feel like I've not stopped moving for a week.  Along with a new job, I went to Maine for a family reunion,  drove through two wicked ass thunderstorms and managed to add a chapter to my book.

That was the real strategy to finding a job I think. Get rolling on the book, while I have all kinds of time, then as soon as it is going REALLY good -- blammo -- got a job.  I'm not complaining.  I'm thrilled.

Yeah, this is just a throwaway blog for the most part.  The real writing is yet to come, so please be patient and stay tuned.

Shout out to all my Xanga buds! Thanks for following me here.