Rewrite hell…but I’m having fun!!!

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So…I think I’m making more work for myself with Into the Flames now.

While I was working on baking snickerdoodles this morning (this was at 4:30 AM, mind you) I let my mind wander. I’ve been struggling with the rewrite, finding the characters stiff and not willing to comply with what I’m trying to get them to do. They’re resisting like nothing else and since I’m a pantser, uncooperative characters make it really difficult to do anything.

As far as I’m concerned, Fury & Co. are sadistic assholes. They’re demanding several new major plot points (and one character is asking me to write her out and put a new character in – she could have her own book in the series, she’s so fascinating to me) which would require so many character changes, plot detail changes, and massive dialogue changes that it would take forever to get it done.

The current rewrite is only 5 chapters in, so it’s not like I’d lose that much – just around 30k words. Given that this thing is over 400k right now, that’s not a bad thing. And if it improves the story, it’s not such a bad idea. But what if it is a bad idea? What if my characters are guiding me down the wrong path?

I save all my drafts. No matter how many I make, I save them. I have emailed copies of each version in my sent folder (I email them to my husband, who stores them in a folder on his email as a form of backup for me) as well as storing them in Google drive. As soon as I figure out where it went (again) I’ll be saving them on a thumb drive too. So if this doesn’t work I won’t lose everything I’ve already done and can pick up where I’m leaving off.

But what if I don’t want to? What if I like the new version? Well then, we’ll go from there. Let’s see what happens. Fury and Kuen haven’t done much to lead me astray so far. We’ve had some instances where I’ve had to pester them until I got the whole situation from them, but we’ll see what happens.

*waves and wanders off to do farm work and some writing*

Excerpt from the NEW Chapter 1 of Into the Flames

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I’ve been working on a major rewrite for Into the Flames because I wanted to try something different with it. Here’s a sneak peek at the newly rewritten chapter one. Enjoy!

Do you have everything?” Eire asked.

As far as I know, Dad. You’re the one who knows better about the core than me.” Fiera ran her fingers through her hair, making the spikes worse. “You supervised my packing so if I’m missing anything it’s because you forgot about it.”

True,” Eire said. He pulled her into a rough hug. “Call me as soon as you reach Bouarus, no matter what time it is. I’ll answer.”

It always felt odd hugging her parents. She was a few centimeters taller than them, standing at just over a meter and a half. She was also slender where the rest of her family was stocky. Her mother Alena called her a throwback to an earlier genetic ancestor.

It wasn’t only her height that she’d inherited. Her face was narrow and angular where theirs was round. Her nose was pointed where the rest of her siblings, other than her twin, had snub noses. Only the shape of her eyes, wide and almond shaped, matched theirs. Eire teased Alena often that Fiera and Phelix couldn’t be his because of their appearance. No one took that seriously of course. Alena and Eire were faithful to each other and everyone knew it.

Fiera drew several deep breaths, cementing in her mind the scent of her father’s clean linen shirt and the spiciness of the chemicals all the farmers used to keep the bugs off. “What if you’re asleep?” Fiera asked.

Then keep calling until someone wakes up and can get me.”

That’ll irritate mom.”

Yeah, well, she can just deal with it.”

Fiera snickered. “You know, the way you two act towards each other sometimes looks more like teenagers dating than adults who’ve been married for, what, over thirty years now?”

About that, yes.” Eire laughed, a deep hearty laugh that made everyone around them smile. “We were married six months before Keoni was born.”

I remember hearing the stories from Gma and Gpa,” Fiera said.

Yes, and they thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever seen, your mom and me racing to the courthouse when we found out she was pregnant,” Eire said.

Fiera chuckled. “I still don’t know how you two have managed not to kill each other all these years, not to mention how many of us there are now.”

With love, respect, and a healthy sense of humor.” Eire smacked her lightly upside the head. “Get moving or you’ll miss the shuttle up. If you do, I’ll be really put out. What I’ve set up isn’t cheap.”

Fiera rolled her eyes. “So you keep telling me.” She kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll call when I get there.”

Eire hugged her again, hauling her head down and pressing his lips to her cheek. “Remember: blend in.”

Fury: Winterklaas, Part Three

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Photo credit: Camera Eye Photography via Visualhunt / CC BY

(Here’s part three. Part one was posted on Monday and part two was posted on Wednesday.)

Keoni took over one of the bigger chairs. Phelix settled onto a smaller one. Fiera looked around the room before pulling a large pillow off the couch and setting herself up on the floor with her back to the wall.

You can sit on the couch,” Alena said.

