#IWSG – Surprising Myself

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

I’m tackling my monthly post for Insecure Writer’s Support Group Day in two parts, not because I have two answers but because I have two different thoughts churning through my scrambled head. On then to this month’s optional question and Part I:

September 6th Question: Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing?

(For example, by trying a new genre you didn’t think you’d be comfortable in?)

If I look at my teens and early tweens, SF was the genre I escaped into in my creative life while all things ‘country/rural’ were my journalistic fare. An equestrian mystery when I retired seemed a natural progression, although a few decades late. So, no surprise there then, nor when a small press published it after my writing group was positive about the drafts of Spiral of Hooves.

However, I was surprised when the horse world ignored the novel despite my career as an equestrian journalist and event organiser. Better luck the second time around?

On the genre side, I surprised myself by attempting children’s stories – that came to nothing, so far. Plus, I just found some old poems and those surprised me. I’m still reverting to mysteries for now.

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Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting:  The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer – aim for a dozen new people each time – and return comments. This group is all about connecting! Be sure to link to this page and display the badge in your post.

Let’s rock the neurotic writing world!

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

The awesome co-hosts for the August 2 posting of the IWSG are Tyrean Martinson, Tara Tyler, Raimey Gallant, and Beverly Stowe McClure.

 

joker_quote_written_in_blood_by_meho41-d5zeey2

Joker quote written in blood by meho41 on DeviantArt meho41.deviantart.com

 

Part II – Written in Blood

Having multiple sclerosis creates challenges every day and I have been pushed to create new daily regimes, adapting to my initial surprise when diagnosed in 2000. I was learning to live with my MS symptoms, and although they can be excruciating plus debilitating, I knew other suffer worse illnesses. MS is not a death sentence. Life expectancy is normal or close to normal for most people with MS, although it is a chronic illness.

Then, on 23rd August, my doctor told me that I had some sort of blood cancer. I’m remaining positive – except when my computer glitches – as the series of blood tests since the Spring indicate its slow-growing and the oncologist will tell me more on September 18th.

However, I decided it was time for a bucket list – as long as nobody suggests skydiving; the wheelchair can do that solo. Among the list of things I must do, like going to Canada, exploring all of Idaho, arranging a Steve Hackett concert in Boise, and maxing three MMORPG avatars, is the crucial Writing Legacy.

In short, I need to get my 9+ WIPs in order, of course aiming to publish them all = another 13 years, if not 117 by the rate releasing Spiral of Hooves.

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K is for Kitsune

K

K is for Kitsune: Japanese folklore in origin, Kitsune is the nickname of one of the protagonists in “Wyrm Bait”, the cyber-mystery set against the MMORPG set in the world of Gossamer Steel,.

Kitsune are Japanese foxes, which are common in their folklore. There are two types of Kitsune: the zenko, who are benevolent, celestial foxes associated with the god Inari; and there are the mischievous yako, who sometimes are malicious as well. In some stories Kitsune’s intelligence and magical abilities increase with age. Foremost among these abilities is that of assuming human form, sometimes to trick people but more often featuring as guardians, friends, lovers and wives.

Kitsune can have up to nine tails, as they become older, wiser and more powerful. In some legends one tail is dominant and only by removing this tail, can a Kitsune be subdued. Because of their potential power and influence, some people make offerings to them as to a deity.

Inari and its fox spirits help the blacksmith Munechika forge the blade kogitsune-maru (Little Fox) at the end of the 10th century. The legend is the subject of the noh drama Sanjō Kokaji. By Ogata Gekkō

Inari and its fox spirits help the blacksmith Munechika forge the blade kogitsune-maru (Little Fox) at the end of the 10th century. The legend is the subject of the noh drama Sanjō Kokaji. By Ogata Gekkō

Kitsune feature in art down the ages, including modern art forms like mangas and video games.  They are the basis for the venomancer class in Perfect World, characters who are a woman with a few fox-like features including ears and a tail, but they can turn into a fox while fighting.

K is for two other creatures from folklore, the korrigan and the kornblock. In Breton folklore, a Korrigan is a fairy or dwarf-like spirit, while in Germany and Scandinavia the kornblockes are goat-bodied creatures that are said to help grow grain and corn, but will steal or spoil it if given a reason.

K is also for the Kainga, the corporation behind the solar array that triggers the apocalypse in Gossamer Steel.

PREVIOUS A TO Z POSTS:

A is for Array ~ B is for the Blood-Marked ~ C is for Corylus Avellana ~ D is for Duskweald ~ E is for Energy ~ F is for Feeniks ~ G is for Garuda ~ H is for Herders ~ I is for Ithaka ~ J is for Junk

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The brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out, the A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behaviour.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. Please visit other challenge writers.

My theme is ‘The World of Gossamer Steel, the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’.

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

A to Z Challenge ~ Is the truth out there?

A2Z-BADGE-000 [2014] (1)

Tomorrow I start the A to Z Challenge, the brainchild of Arlee Bird, at Tossing it Out. (Although this was written in February just before we lost our Internet). 

The A to Z Challenge is posting every day in April except Sundays (we get those off for good behavior.) And since there are 26 days, that matches the 26 letters of the alphabet. On April 1, blog about something that begins with the letter “A.” April 2 is “B,” April 3 is “C,” and so on. We can use a theme for the month or go random – just as long as it matches the letter of the alphabet for the day. 

As my theme I have chosen ‘The World of Gossamer Steel’, which is the SF-fantasy setting for a series of short stories and novellas, that portray the tales behind the MMORPG that is central to my crime novel ,Wyrm Bait’. Some of the tales are fantasy, while others have steampunk elements. However, this is a post-apocalyptic world where survival depends on taking the remains of consumer society and rebuilding with a new vision. Alongside this green or solar punk, there are areas where myths have come alive.

