It’s been a while…

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Hey everyone. So it’s been a while since I posted here. Let me assure you it’s not because I’ve been meaning to neglect all of you. Life just seems to keep getting in my way – that and I’ve got one hell of a crunch to get my novel done in time for my June publication date.

As you can see, the blog got another overhaul. I’ve decided to incorporate both my fantasy and my science fiction into one place. That place is Amberwoods Station. As the tagline says, it’s the “waystation for the characters from all the worlds created by Alison Guynes.” And Alison Guynes is, well, ME.

I have so many stories knocking about in my head that I decided I wanted a collective umbrella to put them under and – ultimately – publish them under. So Amberwoods Station now exists. It exists on Facebook as both a business page as well as a group. My DeviantArt page, as soon as I figure out how to change things up a bit, will reflect this as well. And the website I abandoned working on several months ago will also bear the Amberwoods Station name.

I have a good friend who’s working on my logo for me, so right now the images you see on this site are placeholders until I can get the full work up done. Also, as my publication date gets closer, you’ll be seeing more hints of my cover art, snippets of The Tiger’s Keeper (aka Tiger, Tiger), and other fun stuff tied into everything I’m doing.

So watch this space closely!

You never know who or what will show up. 😀

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Writing & publishing schedule update

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Hi everyone! Normally I publish at 8 AM. I know this. And I’ll get back to publishing at that time soon. I’m just trying to sort out my daily schedule right now so bear with me. I’ve got a lot of stuff to get done during the day so I need to work out how I’m going to do it all.

As the title suggests, I’m altering a few things with my writing projects for this year. First, before I start working on any of my serious novel work, I’m going to do little fifteen minute writing exercises. Just random little drabbles, maybe set in the worlds of the stories and maybe not. But they will be in the genres I write – fantasy and science fiction. I’ll be posting those here on the blog, very similar to what I was posting before I started putting Tiger, Tiger up here.

Now, I do still plan on self publishing a book in June and one in December. Tiger, Tiger will be published in June and Into the Flames will be published in December. I was trying to work on the two stories in alternate months, but it’s just not working. So I’m devoting all my time and attention during my writing times – except for the writing warm up exercises of course – to Lilavati and Manas. I’ve got a lot of work to do and five and a half weeks to do it in. I know I can do it in, but I’m going to be working really hard.

Once I’m happy with Tiger, Tiger – and get it beta read and edited – I’ll get back to work on Into the Flames. I’m struggling with it right now anyway, so restarting it probably isn’t a bad idea.

I’ve also decided to work as a plantser for Tiger, Tiger. I’m going to read through what I’ve got, pick out the main plot and the subplots and post index cards on my wall. Once I do that, I’m going to figure out how I want to address each plot point and just set up some vague notes on how I want to work those points in and weave them together. I’m also going to keep notes on the foreign words I use and the names of places/the meanings of the words because I kept forgetting the name of Lilavati’s home. 😀

So keep your eyes open here for further updates, and watch for Wattpad links. I’d like feedback on the new format and chapters as I post them there, so please leave me comments when I do a link post here.

Everyone have a wonderful day and I’ll see you when I get the next post written. (Hopefully tomorrow…and hopefully it’ll post at 8. XD)

The beginning of the rainy season

This is the view from my back deck. The left one is across the river. The right one is directly to the left. As you can see, the river is quite high. Usually there’s a lot more room between the edge of the river bank and the river. Now, there’s another 3+ feet before it even comes close to reaching the deck, but it’s still something we all pay attention to starting around this time of year.

Why this time of year? Well, here on our part of the Oregon Coast, this is the real beginning of fall – the start of the rainy season. Fall and winter are often gray with long patches of rain. Last year we went two months solid where we had maybe five days total of sun. It gets rather depressing at times.

So fall and winter I spend more time playing Sims 4 than writing, which is a big problem for me since I want to publish Tiger, Tiger next spring and Into the Flames next fall. (Yes, I’m ambitious.) So I need to buckle down and get to work.

So here we go on a writing adventure! I plan on writing in the mornings and giving myself permission to play Sims 4 later in the day. I figure that will give me my writing as well as my relaxation.

