Monday, 29 July 2013

The escalator to hell

A photo prompt from Writeworld. It was of an escalator with very dark red walls and they looked like rock; they had texture.

A picture says a thousand words. Write them.
Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a critique about this picture. Write something about this picture.
Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!

He glanced down the red tinged passage. “I’ve heard of a stairway to heaven but I never knew there was an escalator to Hell.”
“Very funny. Just get on it.”
“Is the highway to Hell reserved for new inmates?” he asked as he stepped onto the top step. The escalator started with a jerk.
“Yeah, and the escalator is just for visitors,” she said. She stepped on behind him.
“Cool. So we aren’t staying?”
“Not if I can help it.”
It was an interminable ride down. They rode rather than walked, to preserve their energy. He hummed and eventually started singing. He transposed the lyrics to Highway to Hell with escalator. It didn’t fit.
She gave him an exasperated look. The song would be stuck in her head all day, now.
They stood on the same step, facing each other and not touching anything. It seemed safer that way. She used the time to triple check her weapons and ammunition. He watched her.
“Nobody seems to come up the other way,” he commented.
“No. Not often.”
“What makes you think we will?”
“I’ve done this before.”
“Right. I knew that.” He paused. “So you have a contact?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
“Hmmm. She doesn’t want to talk about it… so that makes it … an old boyfriend or-”
“Drop it!” she barked at him.
“-Or family,” he finished triumphantly.
He got an eye roll for that.
“Ha! I knew it!” He clapped his hands together. “Wait… fallen angels can’t have children.”
“So you can’t be Satan’s daughter, he’s a fallen angel.”
“Or Lucifer’s.”
“Which Hell are we going to?” he asked with a frown.
Now he asks. And you said it was Hell, I didn’t.”
“Shit. We must be going to the Underworld and that makes you Hades’ daughter, Macaria.”
“Yep. You know I prefer Marcie.”
Silence as he processed what she had said.
“Huh,” he said. “We should suggest they get an elevator. Although the music might make me crazy, but it would make it easier for next time.”
“Next time?” she asked with an eyebrow raise.
“My soul is in your hands,” he said.
She snorted. “More than you know.”
© AM Gray 2013

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Can I talk to you about this later?

Writer’s Block

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!

He grabbed her by the upper arm, stopping her from moving away from him. In the crowd she suddenly moved against the flow of students going to class.
“Hey?” she demanded.
He looked around and tried to pull her backwards with him.
“Stop it! What do you want?” She hauled her arm out of his grasp.
“You said we’d talk later.”
“I did not.”
His head drew back as if she had slapped him. “You did. You said ‘can I talk to you about this later?’ And it’s later. Way later.”
She had hoped that he wouldn’t remember. “I don’t want to talk about it, now.”
“Why not?”
She pursed her lips and didn’t answer him.
“I’ve got time now and so do you. I know you have no classes until eleven.”
“What? You read my uni timetable now?”
“No, don’t you remember, last week? You told me you were free on Friday morning.”
“Thursday night,” she said.
“Jeez... don’t tell me you forgot that.”
That was indeed the problem. She hadn’t forgotten and she could barely think of anything else. She had been trying to avoid him all week as a result.
“What’s wrong? You’re avoiding me. You won’t even let me touch you.” He shuffled his body in closer to hers. “After what we did,” he whispered. He brushed her hair away from her face.
She inhaled and closed her eyes. This was going to hurt; it was going to hurt so badly.
She shifted her bag on her shoulder and took a step back away from him. She couldn’t do this if he was touching her.
“Oh, that,” she sneered. “I try to do that every Thursday night. It’s bar night and I get a little horny with a few drinks under my belt.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“Pfft. You don’t even know me. And you were drunk.”
The look of betrayal on his face pained her.
“Not that drunk. I know something weird happened. That was not normal sex,” his voice had dropped to a whisper. “And you said you would tell me what it was. Later.”
“I-I can’t.” She shook her head. “Just leave it alone.”
She turned and she hurried away from him. She risked a glance back and he was still standing there looking gutted. He saw her look back and she knew he wasn’t going to leave it alone. She had made a big mistake, chosen the wrong guy and underestimated him. She would probably have to move.
© AM Gray 2013

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Technology and me

I’m not anti tech but I am often slow to embrace it. Kid one tells me I am a neo-luddite. My phone is seriously more than ten years old. It makes my replies to the kids’ sms pretty succinct. ‘Mum, can I go to x’s house?’ reply - ‘no’ lol. So much irony that I now write eBooks and fanfic online.
Australia is installing a national broadband network. There has been much debate about what and how to do it and the actual physical practicalities of it. I live on a main road and this week they started cabling us up. I don’t think we are actually connected yet, but whatever they have done to the cables (maybe installed a detour while they work?) it has slowed my Internet to dial up speeds.
And I am not coping.
I can’t load Google Drive to chat to my betas as I do every day. I can barely load my own blog! YouTube? Nope. Even tweetdeck won’t load. And Tumblr? Forget it; too many pictures and videos to load more than three or four posts at a time. And my phone is not modern enough to load these things for me, so I can’t walk to the local McDonalds or i-store and use their free wi-fi.
I’m not even sure I will be able to load this blog post!
Funny that we don’t know what we have until it’s gone, right?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Scrivener update