Beware though, the central theme of my crime novel ‘Wyrm Bait’ is deception. Do you really know who you are interacting with online? Who are you? Who am I? What am I?  Can you believe anything you read?

Lord of the Lists

At the end of August, as part of the Indy Block Party, I posted my Top 5 Books – in fact Top 6 as the Infinite Improbability Drive was playing up as usual.  I had a feeling that another Blog was creeping up on me and here it is – Four more Top 5 or let’s stick with the Hitchhiking theme and go with Top 6 lists. Of course there is a common theme, if you notice.

A Matter of Life and Death (film)

Top 6 Movies: Should this be in order of favourite or chronological from when they were made or random? You tell me…

  1. A Matter of Life & Death or Stairway to Heaven in US (1946) – my favourite Powell & Pressburger movie.
  2. Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-03) – the books reimagined and echoing the world I was transported to by the Professor back in 1970.
  3. Cinema Paradiso (1988) – a moving tribute and evocation of the magic of cinema in Italian.
  4. Shawshank Redemption (1994) – full of wonderful moments and brilliant acting from Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins.
  5. Pan’s Labyrinth (2206) – Guillermo de Toro’s Spanish language amazing and captivating fantasy set during the Spanish Civil War.
  6. Blade Runner (1982) – maybe not a sci-fi classic but there are classic scenes and lines, including the speech by Rutger Hauer’s character at the end.

 ScreenShot00051

Top 6 MMORPGS: As video gaming has now been around for 40 odd years, I am probably missing out the early classics that got me hooked. So these are the Top 6 from recent years – ones that I’ve got engrossed in and got characters to respectable levels. Currently I’m even taking a course linking two key areas in my life fiction and gaming – Online Games: Literature, New Media,and Narrative.

  1. Perfect World – this will always be No 1 as my elf archer asked a beautiful warrior if he could fly with her. And now we’re happily married in real life.
  2. LOTRO or Lord of the Rings Online – where I got to visit Middle Earth and meet Elrond. What more can I say but I keep going back.
  3. SWTOR or Star Wars: The Old Republic – set before the Star Wars movies but still a chance to wield a light-sabre and follow a narrative which you can change through your actions. Currently on the run….
  4. Age of Conan Unchained – based in Hyboria, the world created by Robert E Howard. Adult themes mean semi-naked characters, blood everywhere and challenging gameplay.
  5. Cabal – a fantasy world with unique armour and weapons. And great dance routines. Wished I had stayed longer.
  6. Runes of Magic – called by some a clone of the most popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft, but personally found it had better character creation and liked the dual class skill track using parallel areas. Great houses too.

Deutsch: Pjotr I. Tschaikowski

Top 6 Music: this will be far-ranging as music has been around since our distant ancestors expressed themselves on a piece of wood or by singing. Not going back that far but far enough.

  1. Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin – one of the first operas that I ever saw (at Glyndebourne) and which moved me and still continues too. Wonderful arias.
  2. Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor – very personal as well as moving music. One of the classic recordings being by Jacqueline du Pre, who tragically suffered and died from multiple sclerosis.
  3. Igor Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – ballet music that evokes so many images from the primitive to those from Disney’s Fantasia.
  4. The Doors’ L.A Woman album – included the track Riders On The Storm which is my favourite Doors’ song as well as the name of my guild in LOTRO.
  5. Queen’s A Night at the Opera – favourite track is of course the classic Bohemian Rhapsody But there are other great hits on this album such as You’re My Best Friend and Love of My Life.
  6. Howard Shore’s Lord Of The Rings Symphony – last but not least has to be this symphony edited down from the soundtrack to the Peter Jackson movies. Full of familiar themes and leitmotifs that continue to send tingles up my spine. Essential element of movies that works on its own too.

The artist and poet William Blake, who lived i...

Top 6 Poems: probably as old as music so the choice is extensive. I have to admit that my interest in poetry has lagged behind other art forms, but there are ones that stand out either individually or as collections.

  1. Thomas Babington Macaulay’s Horatius at the Bridge – a part of my education that still lives with me as it had such a fundamental effect.
  2. Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner – another classic poem that caught my imagination while growing up. The words are so powerful and often lines come to mind like:   Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water, every where,Nor any drop to drink.
  3. William Blake’s Songs of Innocence and of Experience – a collection of poems that I studied for English Literature and loved, especially as Blake even illustrated with richly illuminated plates.
  4. Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven – a poem with dark images and wonderful use of words. Another classic.
  5. Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Ozymandias – far briefer than most of the other poems but in its few short lines as evocative and epic, stirring thoughts as endless as the sands.
  6. Beowulfthe longest and for many one of the greatest epic poems, but with no specific source for this Old English masterpiece. Yet so much derives from this amazing work including much of our great literature. I read it in English, not Old English, when I was 17 and it was and still is an emotional experience of unbelievable depth.

The Old English epic poem Beowulf is written i...

There is a notable absence of Lord of the Rings from the last list. An oversight, perhaps? I could have cheated and included one of the many verses that J.R.R Tolkien included in his great work, many of which are fine works of poetry. In fact there is a crucial poem at 6 – Beowulf. The Professor wrote an essay “Beowulf and the Critics” – which I have incorrectly in the past inserted the word monster in with Grendel in mind. I read the essay before I had even heard of Lord of the Rings, but it was the turning point, the beginning of my journey down an unbelievable road… a road which goes ever on.

 

Inspirational Links that might lead to more lists being created:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muse

http://www.greekmythology.com/Other_Gods/The_Muses/the_muses.html