Things are gearing up in my neck of the woods, and it’s time I once more dusted off this blog in an attempt to keep people updated on what’s going on with me. This time I got smart — I did some research, and actually have topics to discuss, as well as a deadline. I’m aiming for a post every Wednesday.

Playing a little catch up:

Broken Trails is still in limbo at the moment. I’m waiting for the editor to either be assigned, or go over the manuscript and return it to me. PD Publishing has it scheduled for release in winter of this year. They’ve been through a lot of mayhem the last year, so seem to be a bit behind schedule. Cross your fingers!

I’ve been writing like a fiend. The first Sanguire novel, The Strange Path, is complete. I’m working on book two, Lady Mistress, which I hope to have finished by mid-April. I’ve outlined it to about 80,000 words, and am at the 31k mark already! WOOT!

Finally, I hope to have some exciting news to share in the weeks to come!

Now onto the week’s topic:

What To Write?

* “What made you decide to use the Lakota tribe rather than the Cherokee in your historical romance?”

* “Why is your main character running a traveling circus?”

* “Portland? Why set that novel in Portland?”

* “How did you make the connection between American Indians and cyberpunk?”

Loaded question, hundreds of different answers depending on whom has asked. It’s asked in a variety of different ways, too. All I can say is that ideas come from everywhere! It’s simply a matter of listening for them, and heeding them when they speak to you.

As a teenager, my creative writing teacher assigned the class an idea journal. Every time we came up with an idea no matter how lame, we were to write it down. She checked our notebooks every week, and I remember receiving a couple of ‘trite’ and ‘overdone’ comments. Out of two dozen ideas, only two or three didn’t pass her muster. Not bad for a kid who’d never been much of a writer up to that point.

I still do that now. I have a spreadsheet these days, rather than a sheet of notebook paper, but it works as well. I even have a list of potential titles — a turn of phrase or a song lyric that gave me the trembles… ”Oh, yeah!” I’ve got about sixty ideas lined up at the moment, some with notes attached. A few are already completed — the Infinity Series, Castle Walls, On Azrael’s Wings — and some may never see the light of day. They’re too trite, too overdone. But they’ll remain on the list on the off chance that they’ll be relevant and fresh if I come up with a decent hook.

~~~

Take Castle Walls. Evil usurper takes over kingdom, former princess flees. Usurper sends out the dogs to find her, but she finds herself a safe place, preparing to live the remainder of her days as a commoner. But the Usurper finds her, the battle ensues, and he dies. She becomes a heroine. Pretty standard fantasy novel. She’ll be required to meet all sorts of strange critters (dwarves, elves, unicorns, etc.,) eventually working her way back to the beginning.

That idea’s been sitting on the burner for… *author scratches the back of her neck in thought*… almost twenty-five years. But honestly, all fantasy novels have orcs and ogres and trolls. Mine would just be another to add to the growing mountain of fantasy fiction, even if I did write it as a romance rather than a strict genre piece. Inspiration struck when I attended my first Cirque du Soleil show. Front row, stage right, I was utterly awed at the talent and colors and music and showmanship and… Well, you get the idea.

What if the former princess finds herself amongst circus people? A medieval Cirque du Soleil flashed through my mind, mixing with Carny starring Jodie Foster and Gary Busey, and The Sword and the Sorcerer with Lee Horsley. Throw in an old short I wrote in my twenties, a nightmare written to the instrumental interval in the song ‘Castle Walls’ recorded by Styx, and what do you get?

BAM! Castle Walls!

~~~

Let me list a few of my ideas and where they came from. Some will be familiar to the long-time readers, and others are still in the germination stage:

* ‘Slow Movin’’ — a series of short stories about a young butch growing up in small town middle America. I picked up Slow for a song of the same name by Mary Dolan. Check her album out.

* Sanity Walks Away (song lyric title) — a Conqueror fanfic idea I had back in the day where the scene in the Hercules episode, ‘Armageddon’, was the final scene of the story. The idea was to show the Destroyer of Nations destroying the woman she loved.

* Burning Man — happened to see an article on it years ago while working on CyberEpic. What if someone was being burned to death inside the Burning Man? What if that cued the murder mystery between a Corp security officer and a state/federal police officer in the same world I was writing in? Could they get along, fall in love, find the killer despite the fact that their respective employers were at war?

* ‘Proxy Personals’ — a short story I wrote years ago. I found a personal ad in the local liberal newspaper, Willamette Weekly, that was too good to pass up. I used it as the basis for story.

* Tiopa Ki Lakota — I received an email from a fan who’d really enjoyed CyberEpic. She thought I should delve into the historical aspect of the American Indian people. Her six pages of email intrigued me, though I would never use her plot points. I began doing research into various time periods and tribes. I found multiple books on the Oglala Lakota, to include a verbal calendar. As I played around with different ways to use the calendar, I eventually found a book on the Lakota language (Reading and Writing the Lakota Language by Albert White Hat Sr.) There were no other language books to choose from, so Tiopa Ki Lakota was centered in the Lakota tradition.

Songs, newspaper articles, chance words overheard on the bus, books, anything can give you an idea. Write it down! Even if you don’t use it immediately, you might have cause to use it in the future. I’ve heard that creativity is simply the process of taking two disparate things and mashing them together to make something new.

Thanks for reading this far! See you next week!

Can I get some assistance? If you have any questions for me, or suggestions you want me to write about, please let me know! The comment form below will require a valid email address to ensure you’re a real person. (I don’t collect the addresses or do anything with them, so you won’t be getting future spam from me.) If that’s not to your taste, you can email me — the link is up above on the left.