Thursday, October 31, 2013
Nope, not a chance. I'm not popular enough to have gotten enough votes to win, but at least writing the story for the Gaelsong contest was good practice. So now I will share my entry with you all:
by K.E. Skedgell
Every Halloween, Betty took delight in watching the neighborhood children dressed in costumes go door to door for treats. And every year she hoped at least one child would stop at hers. From her parlor window, she watched a young bee begin to waddle up her sidewalk, but the bee's mother grabbed hold of their arm and said, “No, not here. This is the home of that old witch.”
Betty sighed and her heart sank as all the children passed by her lighted porch. Another year without handing out candied apples to even one child. Every year she said, “Why do I bother?”
She looked about her home to her favorite things: her collection of owl statues, the crystal balls she used to read fortunes from, now gathering dust, her books of Shakespeare and Poe, a skull engraved with Celtic knots that used to bring her luck. Red votive candles glowed warmly as she petted her cat Mr. Black, but none of those things could heal her cold, lonely heart.
A young couple with a plum fairy princess stopped. “They will pass on by like the rest.”
The mother urged the little fairy up the sidewalk to the porch. Betty's heart sang. “A child! Oh blessed be!”
She rushed to the door as quick as her old bones allowed and grabbed the tray of candied apples from the table beside it. The door bell rang and Betty opened it, smiling.
“Trick-or-Treat!” the little fairy said.
“Here's a candied apple for you.” Betty placed the treat into her bag. She glanced to the joyful parents. “Here, have a few more, for your parents.” She placed two more in the fairy's bag.
“Thank you, lady. These are my favorite.”
“My name is Betty, little princess.”
Up and down the street other parents gave looks of distress and disgust. None would come to her door, she knew, and this family must be new to the neighborhood and not yet heard of their hurtful rumors. She emptied the tray into Rachel's bag and said, “Take them all. You and your family, enjoy!”
“Thank you!” the fairy said, and bounced back to her parents to show them her bounty.
Every Halloween after, Rachel remained the only child to stop at Betty's. Even as a teenager, when she felt too mature to trick-or-treat, she'd always stop at Betty's for her candied apples. Rachel departed for college, married, and had a daughter of her own. One year she returned to town to take her daughter trick-or-treating and to meet her namesake when she heard of Betty's passing. Rachel, with little Betty dressed as a plum fairy princess, stopped at old Betty's house, the gardens over-grown, the house rotting from neglect, and set at the front door a candied apple, a small owl statue, and a card that read:
“Thank you for the candied apples, and for the wonderful Halloween memories.”
Monday, October 21, 2013
...of sorts. It's called the Samhain Visions Cover Story Contest where you write a story, poem, or essay about the photo on the cover of Gaelsong's catalog. So I wrote a short story (the name of it is "Betty") and I think it's an okay little story. I need more votes though to win the big prize (hint hint) since the stories are voted on by your peers. Hence, it doesn't really matter how good the story is, or how well it's written, just as long as you can get enough people to vote for your story. Anyway, the voting runs until the 29th of October and you can vote on a story once a day every day until the the voting ends. I'm just looking to be somewhere near the top, I guess, and not dead last. I have ten votes as of writing this. Hope I get more.
In other news...
My progression on my Lake One Gothic romance novel, or novella, or whatever it'll be, is coming along slowly but surely. I have over 12k words written, some of which I'm sure I'll keep in the editing, but let's not talk about editing right now. Much too soon for that. I don't have much to say on this project until I have more written, other than I keep thinking about it more than I actually write it. Me thinks I need to set myself goals like I did with Draculești if I ever want to get the first draft done. Even if I don't reach them, at least I'll have something to work towards and get this thing rollin'.
The other day I had a friend of mine take some pictures of me all dressed up and looking Gothic while in the cemetery and quite a few of them turned out pretty nice. I needed some updated photos of me and the autumn season and the beautiful cemetery in my home town make for a nice back drop. One of the photos is my about me photo in the upper right of this blog. She's not a professional photographer, she's still learning to use her new camera so I thought since I needed some new pictures of myself for internet purposes, and she needed some practice, a little photo shoot would benefit the both of us. And we had fun doing it. A few for your viewing pleasure.
|Photo by Anita McIlvain|
|Photo by Anita McIlvain|
|Photo by Anita McIlvain|
|Photo by Anita McIlvain|
A few weeks ago my anxiety decided it wanted to fuck with me. I ended up having a bad panic attack when I went into work and cried uncontrollably. Not only that, the heart palpitations would not stop. I had to go home early from work twice which I did not want to do. I didn't want the points, and I didn't want to lose the time and money. I had no choice--I couldn't work the way I was. At the end of this month I finally get to see a doctor for this, but it isn't for an actual appointment, it's for a meet and greet, whatever that is. I guess doctors want to know you before they decide to take you on as a patient or something? I have no idea. I just want meds to make myself better again. The past week my anxiety has nearly vanished, but I know it'll return sooner or later. I still get the palpitations once in a while, though not nearly as bad as a few weeks ago. Anxiety sucks, big time. I don't wish it upon anybody.