Let the writing commence!

It’s that time of year again!

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Every year since I discovered it back in 2003, I’ve at least attempted to write a minimum of 50k words in 30 days in November for NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month. It’s actually international, but NaNoWriMo works better for an acronym. 🙂

For those that don’t know anything about this fun – though stressful – event, it starts at midnight on November 1st and runs to 11:59 PM (in your time zone for both of those) November 30th. You have 30 days to write 50,000 words. Not an insurmountable task, but it can be difficult if you don’t schedule out the time to do it.

As I said, I’ve been doing it since 2003. Guess what, I didn’t finish in 2003. Hell, I barely got a week in. Of course, 2003 is also the year my oldest daughter was born, so you can kind of guess why I didn’t get my 50k that year. XD

I’ve “lost” six of the past fourteen years I’ve participated. I only say “lost” because I didn’t manage to write the 50k words required to get the cute little certificate you can print out. I actually won because I wrote words in November, more words than I’d had to begin with.

I’ve set up this year’s project on the site, but I’m not sure yet if I’ll actually participate. Tiger, Tiger is far more complex than I thought it would be and I don’t know if I’ll finish by the end of October. I hope so, because I’d love to participate in NaNo this year. I started last year, but other deadlines took me out of the running for the validation check mark.

There are official rules to follow, but you can throw them out the window and do just about anything you want, though counting what you wrote before November 1st is still considered “cheating.” You’d just be cheating yourself by not being honest, but it’s still not considered the thing to do.

There’s a program – called the Young Writers’ Program – for children and teens. There are many schools all across the world who use it to promote learning, creativity, and writing skills. It’s actually a very interesting program and you can learn more about it by going through the main NaNo site.

You have forums where you can ask questions, visit with people writing in your genre, talk to people in your own age group, and play little time wasting games when you should be writing. You can discover so many new and different things too. It’s just a lot of fun.

I’m sharing the link to my profile, just so you can see what a NaNoWriMo profile looks like – and so if you decide you want to join up you can become one of my “writing buddies” there. 😉

NaNoWriMo can be a lot of fun, and if you’re curious or just want to challenge yourself, come give it a try. Here I am!

Goal Post August 2018

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(Photo taken by me of a flowering tree in our yard – no clue what it is though.)

Hi everyone! Racing the Wind will be back tomorrow since you’re all interested (I hope) in the outcome of the contests between Eridan and Angharad. But as this is August 1st, it’s time for the goal post. Yay!

Let’s look at last month’s goals and see how I did. *cringe*

I will blog every weekday, unless there is something going on. If there is, I’ll post a brief explanation of my missed days on the weekend. This way I don’t have to try to get a full post up on the weekends, which oddly enough can be even busier on the farm than the weekdays.

Okay, so this one didn’t exactly turn out like I hoped. Not only did I NOT blog every weekday, I also didn’t post my brief updates on the weekends. *sigh* I’m going to get this blogging thing figured out eventually.

I’m going to post a vlog once a week, a gaming video at least once a week, and do a stream at least once a week. I need to get my digital presence back up and moving.

So, no vlogs, but there’s a reason for that. My phone has been giving me fits for the past month and within the last week or so it has finally crapped out. I can barely make phone calls on it. I can’t record videos and upload them to YouTube since I can’t connect to our wi-fi and I’m not using data (it’s expensive through my phone provider)…if I could even get a signal. Our house doesn’t lend itself for getting any kind of signal. The gaming videos are picking up, though for a while I couldn’t even bring myself to do them. I’ve got a bunch recorded and I’m posting them every day so far. I’m going to do more as I can and keep scheduling them out as far as I can. I managed my first stream last Saturday at 7:30 PM PDT. I’m rather proud of myself on that one. I haven’t touched my Twitch account in months.

I am going to start being more active on Twitter, since I’ve all but vanished off of it lately. It doesn’t do me much good to ignore a good social media platform if I plan on developing relationships with friends and finding fans.

I started this at the beginning of the month. I really did. And then…….I kinda quit. Facebook is much easier to engage with people on. Conversations happen much quicker and it’s easier to follow them.

