Monthly Archives: June 2015

Random Advice

i am working with embarrassment today. Here’s the advice at the end of this part of the Emotion Thesaurus. 

WRITER’S TIP: Be wary of showing emotion too readily through the act of crying. In real life, it takes a lot to reach a tearful state and so it should be the same for our characters.

That’s a good tip too. While I might be a Weeping Wilma (I cry when I laugh, which makes me laugh harder, lol) not everyone is. Even in our romances, we should be creating strong characters, not fragile flowers who cry to convey every. single. emotion. 

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Stupid Tater Tots 

one of the companies my employer contracts with provided us lunch today. Monical’s Pizza. Which is awesome. One of the best chains around. 

And I can’t have any of it. Why? Because we fixed tater tots with dinner last night, and I ate too many. My fasting sugars were too high this morning. 

So, that’s awesome. No more tater tots. No pizza. 

Speaking of pizza, I do have a decent stand-in. In my nonstick pan, I melt cheese until crisp and top with pepperoni. I also like the meat crusts, but no one else in the house does. 

Low carb isn’t that bad. I promise. 

Sarah

An idea popped into my head the other day, and I snatched at the chance to write it. I’ve no plot so far beyond the very basics. Since plotting/planning does not always work for me, I’m going to pants it as far as I can before doing any actual planning. Let’s call this the discovery stage as the characters are still revealing themselves to me.

I did not intend for this to happen, but I have found myself with characters whose names start with S. Who does that? LOL. Me.

First, let me introduce Sarah Grace Patterson. Sarah Grace Patterson  She is 23, and has never been married. She has never even left London. As far as she is concerned, she is firmly on the shelf. But, with her younger cousin having a Come Out this year, she has agreed to act as chaperone.

Now, let me introduce Stratford Clarion, ninth Duke of Westerfell. Montgomery Clift as Inspiration for Stratford Clarion, Ninth Duke of Westerfell Now this fine gentleman here was born to a bookshop owner and the daughter of a duke. He joined the military at 18, and he is now 33. Unfortunately for him, his wastrel cousin died in a duel with no offspring, and he had to leave the military. Before leaving, he was elevated as far as Major. He has scars from his time in the army, both visible and not.

Yeah. That’s what I’m saying. I went old school for that one, and I think it really works.

So, it is Tuesday. Here’s my Tidbit. Do enjoy. Is there something you do not like? Let me know.

Near the entrance to the ballroom, Stratford leaned heavily on an ebony cane, careful to keep the pain from his face. Felton said it was not quite the done thing, and who knew better than the third son of the Duke of Whittenslay? He tuned out the inane chatter of Greymoore and the others – this polite nonsense grated. Had they nothing of substance to offer?

His gaze took in the joviality of the guests and their finery. These were not his people, and well he knew it. He spotted several men in uniform, but not a single familiar face. No, these were the officers whose money ensured their safety. Or, they were men hired to wear the uniform, to gain cachet for the hostess. The majority of his men had not returned from Portugal, after all.

That was the old, however, and this, he realized with a shudder, was the new.

Outtakes part 8 million

OK, so I might have a wee problem with exaggeration. Whatever. As promised in my last post, here is an outtake of my (as yet unnamed) current project.

Do enjoy!

David Williams, fifteenth Duke of Mondragon, escorted Olivia to the Blue Parlor, near the front of the Winter Palace. The large room stood empty, silent – a constant reminder of my madness, for this is where I was toppled. The rumors of my death are, of course, greatly exaggerated, but we shall deal with that another day.

Pray forgive me. It seems I must be constantly reminded that this is Olivia’s story, and not my own.

The large room stood empty, silent. No reminders of mad queens or throne-stealing… Ahem.

The large room stood empty, silent. No fire burned in the grate to dispel that icy grip of winter. Outside the long wall of windows, snow fell upon the manicured green lawns. Snow in May. That definitely never used to happen.

“What is it sir? Are you not to escort me to the ceremony?” Olivia’s voice trembled. The fear evident gnawed at His Grace’s conscious.

A nobleman with a conscious. What an oddity. Regardless of the person upon the throne.

