Writer and the Cold

Writing was slow this weekend. Not because Captain A returned, but thanks to a lovely winter cold.

I spent most of Saturday in a hazy followed by a nap. Then another nap.  I did make it in to the land of the cognizant for a couple of hours to watch Deadpool with a friend.  (Great movie, but please don’t take your kids. Seriously, don’t do it!)  I thought about writing, even opened the notebook to begin writing.  It was a fail.  I ended up crawling into bed and staying there.

Sick Lu

Sunday wasn’t much better.  Although I did watch two more movies while I was at my sister’s house enjoying some homemade treats and doing pretty much nothing.  (Thanks, Zee-Mama)  I came home and went straight to bed.

This writer has been laying in bed all morning trying to summon the energy to get into gear.   And you know what it isn’t happening.

The dishes aren’t going to get done.  The laundry will stay slightly stinky and I will spend most of the day drifting in and out of napping.

And that’s alright. It is ok, to take care of myself and not to push myself.  It is ok to let my house get a little messy.

It isn’t a permanent state.

12744122_10153985437359917_2939983936358604927_n

What I can do right now is get some rest and take care of myself.  Burning the candle at both ends won’t help the next book get written or grade the student papers. All it will help do is give my cold a lease to stay longer.

Taking care of yourself isn’t a waste of time. It is necessary.

So, it is back to bed for me.

Love and Sneezes,

Lu

P.S. Check out my book, Blood Child, on Amazon.  It is only .99 cents for the month of February.

Advertisements

Happy Birthday, Blood Child

Signing a book for the lovely Squeaker.
Signing a book for the lovely Squeaker.

One year ago, Blood Child was officially released.   It has been a great year.  Thus far, little Blood Child has earned 8-5-Star reviews and spend sometimes on an Amazon top-ten list.

Thank you once again.   Enjoy chapter 1 of Blood Child.  The complete novella is available on Amazon for only .99 cents.

Chapter 1

“I am not drunk enough to talk about it now.”

The interview I had lobbied over six months for just turned on her heels and walked back into the shadows of the house, leaving the door wide open and giving me an excellent view of her curves. My appreciation for them was short-lived, since cool air slapped me as I hesitated on the threshold, trying to take in the house’s details. The ten-foot walk from the car had broken me out in a sweat, making it difficult to concentrate. It wasn’t even May, and already Florida was managing to melt British tourists and small yippy dogs into smelly, sticky puddles. Since I was British born myself, it was only being raised in the United States that kept me from disintegrating.

As I watched the current Countess Bathory return, it occurred to me that she was nothing like her infamous blood-bathing ancestor. She had no aura of power or authority. She was, in fact, a wino, judging from the bin overflowing with bottles on the front porch. Albeit, an incredibly attractive one.

Technically, she wasn’t a countess, having renounced the title but keeping the money she had inherited along with it. Only people in fairy tales give up both, and usually for love. As far as I knew, Ms. Bath was single.

Nothing about Emily Bath made sense. She was richer than Donald Trump and had more degrees than Neil Degrasse Tyson, yet she lived in a tiny orchid-colored house in a mismatched Orlando neighborhood. She taught high school—not even a regular high school, but an alternative one for students who had been kicked out. She could have done anything and willingly chose to work in high school hell.

The interior was incredibly modest, if not a little old-fashioned for a thirty-something heiress or anyone in her thirties. The floors creaked with each step. There was no TV in sight, just bookshelves and seating. All the furnishings looked like they were hand-me-downs from someone’s long-deceased grandparents. The sofa engulfed me in patterned floral pillows. The countess smirked as I struggled to right myself. At least she had a sense of humor.

Still nothing about the home spoke of the mounds of wealth she had; it was all understated and sadly normal. I expected more—craved it, to be honest.

Emily Erzabet Bath was the survivor of a modern-day murder mystery. Nine years ago she and her three older brothers spent the weekend at their late father’s estate for his funeral in upstate New York. Her brothers died, along with twenty other souls.