I’m going to finish chapter 3 in Into the Flames and at the very least start chapter 4. If I finish it, that’ll be a bonus. But I at least want to get it started.

Well I did that. Then I scrapped that whole version and started over with the book. My characters gave a new shiny idea for their story that fits with their personalities better. So we’ll see how this one goes. I have reached chapter 2 with it, so I’m having fun.

I will do 20 minutes of yoga every day and go for a walk at least three times a week. My goal is to get down to 200 lbs by the end of the year (I’m at 240 lbs right now), so I need to get my ass in gear and get moving.

*sigh*

I don’t even want to talk about this one. Not only have I NOT done any yoga, but I’ve gone on maybe three walks the entire month of July. I’ve also regained 10 lbs, so I’m up around 250 again. I doubt I’ll get down to 200 lbs by the end of the year now, since a healthy weight loss is around 8 lbs a month. I just fell off the bandwagon.

So…THIS month’s goals.

1. Blog every weekday. If I miss a day, oh well. Life happens. Shrug it off and move on. Also on Fridays post a goal update so I can hold myself accountable. (I’m lazy and this should be a good motivation for me. Though I may not get one posted on the 4th…that’s our big grocery trip into Salem. If I do get one done, it won’t be until late in the afternoon/evening.)

2. Get back on Twitter for an hour every day and limit my Facebook time to one hour a day. I seriously spend way too much time on Facebook, and that cuts into my work time. So I’m going to see if I can cut back on all my time wasters.

3. Continue working on Into the Flames. No set chapter goal this month. This is a whole new story to me with the same characters so I’m working slowly to make sure I get everything down. Of course, this is a first draft so it’s definitely not perfect. We’ll have to see if I continue liking it or if I’m going back to the other version.

4. Vlog once a week, post YouTube videos weekly (daily if possible), and stream every week (if possible). My phone problem will be solved (hopefully) on Wednesday. A kind friend (from Facebook XD) is mailing me her husband’s Nexus 5. He upgraded and it was never used that much anyway. So as soon as it gets here I’ll get a vlog up. My weekly streams are tentatively scheduled from 7:30 PM PDT to 8:30 PM PDT on Saturday nights. It may change, I may add more. I don’t know yet. We’ll have to see.

5. 20 minutes of yoga every day, one walk every day, and whatever other physical activity I can get in. Also, cut back on my food portions and cut out soda completely. I sit too much on my butt at my computer. I know it. I need to get out and do more physical activity since that’s one of the contributing factors to my weight. I also eat too much. I know this too. So I’m going to cut my portion sizes down. I also have to cut soda out completely. I keep saying I’m going to do it, and then I go and buy a 1 liter Mountain Dew when I’m depressed. I’m going to force myself not to do that because going cold turkey is the only way I’m going to stop myself from drinking it.

So that’s it for today’s post and this month’s goals. Anyone want to take bets on how much of this I’m going to actually accomplish? *grin* I am DETERMINED TO SUCCEED!!!!!!!!!

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*

A father’s love

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Photo via Visual hunt

Elena grinned as she danced around the living room, the silk dress moving against her skin. “Dad, you are awesome,” she said.

Peter Wilkins smiled at his eighteen year old daughter. People often wondered why a man like him had adopted sweet blind child back when she was only five years old. Especially when he himself was blind and had to be helped by his wife Angela. But both Angela and Peter fell in love with Elena and wouldn’t let anyone tell them that they’d made a mistake.

Angela had died when Elena was thirteen and everyone was sure Peter would send Elena back into the foster care system. He refused. Peter hired someone to cook and clean for them, and continued to live in the small house with his brilliant, musically inclined, little girl.

“When is your date supposed to be here?” Peter asked.

“At seven,” Elena said. Both of them listened as their antique grandfather clock chimed the hour.

“Any minute then,” Peter said with a laugh.

Elena stopped moving. “I’d look out the window, but I don’t think it would do me any good.”

“Probably not, faerie child,” Peter said. “I doubt you’d see much, given how dark it is.” Both of them snickered. Their blindness was a constant source of amusement to them.