Gma and Gpa need to sit down,” Fiera said. “I can sit here.”

What a polite little girl,” Marlen said.

Alena helped Eire pass the presents out. The boys tore into each package as soon as one was put into their hands. Fiera waited until all of them were set around her before she carefully opened each one. Eire watched as she slowly, with great deliberation, opened each parcel, regard what she was given with great solemnity, and then put each thing in a neat pile next to her.

Phelix let out a yelp. Eire looked over at him. Most of his presents were scattered around him in the chair and on the floor. He was clutching one of them to his chest. It was the box holding the model harvester he’d wanted, the one similar to his brother’s. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Phelix yelled.

You’re welcome, Phelix,” Alena said, smiling at her youngest son fondly.

Oh wow,” Keoni said, eyes sparkling as he held up a package containing a new pad. The specs on it were much higher than the ones Eire and Alena usually gave their children. “Thanks, Gpa.”

You’re very welcome, Keoni,” Pietari said, grinning.

Dad, that’s too powerful for him,” Alena said.

Yours was just as high level for the tech of its day at six,” Pietari said. “I don’t see why Keoni can’t have one too.”

Fiera gasped. Eire looked over at her. She was staring into a box that was sitting on her lap. Most of her presents were unwrapped. There were a few next to her still glittering with bright paper. Eire saw that his daughter’s eyes were filling with tears. “Fiera?” Eire asked, concern filling his voice. “Are you okay?”

Fiera lifted the gift out of the container perched on her legs. There was a set of the tightly fitting fighter’s gloves you saw on several of the martial artists in Lochsea. A uniform came out next. Finally, a small data chip sealed in a clear plastic case was drawn from the bottom.

Eire grabbed a pad with a reader attached and put the chip in. “What is it, Eire?” Alena asked.

It’s a class schedule,” Eire said. “With one specific one highlighted.”

This is how we kept Lanre out of trouble,” Marlen said. “Fiera’s temper is worse than his, but we figure this might give her an outlet for some of that energy.”

Fiera looked at her grandparents. “Thank you,” she said. She suddenly stood up and threw herself into their arms. “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Eire sighed and shook his head. “You’re welcome, sweetling,” Pietari said, ruffling her hair.

Fiera, finish opening your presents so we can all have breakfast,” Alena said, giving her parents a dark look.

Okay.” Fiera returned to her spot. Eire had a funny feeling that this class would only be the first of many to tame his furious little girl.

Fury: Winterklaas, Part Two

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Photo credit: aaronlobo via Visual Hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

(Here’s part two. Check out part one, posted on Monday.)

So are they behaving themselves?” Alena asked as he came back downstairs.

Yes,” Eire said. “Fiera’s even trying to read Phelix the story of the first Winterklaas celebration, though she did add one little thing to it.” He explained about her addition.

Alena giggled. “I can remember Lanre doing something similar to me when he told me the story. Only he was much older than she is.”

Your brother has always been a little odd,” Eire said, snickering. Alena giggled again, nodding.

When dinner was ready, Eire ran upstairs and grabbed his children. They all came downstairs and ate. Alena cleaned the kitchen while Eire and Keoni pulled all the totes out of storage. The twins sat on the couch watching a holiday e-vid while they waited.

The first thing to go up was the wire framework in the shape of a spiral. “Okay,” Alena said, turning off the e-vid. “Time to decorate.”

The spiral was soon covered in lights, garlands of shimmering fabric and glass encased liquid metal, sparkling baubles, and whatever other odds and ends they could find to fill it. When it was done, Eire got a ladder and started pinning lights to the upper edge of the wall. Keoni held them while he tacked everything up. Eire felt the familiar rush of happiness. He’d never liked Winterklaas growing up, mostly because of the demands of his parents. But now, seeing the smiles and hearing the laughter of his children, Winterklaas was his favorite holiday.

While Eire and Keoni worked on the lights, Alena took the twins and set out the cookie dough she’d made earlier in the day. She rolled it out thin and handed the twins a huge container of cookie cutters. The twins enjoyed themselves as they cut random shapes out of the stiff dough. The cookies were put on baking sheets and popped into the oven. When they came out, they were put on cooling racks.

Eire put on another e-vid and the family gathered around to watch one of their best loved holiday shows. It ended and Alena checked the cookies. She pulled out containers of colored frosting and set them on the counter. She went back to her family and watched another short e-vid. “Are the cookies ready?” Eire asked.

The cookies and frosting are all ready for decorating,” Alena said. All three of the children sat down at the table. The little sugary treats, the frostings, and several offset spatulas were set up. Each one of them took a cookie and a spatula and set to work decorating.