So that concludes what I have to say for the time being. I really do need to update this blog more often, but what the hey. At least it gets updated, even if it takes a month or more between posts.
Now, click on the linky at the top of the post and cast your vote for me, even if you don't read the story (it's 488 words, it's not long at all) but please do. Let me know what you think. It's the first short story I've written in a long time. I don't think I did too badly considering, and that my word limit was 500. I even managed to keep it down below that. Ta ta for now!
Thursday, September 5, 2013
Now, this is going to sound like I'm making up excuses, and maybe it really is, but I think I came to a conclusion as to why I'm having so much trouble writing this year as opposed to previous years, even when I was going through a spell of depression. The reason--my family.
Now, I love my family, and it's not them personally that is making it hard for me to get in the writing spirit again. The problem is that there is never a time when I have the house to myself. Never. There is always someone here in this house, whereas when I lived with my ex there were numerous times I had the house to myself, and that's when I got most of my writing done. When he was in the house I had a hard time concentrating on my work. He could be very quiet and still; yet, it was like the light shut off on my imagination until he went to bed. When he was gone and I had the house all to my very lonesome, I could turn on some music, light some candles, you know, set up an atmosphere, and have the comfort in knowing no one would be around to bother me and bring me out of my zone.
It was nice. And last year, when my depression started to take its hold on me, was when I did the most writing I had ever done. I had finished the first draft of my book at the turn of this year. I was proud, things were looking up in regards to my writing.
Then the ex and I split. That took its toll on me for a while, but I'm over it now. Yet, I still can't seem to focus because I know there are people in the house (and I have a cat of constant licking that never leaves my room). And I'm away from my comfy writing zone, my own place that I shared with my then significant other. I keep thinking to myself, if only I had my own place where it was quiet all the time, I could get some writing done. It just isn't feasible for me right now, money-wise, to have my own place.
I've toyed with the idea of taking a pad of paper and pen to the cemetery and sit there to write, away from the house and where most likely no one will bother me. I don't know. Like I said, I may be making excuses not to write, but whenever I open the document and start to pound the keys, I just can't get far because I hear people moving around (or a cat licking) and it takes me out of the zone. Perhaps I'm going through some sort of writing doldrums and I don't know how to snap myself out of it. I've tried, and have managed to edit my first finished piece, which still needs more editing, and I've written some new stuff, but not like I've done in the past. Maybe I need to take the energy I'm using toward whining on my blog and turn it toward writing my stories instead.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
I haven't made a new post in over two months for good reasons. Not much has happened. Well, maybe a little. I have a job now, which being jobless was really taking its toll on my sanity. It's nice to finally have some money rolling in. I've been in a depression funk for quite some time and it still has yet to lift, but it's getting better. Not enough for me to get back into my writing, though I did start on a new project, sort of. I have about 3000 words written, The direction I wish for it to go is horror on the Gothic side, but since I'm a 'by the seat of the pants' type of writer, it could turn out to be anything. The working title is Lake One, and here's the gist of it:
During the summer of 1923, strange murders plague the "friendly village" of Nashville, Michigan, and the residents don't know who could be behind the deaths. Young women and children are found drained of blood laying on the bank beside an old boathouse on Lake One. Jennie suspects newcomer Josef and is bound to prove that he is not so innocent as he claims to be, and warns her best friend Millie to resist his charms and to stay away from him. Though Jennie always thought of him as no good, never in a hundred years did she think of him to be a vampire. Vampires don't walk during the day. Constrained to his "family" for being a daywalker, Josef has no choice but to abide their demands of him. His love for Millie turns horribly wrong, and the guilt has him seeking Jennie's help to end not only his suffering and to avenge Millie, but to prevent future suffering onto others in the village.
|Main St. Nashville, Michigan (1920)|
So, being that it takes place in my home town, you would think research for the story would be pretty easy. Well, it is somewhat, but the town has changed a lot since 1923. Some of the buildings that were around then are still here today, but the businesses have changed, whereas others are no longer here and have been replaced with a different building or turned into parking lots and so forth. It's going to require a lot of research, and the library here has rooms dedicated to the local history and lots of historical pictures and documents that I could search through to help me with making 1923 Nashville as accurate as possible. But--and here's the big but--the library does not like people going into those rooms alone and must be accompanied by a chaperone. Which is understandable, a lot of what they have in those rooms cannot be replaced if they are damaged or stolen. What could be fairly easy access to first hand documents to help with my research has been other than. Since the idea of the story blossomed back in mid-June, I have only been able to access their local history rooms once and for only two hours. Granted, I waited out the month of July and half of August for the story to percolate in my head a while longer so I could get a better idea of what I needed to search for for the next time I would need to go there, but it is such a pain to have to wait and wait and wait for a time when my schedule and theirs coincide so I can have a chaperone take me to the rooms. Which will be next Wednesday. So I have until then to think of what I really need to look for that is important to the story so I can search for that information first since I will only have an hour or two to do what I need to, because afterward there is no telling how soon I'll be able to get into those rooms again.