Lord Mondragon shifted from one foot to the other. The problem was obvious – how to allay her fears, prepare her for the trials of the Blood Court? Releasing the breath he did not realize he held, he realized nothing could prepare her for what was to come.

“Of course I am, child,” he said rather forcefully. Clearing his throat, he continued, “Before we descend, however, I want you to know that -”

The cloying scent of too much lavender filled the room, seeping through the walls, through the vents, sinking to my room below. “Not thinking of sharing Court secrets with the uninitiated are you, Your Grace?” asked Lady Woolverton.

Lady Woolverton. I growled, low in my throat, and the winds whipped into a frenzy, hammering at the windows of the Blue Parlor. That filthy courtesan who seduced my consort, setting into motion my freefall. All at the behest of Adaline, the usurper. My sweet Albert was rewarded with a new Queen and eternal youth while that treacherous bitch, Maud, was rewarded with the hand of a lowly baron.

Unaware of the sordid past of the court or her inhabitants, Olivia was intelligent enough to be wary. Pasting a smile onto her face, she turned to the older woman. “Well met, Lady Woolverton. Will Lilliana join me this night?

She refers, of course, to the sweet girl the old harpy managed to birth after years of lost babes. A plain girl with none of her mother’s flash – or coarseness, she was also one of the few to treat Olivia with kindness. And Lady Woolverton could not speak well, or often, enough of her.

No matter the cost of the silk trappings, a cow is still a pig. No. That isn’t right. You cannot make a silk purse with a… oh, nevermind. Lady Woolverton was gauche, and no amount of education since her elevation from tart to married tart would change that.

Momentarily forgetting the duke’s presence – or perhaps choosing to willfully ignore it – Lady Woolverton snorted. “Heavens no, you simpleton. My sweet Lily was initiated into the Court on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, six months ago. As are all ladies of breeding.” Wrinkling her nose as if offended by the presence of Olivia, the great she-beast turned to Lord Mondragon and added, “Do see that the girl arrives on time. And no sharing secrets. Not all who are invited are chosen.”

With a shrug of one silk-clad shoulder, Lady Woolverton turned to leave. “Or even worthy,” she tossed out before disappearing.

The implication was clear: even the plain daughter of a lowly baron and his coarse wife had more value than the blind orphan girl of unknown origins. Olivia had made the mistake of allowing herself to believe the Court would actually welcome her, despite years of evidence to the contrary. The callous words of Lady Woolverton reinforced her worst fear: the invitation had only been extended because her foster father was the Queen’s only brother.

Were it not for that connection, she would still be stored away in the attic, a monster to be kept from society at all costs. And imperfection, a blight.

The Blood Queen would tolerate no imperfections, after all. Especially within her Court.

Had I not made the mistake when I presumed much the same thing? Damn that meddling bitch, and her need to poison everyone around her. And that worm of a foster father? That coward?

He reached out to squeeze Olivia’s shoulder, to offer some small bit of comfort, but the dear girl moved away from his touch. Allowing the small rebellion, he twisted a small statue of Neptune sat atop a marble pedestal near the empty fire grate. Across the room, an oak panelled wall slid away, revealing a dank corridor.

Taking Olivia’s arm, he led her into the dark alcove. Summoning a ball of aether, he used the blue flame to illuminate his way. “Come child. We have some stairs to descend. Left hand upon the railing and step down. There’s a good girl. Forty-two more steps of the same size, then.”

Olivia smoothed a palm down the front of her gown, the intricate black stitching a sharp contrast to the soft pink bustier. A massive dragon, in honor of her foster House, wrapped around the leather bustier, trailing down the weightless folds of orange and pink organza piled atop buttery yellow taffeta. Her white blonde hair curled softly over a bared shoulder, cascading to her waist.

Next to the duke’s severe black, Olivia was the golden dawn. Pride swelled his chest, though he had little to do with the vision at his side. Securing her hand on his arm, Mondragon led his young charge into the bowels of the castle, the sun into dusk.

At the bottom of the steps, Olivia stopped, waiting for Mondragon’s next instructions. She did not wait long.