Someone knocked on the door. Peter heard the Southern drawl of their housekeeper, a fiery tempered woman named Greta, as she spoke to whoever it was. He heard two sets of footsteps. “Pete, this string bean says he’s Elena’s date to prom,” she said as she led someone into the room.

“Hi Jake,” Elena said breathlessly.

“Hi Elena.”

Pete frowned. There was something in the boy’s voice he didn’t like. Something cold. Elena must have heard it too. “Is something wrong, Jake?”

“You didn’t tell me your dad was a black man,” Jake said.

“I didn’t know he was,” Elena said.

“Come on, Elena. You expect me to believe that you didn’t know you were living with a nigger?” Jake asked, his voice full of disgust.

“Jake, I’m blind. No one ever told me, so how am I supposed to know?” Elena asked.

“Our date is off, Elena. I won’t go out with a girl who’s father is dirty like that.” Jake stormed out of the room. A few seconds later the others heard the door slam.

“Greta, is my dad black?” Elena asked.

“Yeah,” Greta drawled. “He is. You’re white. I’m somewhere in between. It don’t matter. You two love each other. That Jake’s the filth, not you and not your dad.”

Peter heard the rustling of the dress and the thwump as his daughter landed on their couch. He knew she was crying. Peter maneuvered his way through the furniture and sat down beside her.

“Listen faerie child, as much as it hurts, there are a lot of people like Jake in this world. There’s a lot of hate. We’ve been blessed with not experiencing much of it. But it’s out there, and as you go out on your own, you’re going to have to deal with more of it,” Peter said.

Elena sniffed. “I wish mama was here.”

Peter reached his arm out and wrapped it around his daughter. “So do I, faerie child. So do I.” He held her until she finished crying.

“Come on, Elena,” Greta said. “I’ll help you get out of that.”

“Thanks Greta,” Elena said. Peter heard the two women leave the room.

“Ah Angela, you’d have skinned that boy alive for breaking Elena’s heart without even touching him,” Peter muttered. “They’d never have found the body either. I do miss that magic of yours.” He held out his hand and tried to summon the energy that had once coursed through him, hoping to bring up enough of it to send a curse after the bastard who’d broken his daughter’s heart.

As usual, he felt a faint tingle in his fingers, but that was it. A spike of pain in his right temple forced him to stop. He sighed and let his hand fall to his lap. Elena’s blindness was a birth defect. His was the result of a spell gone wrong, and the physical pain that came from it would last him a lifetime.

Avoid Dropbox

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Photo via Visual hunt

This is going to be a quick post. Two days ago, I got an email from Dropbox saying I went over my free 2 GB limit and I had to pay to upgrade to their 1 TB storage system. When I went to check my files, since the last time I checked I hadn’t even hit 1 GB, I found someone had dropped over 6 GB of files on my account.

I did some research on troubleshooting how to resolve the issue. I looked for the files. I found them but couldn’t delete them. So I did more research and was told by Dropbox that only the person who added them to my account could delete them. I told them that someone hacked my account. They told me that I’d have to remove his access. So I looked at how to remove someone’s access to my account since I never gave anyone permission to access my account. I learned how to do it and tried to find where he’d accessed my account. There was no record of his access and I couldn’t remove him.

So I contacted Dropbox again. I told them what was going on and asked them to remove the files and let me redo the security on my account. They refused, stating that since I gave the person the access I had to remove his access and get rid of the files on my own. When I told them again that I’d been hacked they said they’d “review my complaint.”

24 hours later, I got their response. “We can’t find any evidence of your complaint. You will have to upgrade to the 1 TB storage to continue using your account.” That was a real big “fuck you” from Dropbox, who I’ve been using for the past four years. So I told them to go fuck themselves and deleted my account.

I forgot to download everything first because I was so pissed, so I lost years of work. However, I look at that as a chance to start those projects with a fresh eye and a clean slate. But seriously, don’t deal with Dropbox because their customer service sucks.

The Mages and the siblings

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Photo via Visualhunt

Caara looked at Willem. “Are you sure we should have signed on with them?” she whispered, shifting from foot to foot as she waited in the corridor.