|Putnam House (early 1900's), now Putnam District Library. Was donated by the Putnam's to be turned into a library, which it did in 1923.|
I'm also on the hunt for a map of the village and I think I have a source, but from what I can tell it's going to be pricey. Will it be worth it to me? Certainly. Even if the story never gets finished, or if it does and never sells, or whatever, I can frame the map and use it as a wall decoration. I like maps, and a map of my home town in 1923 hanging on the wall would be pretty cool. I'm working on acquiring a map through this company, EDR, which handles the historical Sanborn maps of which give nice details of the buildings and streets for most any year for most towns and cities in the USA going back to 1866. I'm still in the process of finding out if they have one for the year I want, but I'll update here as soon as I find something out.
As for my Draculești novel, I still haven't looked at it since I got my beta critique. I'll go back to it once I have given myself a long distance from it so I can go through it with a more critical eye and use the beta's notes as a guideline. Summer is almost over and summer is usually the time of the year when I lose interest in writing and go into gardening mode, which is what I have been putting most of my efforts toward on my time off from work. Once autumn comes I know (or hope) that my writing muse will return. Usually does. And maybe I'll update this blog a little more often, too.
Oh, and last but not least, my efforts to lose weight are finally showing some results. Especially over the course of this last month since I started working. In March I weighed in around 170 lbs. The past few days I've been down to 151-2 lbs. My goal is to be in the low to mid 140's range and lose most of this belly flab. My pants are fitting loose on me now, which is a good thing. I haven't changed my diet other than eating less at suppertime and drinking more water and avoiding pop and juice most of the time. I also go for walks as much as possible. When I wasn't working that was every night, about a mile and a half to two miles for each walk. Since I started working, which is very physical in itself, I don't go every night, but those days I don't work I do go for my walk and days where I'm not that tired out from my job I go as well. Another ten more pounds or so and I'll feel like myself again. I'm happier with myself now at 151, but I'll be even more happy to fit into the clothes I haven't been able wear in four or five years.
And now to try to get some writing done. Does this blog post count toward my word count for today?
Saturday, June 15, 2013
So I have myself a few beta readers now and they're actually reading my story! Uh, yeah, I mean that's what I want, no doubt about it, but see, I'm used to handing off the first chapter or two for friends to read to get their opinion (and granted this was back when my writing sucked insert expletive) and the usual caveat was no reply back. Ever. Even though my writing is somewhat decent nowadays, I expected that to happen again after finding me a few betas.
Well, the first one that I hitched up with hasn't responded to me in two weeks, and I gave them the first six chapters three weeks ago. Gave them some time, thinking, okay, people have lives and they probably can't get to it right away. No biggie. Got an email saying they were still working on their notes and would send them to me in a few days. Sweet. So I waited, and waited, and still no email. That figures, I thought. Well, perhaps my story really does suck insert expletive. I tell peeps, if it isn't your thing, let me know so I don't go on wondering if you've read it or will finish, but no one ever does what I ask of them. Like, in my whole life. Ever.
I have now regarded the beta as a no go. But then I got another offer. Sweet! So far this beta has made it through the first several chapters and has sent me their notes, and boy did they have notes.
Now I'm freaking out!
Someone is actually reading my story, and making notes, and giving me their opinions, and I am scared that they'll say the book I've been scribbling away at for four years (off and on) sucks insert expletive. I've never had anyone read past the first chapter or two before, and now they are getting into the meat of the story and tearing it apart. I mean, this is what I wanted, isn't it? I wanted someone to read it with a critical eye and show me, in their opinion, where I need improving because I'm much too close to the work to see my mistakes. This is what I wanted.
And still do, and now I have three other peeps reading my story, and so now I'm freaking out more, and all I can think about right now is that there are more people reading my silly little 180k word (okay, not so little) story, and will they finish it? Is the story that ridiculously dumb and full of grammar mistakes? Why am I freaking out? Am I just in a particular mood right now and in a few days it'll pass? Maybe I need to drink some wine and calm the hell down.
|Dude, just chill.|
It makes me wonder if I'm the only one who has ever freaked out about having other peeps read their work or if this is normal? The more notes I get the more I think my writing is crap and that I should give up. Then I think, you idiot, don't give up over one person's opinion, or over several people's opinions. Believe your work is good, and whatever advice they give use only what applies to you. I know how I want my work to be better than anyone. Still, I don't know. Maybe it's the anxiety and depression I've been feeling lately, but I know this feeling will pass sooner or later. It has to. I worked to hard to let crits bother me. They're supposed to help, but in my mind right now for whatever reason is making them as if they are an attack on my ability to write, and they aren't even bad. I've even had compliments on many aspects of my writing. If I let crits, which are meant to help, bother me, then what am I going to do when or if I get published?
So perhaps I should take Jabba the Curbside Cat's advice up there. Work on a new project for a while to take my mind off of this one (I do have an idea for a new story, just need the motivation to start plotting it out), and chillax.