I made an accidental discovery about Scrivener, my writing program from literature and latte. By the way, I am still completely in love with it and my file for Home for Christmas is up to 65k words.
You can make your own templates and swap them with others if you wish. A template is basically a set-up pattern for the program that has some pre-set features. If you were writing a hero’s journey for example, there is a set structure to that kind of story. It has three parts: departure, initiation and return and each of those parts has smaller sections.
Or, if you were working on a Mystery Novel; it has a set format, too. A typical story will contain 60,000 to 65,000 words (205 manuscript pages) and will be divided into 12 chapters, each approximately 17 pages in length set in four parts.
Some clever, more experienced Scrivener users have set these templates up for you to use. I downloaded some templates from a site.  here
Unzipped them and went to install them. I had clicked on one before I realised that it was a Mac program and my version of Scrivener is Windows based.
I do not know what made me do it, but I clicked on the file with the main icon on it, and it opened anyway. Whoa…wait. This is witchcraft. Lmao.
Then I just saved it in the program as a template, and it works just fine.
Maybe I am missing some pretty icons or some supercool Mac abilities - mac abilities always seem to be super cool - but in any case, it works and it has the basic binders, notes, formatting and so on, all in the right places.
The things you find out when you keep clicking!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Check-up of my goals for 2013

It’s halfway through another year. Man, where does the time go?
I wrote a blog post back in January on my goals for 2013 and it is probably time to see how I am going.
So, here were my resolutions for 2013:
1.     I will write and publish one novel (approx. 100k words) and a novella (20-40k).
2.     I will reach 500 likes for my Facebook author page.
3.     I will write 2,000 words a day.
4.     I will write less fanfiction.
5.     I will improve my writing, grammar etc.
Hmmm… first off,
1. I will write and publish one novel (approx. 100k words) and a novella (20-40k).
I finished the novella. Polished it up and sent it off to an ebook publishing company that accepts erotica. It was pretty much pure erotica. After more than a few weeks, I have no reply. In publishing terms that means they don’t want it. Now I have to decide what to do with it. Still thinking on that. Do I put a cover on it and put it up on Smashwords?
The novels? Still working on them and going through huge moments of self-doubt. Omg everything I write is a trope - ahhhh. Plus, I keep getting more new exciting wonderful shiny ideas that tromp all over the old unfinished ones.
2. I will reach 500 likes for my Facebook author page.
121? Hmmm… I’ve got 560 on twitter. Dammit… should have written twitter.
3. I will write 2,000 words a day.
I keep a record of how many words I write each day. When I finish something I toss the word count into an excel table. I really wish Google had a running word count app for Drive; please?! Scrivener does it for each project and you can reset it when you want. I do daily. According to my chart I wrote just under 200,000 words up to the end of June. 120,000 of that was fanfic. I have written a large pile of short stories or flash fiction; usually under a thousand words. I think I have written about forty of those; some have been posted on this blog. Some are just scraps or fragments that (as per usual) beg to be extended.
It is probably more than that because I lost data when my PC auto restarted a few times,  and I hadn’t saved the table and one day Scrivener was drunk and said I wrote 32k words - yeah right. I didn’t count that.
That sounds like a lot, but it works out to be just over 1,000 words a day or half my goal. DAMN.
4. I will write less fanfiction.
Well that didn’t go well… 60 percent fanfiction? Is that less than I used to write? I can’t tell.
The truth is I think I complete and post more fanfiction.
5. I will improve my writing, grammar etc.
I’ve been reading up and spending ages looking through RSS feeds of writing sites, grammar rules and so on. I’ve read Seth Godin, Larry Brooks and am currently on Nail your Novel by Roz Morris. I listen to podcasts from Joanna Penn and Writing Excuses. So I think I am doing okay on this one.
So in summary, I’ve failed. I have managed two (and a half) of my goals - the last ones. If I can count half the word count? Lmao
I look at my total and I think, wow imagine how productive you could be if you just concentrated on one thing at a time? I’ve known me for a while now, and I know that is just not how my mind works. Pity.
I watched Adam Hills the other night and he interviewed Paul Kelly; Aussie muso - very famous and talented. He called that self-doubt the ‘pretendies’ and he said it was contagious. That flat panic that you shouldn’t be here doing this, and you are terrified that everyone will realise that you do not have a clue. I was oddly comforted by the fact that all the other people including Leigh Sales (journalist interviewed Hillary Clinton recently) said the same thing. One comic Josh Thomas, said that was his default life position. Lol
Paul Kelly said you just have to play through it. Stick your head down and do it. That’s good advice.
So I have six more months to just play through it.
I must say, I was looking up a book on the Barnes & Noble website and I thought I would have a peek how I was doing. Kissing Cousins had a sales rank of 8,906 and Alejandro & Maela was 10,209. I think that’s not bad. Yay me.
Let's call my goals a conceded pass. I scraped a C grade.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Farewell JBNP