“What else are we going to do? We don’t have anywhere else to go.” Caara’s older brother was irritated. Caara couldn’t blame him. She’d been asking him the same question for the past two ninedays.

“But the Mages, Will,” Caara said. “Mum and Da will be wailing in the afterlife for us doing this, considering what happened.”

“I know, Caara,” Willem said, scowling. “But Gran and Aunt Iola refused to take us in. We’re both old enough to get employment, but neither of us has the physical capability to do anything useful. So it’s the Mages or the Apothecaries. Do you want to deal with what the Apothecaries would do to us?”

Caara shuddered. The Mages weren’t exactly the most savory bunch, but the Apothecaries were far, far, far worse. No one who entered their service lived more than a year, barring a small handful who proved resilient. Neither Caara with her one blind eye and one deaf ear nor Willem with his twisted leg would be among the survivors.

A black door set with glowing red runes opened. “Caara and Willem Hapsen,” a gaunt man in gray robes called, staring out at the gathered young people with blank eyes. Willem settled his crutch under his arm and took Caara’s hand in his free one. The two of them approached the Mage. He frowned. “You are Caara and Willem Hapsen?”

“We are,” Willem said.

“Name your infirmities,” the Mage said.

“I have a twisted leg that prevents me from walking far or fast, and my sister is deaf in her right ear and blind in her left eye,” Willem said.

“Is she mute as well?” the Mage asked.

“No sir,” Willem said.

“Then she must speak for herself,” the Mage said. He turned to Caara. “What are your infirmities?”

“My brother already told you,” Caara said. “I am blind in my left eye and deaf in my right ear.”

The Mage nodded. “Follow me.” He led them back through the door.

The corridors they were led down were dimly lit with flickering torches. Caara moved closer to Willem. He held tightly to her hand. The Mage escorted them into a small room lined with mirrors. Two mages in bright scarlet robes were sitting at a table in the middle. The gray clad Mage bowed and left the two young adults to face the Red Robes.

“Each of you, speak your name,” the first Red Robe said. Her eyes were the amber of a cat’s, and were just as intense as she looked at them. Caara and Willem gave their names.

The second Red Robe was watching for something. He frowned when Willem gave his name, but nodded in satisfaction when Caara gave hers. “The young man will leave. The young woman will stay,” he said.

Before either of the siblings could speak, the door opened and the Gray Robe returned. He took hold of Willem’s arm and dragged him from the room. Willem struggled briefly, but with a small gesture, the Gray Robe took control of Willem’s body and forced him out of the room. The mixed look of fear and rage on his face twisted in Caara’s stomach.

She turned back towards the Mages. “Why can’t my brother stay?” she asked. “I need him with me.”

“He is not worthy to serve in the position we have for you,” the female Red Robe said. “Question us again and you will be killed where you stand.” Caara closed her mouth.

The male Red Robe stood and handed her a small mirror. “You will keep this with you no matter what happens,” he said. “If you lose it, we will not rescue you from any trouble you get into.” Caara tucked it into the pouch she kept under her bodice.

The woman gestured to one of the mirrors. A border of golden runes appeared. “Step through the mirror.”

Caara wanted to ask how she was supposed to do that, but was too frightened of the Mages to speak. She moved slowly across the room. Pausing in front of the shimmering glass, she took a deep breath and put her hand against it. Her fingers passed through the surface. She moved forward.

A faint heat rushed across her skin and everything twisted around her. When her vision cleared, she realized it was a scorching day wherever she was. She looked around. The land was barren, dead trees jutting out of the ground.

“What do you see?” It was the voice of the female Red Robe. It was coming from the mirror under Caara’s bodice.

“A dead place,” Caara said.

“Explain,” the woman said. Caara described what she saw. “Not suitable for our needs. Step back through the mirror.”

Caara turned around and saw the mirror still hovered behind her. She hurried back through it. The mirror returned to normal briefly before another border of golden runes appeared. The pattern was different and Caara realized that this meant it was probably going somewhere else.

“Step through,” the woman said. Caara took a deep breath and slid through the light.

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