“At the end of this hall, about ten yards, we will come to the entrance to the Initiation Room. Beyond that entrance, I can do nothing for you. Do you understand?”

Olivia could not stop the tremble that crept into her voice. “C – can you not not even guide me about the … Where, exactly are we, sir?”

“Beneath the Crystal Lake, child. I do wish you could see it, Olivia. It is best at dawn, but even under the light of the moon, it will be breathtaking.”

“I see more than you realize, sir. But, Crystal Lake, your grace? Is that not a myth?” As a child, she had been regaled with tales of a mythical lake deep within the cliffs into which the castle was built.

“No, but it is a place of great power. All the leylines of the Empire converge there, so it is a forbidden place. Queen Adaline will have her fun, however.”

“Yes, your grace. You did not answer my first question.”

His Grace sighed heavily, guilt sweeping across his face. “No, my child. I cannot escort you beyond this door.” He brushed a stray lock of hair from her eyes. The gesture was familiar, as if he had done it a million times instead of one, calling forth comfort and love.

Olivia faltered. “Can you describe the room to me, sir?”

A smile tugged at the corner of Mondragon’s eyes. The Crystal Lake was once a special place for him, too. “The likes of this room cannot be found anywhere else. Not even outside of the reaches of the Empire. The water will cast the most amazing prisms of color and light across the floor.”

“I don’t understand. Where is the water in relation to the room?” Olivia interrupted.

“It is all around us, Olivia. Even now. The Initiation Room is within the waters of the lake. It is protected by magicked glass that rises from the lake floor to form a dome. Opposite this door, there will be the Queen’s dais. No other chairs are allowed, of course.”

“One does not sit in the presence of Adaline,” Olivia said, echoing a lesson she had learned early.

“No,” he agreed.

I slept in until almost 10:30 this morning. It was luxurious. Since my little health scare last Monday, I’ve put myself on a rather…regimented schedule. I get up at 7 am every day now, go to bed at 10 pm each night.

Oh, that’s right – I didn’t tell you about my health scare. I fight to keep personal stuff off here, but let us be honest with each other. I am a writer, and just about every aspect of my life affects my writing. So here it is – I am obese. My own fault, absolutely. Not genetics, not any mysterious illnesses. I lazed and ate my way to 311 pounds. And then I was diagnosed with diabetes. Shocker, I know. Well, like most Type II diabetics, I was initially placed on Metformin. And it does NOT agree with my body. So, I would stop taking it. Then I was without insurance for a while… And even though I lost 30 pounds several years ago, I recently found myself back up to 298.

So there I was last Monday, meeting my new doctor. They did a quick little finger prick blood sugar test and apparently (I didn’t see the results) their machine said my sugar was at 908. Now, I told the doctor I didn’t think that was right. I felt fine. And I don’t mean “I’m used to feeling this way” fine, but like LEGITIMATE “I’m good” fine. But he sent me immediately to the ER. So 30 minutes later, the hospital is testing me and the reading is 314. They then did a better test and it was actually 324.

Exactly. Still unbelievably high but absolutely not “you’re going to slip into a coma and die at any minute” high, which is basically what the doctor told me. Either way, I’m staring down the barrel of 40 and I have plans to move to some form of tropical island in ten years so I kind of need to be alive – and legitimately healthy – to do that.

I am now taking Januvia with NONE of those adverse side affects of Metformin (look it up. There’s one in particular that made working impossible. Remember Olestra??). I am monitoring my sugar 7 times a day – wake up and then before/after every meal. It’s not where it needs to be yet, BUT it’s been under 300 the last few days AND even under 200 upon occasion. I am also monitoring every bit of food I eat with MyFitnessPal and we are officially back in the gym. Starting out, it’s cardio 3 times a week to acclimate ourselves to it again. I’m adding strength training in July because I must.

So, there you have it. I am a real person. I make mistakes, and I have health issues. And occasionally, you’ll hear from the me that makes the writing possible. Demons, warts, and all.

Also, as your reward for reading this, I’m totally going to upload a cut scene from my short story. Which still has no title.