When they were done, Alena took the twins upstairs for a quick shower and then to put them to bed while Eire cleaned up and Keoni “helped.” Alena came back down. She chased Keoni into his bed. She rejoined Eire as he settled in to watch a more adult oriented e-vid.

Any trouble getting them down?” Eire asked.

No,” Alena said. “I just threatened to not let them have their presents if they didn’t go to sleep immediately.”

Eire laughed. “That’ll do it.” The couple watched the e-vid. When it ended, they went to bed.

The next morning Eire and Alena were woken up by shrieks of delight. They smiled and pulled on their clothes before joining their children. “Go get dressed,” Eire said as he laughed at his children. “As soon as Gma and Gpa get here, you can open your presents.”

The children scrambled back up the stairs and into their rooms. Fifteen minutes later, all three of them came down in their nicest outfits. They reached the bottom step just as someone knocked on the door. It swung open before Alena could get to it. A stocky man with dark brown hair walked in, followed by a woman with dark auburn hair. Both were dressed in brightly colored clothes covered by heavy coats and the man was carrying a large bag.

Glorious Winterklaas,” Pietari Rezouac, Alena’s aging father, said, pulling off his coat and hanging it up.

Good morning Eire. Good morning Alena,” Marlen Rezouac, Alena’s plump and cheerful mother, said as she handed her coat to her husband. She hugged her daughter and son-in-law before moving to embrace her grandchildren.

Gma!” Keoni hugged her tight, followed by Phelix and then Fiera. Pietari was only a few seconds behind his wife.

So, are you three ready for your presents?” Pietari said, pulling a stack of boxes out of the bag and piling them in with the ones Alena and Eire had placed in one corner of their living room.

Presents! Presents! Presents!” the children chanted.

Sit down and we’ll start passing them out,” Eire said.

Fury: Winterklaas, Part One

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Photo via staand via Visual hunt

(As it’s the holiday season, I’m writing stories celebrating winter holidays in several of my worlds. This is the world of Into the Flames/Return to the Flames. Eire and Alena are the parents of my MC in both of those stories, and here’s when my MC is a little girl.)

Eire looked out at the frost covered ground. There was no snow on Sorus. That was something he missed about being on Bouarus. Winter had been his favorite season. The sports that came with the ever present frozen water that came in the coldest months were one of the things he truly enjoyed, and not having access to them out here was difficult.

You’re brooding, Eire,” Alena said, coming over next to him. “What’s wrong?”

Eire smiled fondly at his wife. The two of them had already been married for a few years, but it still felt like they were on their honeymoon. “I was just missing the winters I grew up with,” he said. “I loved snow sports and there aren’t any here.”

I haven’t seen snow in years,” Alena said. “Not since we moved off Icrtara. Sometimes I miss it too.”

Mama, pick me up?” Phelix, Eire’s four year old son, ran towards his parents. He tripped and fell. He was stunned for a moment and then began to howl.

Alena sighed. “Phelix, you’re okay,” she said, walking over and scooping her four year old son. “Was there something you want?”

Presents?”

Eire and Alena laughed. “Tomorrow, bratling,” Eire said. “You have to be patient.”

Are we going to decorate?” Phelix asked.

After dinner,” Alena said. “We’ll all help make the house look pretty.” Phelix squealed happily and then squirmed to be put down. Alena set him back on the floor and he took off running, most likely heading for his room to tell his twin sister the news.

Are your parents coming for the disemboweling of the gifts?” Eire asked.

Eire, that’s a horrible way to put it,” Alena asked, still laughing. “Though rather appropriate, given Keoni and Phelix’s way of opening their packages. Yes, they said they’d be here at 0830.”

Then we’ll have to keep the bratlings entertained until they get here. You know they’ll be up long before that,” Eire said.

I picked up three holiday e-vids for them. Hopefully those will be enough to hold their attention,” Alena said. She glanced at the time. “I need to go start dinner.”

Do you want some help?”

No, I can manage. Why don’t you go see what kind of mischief the three of them are getting into?”

Eire laughed as he headed upstairs. He loved his children. Keoni, an active six year old, took a great deal of pleasure in tormenting his younger siblings, though it was all in fun. Phelix was a loving little boy who adored his twin sister and idolized his brother. Fiera, Phelix’s twin sister, was a feisty little thing who often had fits of temper as wild as anything Eire had ever seen. But she was also a sweet and loving little girl, and to be honest, she was Eire’s favorite out of the three.