I was answering reviews as I do on JBNP tonight when I went to the home page to check new members, as I also do, and to say ‘Hi’ to anyone who mentioned my name. I’ve done that for a while now. If I invite them to the party, I feel I should look after them when they arrive. The site is quite complex and someone to hold your hand when you are new is often appreciated.
I clicked on the home page just as it changed to display a message “the time has come to close this chapter in our twi-lives.” It went on to say that the site is closing down.
WHAT… noooooo *wails* *gnashes teeth* *pulls hair *pours large glass of red* *mourns*
I understand. Running a website is not easy and JBNP has had its share of issues over the years like all sites where a large number of people of all different beliefs have to get together and play nice. It costs money to run and it also costs time. I would have thought the major issue is finding people to donate hours of their valuable time to be admins and to run it all. To make these things run smoothly is an incredible struggle and requires a huge effort in virtual programming, HTML, graphics and technical stuff. I tear my hair out just trying to get this blog to behave.
Also, the twilight movies have finished and there have been many discussions about whether the interest would continue in the stories and the fandom when that milestone was passed. Personally, I don’t think twilight fanfiction will die. Quote me on that if you want in a few years when it is going down the gurgler. I have noticed a few reviews for my stories lately where people have wandered over from the marble side of the fandom. Maybe people just change and grow up? Who knows, but we shall see.
Werewolves are still exciting; they are still starring in books, movies and TV shows. They are still news. My tumblr tonight is full of True Blood, Hemlock Grove and Teen Wolf wolves.
The site has been a credit to the fandom. It has encouraged and sponsored writers and I am proud to have been associated with it. Their awards are the ones I value the most. Especially the Wolfish Grin Award for SLASH/BDSM - Kinkiest fuckery of all wolf types 2012 - I mean, really? Who can top that? I have tried to encourage other writers and have offered ideas and help to people when they asked me. I don’t believe in being a lurker; I do try to be a valuable member of a site.
I will probably continue to write supernatural stories. I love the extras that come with writing for shape shifters and dealing with the supernatural. Maybe they won‘t be twilight wolves, maybe I’ll finally write that were-koala story that furrylittlecannibals keeps trying to get me to write?
I want to thank the site for all the support it has given me over the years. I will really miss the feedback and ideas that reviewers have given me. Some of them have changed stories I have written or given me ideas for others.
Goodbye and good luck JBNP people.

Ps: I just posted chapter 18 of “I’ll be home for Christmas”; a story idea that originally came from a session in the JBNP chatbox, where we were laughing about Bella’s thing for older guys. I will work out what I do with it now, and let people know once I do.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

This place is a pigsty.

Writer’s Block

In one sentence is the spark of a story. Ignite.

Mission: Write a story, a description, a poem, a metaphor, a commentary, or a memory about this sentence. Write something about this sentence.

Be sure to tag writeworld in your block!

“This place is a pigsty.” She lifted a small and as yet unidentified article of clothing. “What is this... or should I say ‘was’.” Her face was screwed up. It could have been the smell of the offending item.
“I like it this way,” her friend said.
“HOW?” she said it with the horror of someone who clearly liked their world neat and well-ordered.
“I can’t find anything if someone tidies up.”
“Well, that doesn’t stop you doing it. Then you would know where everything was because you put it there.”
He frowned at her.
“A place for everything and everything in its place,” she parroted.
“Right.” He gave her a look. “I suppose your place is immaculate.”
“It... ah... might be.”
He snorted as he threw some things aside. “Wouldn’t know. I’ve never been to your place.” He said it without thinking about it.
No, he hadn’t. Nobody ever went to her house. She didn’t encourage visitors. It seemed odd that she kept it so neat and nobody ever saw it. But she didn’t like visitors. They messed things up; touched things they shouldn’t.
He paused.
She glanced at him.
He straightened up. “Yeah... that’s a point.” He pointed at her. “I’ve never been to your house. Not ever.”
She didn’t answer him. She was holding a book she had been about to place back on the shelves. Concentrating on that, rather than him, she turned it over in her hand.
“Hey?” he asked.
She shoved the volume into place and then looked at it. She pulled it out again and slid it in a spot where it was the same height as the volumes around it.
He watched her do it. “Damn. You have got it bad.”
That, she could not deny, so she chose to ignore him. She picked up another volume, dusted it off with her hand and slotted it into the perfect place.
He didn’t say anything for a while. He just passed her books and she put them away where she thought they fitted best. She made a little humph noise of pleasure when they had finished an entire shelf. Some small adjustments got all the edges lined up as well as she could manage.
Then she started on the next shelf. He continued to pass her books. She noticed that he had started to sort them himself, putting the smaller ones aside.
“What next?” he asked her when they had finished.
“The desk?” she asked hopefully. It was a disaster area.
“Not today.”
“Oh.” She paused. “Okay.”
“Give me a chance,” he suggested.
She looked confused.
“I’m your friend,” he said quietly. “I’d like to be invited to your place... one day.”
She looked down at the carpet. “I’d like that, too,” she confessed.
He squeezed her hand.
They went back to tidying up; it felt like a joint effort, now.

© AM Gray 2013