Eire got upstairs and poked his head into Keoni’s room. His oldest was quietly building a model of a solar wind passenger liner. It was one of his birthday gifts from earlier in the year, given to him by his grandparents. He’d been working on building it for several months and was making real progress on it.

Keoni looked up and grinned. “Phelix already told me when we’re decorating.”

Dinner should be ready soon,” Eire said.

Okay.” Keoni went back to work.

Eire went to the twins’ room. The twins were sitting on the bottom bunk, Fiera’s bed, and were holding a pad between them. Fiera was reading slowly, sounding out words she didn’t recognize. Eire realized that she was telling Phelix the story of Winterklaas. He listened for a moment as she stumbled over some of the longer words as she explained about the earliest settlers in the Duyelia sector and how they’d been eager to celebrate their first winter on their new world. A huge party had been thrown, even though the planet was covered in snow, and all the children were given lots of presents. Eire choked back his laughter. That part was definitely added by his daughter. He didn’t want to disturb them just yet, and continued listening.

Fiera, what do you want for Winterklaas?” Phelix asked.

Presents,” Fiera said. “I don’t know what I want exactly. I just want presents.”

Me too,” Phelix said. “But I do want one thing.”

What’s that?” Fiera asked.

A harvester,” Phelix said. “A little one, like what Keoni has.”

The one he won’t let you play with?” Fiera asked. Phelix nodded. “Maybe Mama and Dada got one for you.”

I hope so.”

So, are you two ready for tomorrow?” Eire said, stepping into the room. The pad went onto the bed and Fiera threw herself into her father’s arms. Eire scooped her up and kissed her on the cheek. “Mama is cooking dinner now. Gma and Gpa are coming in the morning to see you open presents. So I hope you’re all excited.”

Uh huh,” Fiera said. “I like presents.”

I haven’t met a child yet who doesn’t like gifts,” Eire said. “Dinner should be ready soon. Are you hungry?”

Phelix nodded. “My tummy is rumbling.”

Eire laughed. “Then it’s definitely time for food. You two go ahead and keep playing until it’s time to eat. We’ll come and get you.” He set Fiera down, ruffled Phelix’s hair, and left the room.

April has ended…now comes May

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So, April has passed us and we are onto May. April was a rough month full of ups and downs. It is my hope that May will be better.

I turn 39 on May 11th. I’ve been taking stock of my life lately and find myself wondering what I’ve been doing with myself for the last 39 years. I’ve lived in three states, moved a lot, gotten married, been homeless, had children, lost those children, lost almost everything I’ve owned in various storage units we couldn’t afford, written a lot of words (some I even still have), and dealt with a near crippling issue with mental health.

April was also a pretty heavy month for me on my blog. Usually I try not to post a lot about my personal problems. I rarely ever bring up my kids. I still carry a lot of guilt and shame over that. I don’t tell anyone out of fear of having people turn against me because of it. But I’ve shared more about my struggle with mental illness in this past month than I have in all the years I’ve been blogging. (I started a blog on Blogger in 2010, I believe. Google still doesn’t show this blog in its searches. I’ll have to figure out how to fix that.)

I will still be posting things about mental health, my struggles, and whatever random articles strike my fancy and trigger a writing binge for me. I will also be posting little snippets of what I’m writing, pictures of the farm, and some more lighthearted things just to keep my blog from getting too serious and depressing.

So, let’s try making goals for this month. I plan on writing a blog post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I will finish Into the Sands, my current epic fantasy novel. I will edit Fury, a sci fi novel I wrote some time ago. I got my beta reader’s suggestions and I’m going to revise with those in mind. I will read something other than Little Women. I’m a writer. I need to be reading more books, and ones that are also more current to our day for publishing. If I get through Into the Sands and Fury, I’ll get started on my cyberpunk project again.

I will learn one new recipe each week and try it on the household. I will bake more cookies. I will attend my group therapy without looking for ways to get out of it. I will talk to my individual therapist and try to take her advice to heart. I will be patient and wait for the referral to the med manager now that I have meds that are good enough to take the edge off of things, though they don’t help me completely.

I will try self affirmation every day. I will look into the mirror and tell myself that I am a good person, that I’m not a failure, that I have made mistakes and lived through them so I am stronger because of it. I will take the time to enjoy my life as it is now and not focus on the past so much. I will take pleasure in the simple things such as tending the animals who look forward to my coming in the morning, and the appreciation I am given for my cooking.

We’ll see how these goals work out for the month. I’ve set goals in the past and not had much luck. But these are far more reasonable goals and I think I can do them. That is all I have to say today. Wednesday’s post may or may not be longer. It’ll depend on what I feel like doing.