The manor had been drenched in blood, literally. It dripped off tables, pooled in puddles on the floor, and had unartfully spattered the walls. The first officers on scene inched their way around the edges of each room as they searched for survivors. They weren’t trying to preserve evidence. No one wanted to step in that much blood. It was inconceivable that anyone could have survived the carnage. Pieces of victims were carried out bit by bit for nearly a week. The local police chief was one of the dead, along with his wife, so state police were immediately called in. They in turn called the FBI. It was a forensic nightmare. It took years for them to sort everything out, and then the picture that the evidence painted didn’t make any sense.

People were found at nearly all the exits, but no one made it outside before being killed. No one tried to call for help. All the phones at the estate were working, yet no one used them.

The officers who found Emily broke into her room after following a blood trail, only to find her cloistered in the back of the closet beneath a bunch of old musky coats stained with her blood. The combination of the smells—musky fur, stale blood, and human excrement—remained with the two men. Their stomachs emptied upon seeing Emily broken and begging for help with her eyes. Ten years later, even mentioning her or her condition made the two turn green. They thought she was dead until her bloodshot emerald eyes opened. She was severely dehydrated, with deep bloody scratches that had turned her flesh into ribbons; her wounds would seep blood for days after her rescue, confounding the medical staff. It was months before she was released from the hospital.

Emily allegedly had fled to her room and remained there the entire weekend. She couldn’t explain how she had gotten there or what had happened. Her story just didn’t hold up. Many believed she was at least partially responsible for the deaths of the twenty-three people in attendance. Maybe she really didn’t remember? It was possible, but why did she hide instead of calling for help or attempting to leave the estate? There were more questions than logical answers in the bloody tale of Emily Bath. The tabloid media had attempted to keep the story alive, supposedly to get answers, even after the relatives of the deceased pleaded with them to stop. A couple of lawsuits, combined with the complete unwillingness of law enforcement officials to contribute to the macabre circus surrounding the case, finally brought things to an end after about three years.

Now, as the ten-year anniversary approached, interest in the case was reemerging, making this interview priceless. And I was the man who landed it—the first and only person to speak to the reclusive Ms. Bath on the record. Persistence, charm, and just a bit of cyber stalking had won the day; being unemployed finally had a benefit.

No evidence was found linking Emily to the deaths, according to the investigator’s report in my satchel. No evidence was found linking anyone to the crime. The report had cost a pretty borrowed penny. Now I was wondering if the expense had been worth it. She was just so ordinary. So painfully ordinary.

Emily returned from the kitchen carrying two glasses of deep-red wine. When I started to protest, she informed me that I would need it.

“Mr. Clark, please…humor me.”

“All right, Ms. Bath. Do you mind if I record this conversation?”

“Not at all. I would appreciate a copy. Also, my attorney, Mr. McNeal, would like you to

sign this disclosure agreement prior to us continuing.”

“I don’t think my editor would approve any agreement that limits or restricts the content of the article.”

“Let’s be frank, Mr. Clark. You don’t have an editor. And you haven’t had one for the last six months. Your freelance opportunities have dried up, along with your hope and savings.”

I wanted to protest, but she was telling the truth. I had been let go from the Times six months ago. Budget cuts or some other bureaucratic nonsense was the official reason; sleeping with my editor’s grandson was the true cause of my separation from the nation’s foremost paper.

In my defense, Philip was twenty-one, and I had no idea that he and my editor, Ashley, were related. She wasn’t amused to find us cuddling in the afterglow on her $1,500 sofa. It probably didn’t help that I was also sleeping with her and was too intoxicated to notice where I had passed out. In the paper’s defense, I was only great at my job when I was sober, and I was rarely sober. Drunk, I was just OK. Sad, but true; I could do my job intoxicated and get away with it for the most part.

Looking over the agreement, I was surprised to see that it didn’t restrict what I wrote—only that I share any new information I found with Ms. Bath and her attorneys, as well as proofs prior to publication. If I had an editor or had been attached to a company, I would have had them research it before signing, but I didn’t, and Emily had called my bluff.

“Why do you think I have access to information that you don’t have?” I asked.

She sighed, reaching for my satchel. Before I could protest, she pulled out the investigator’s report and tossed it on the ottoman.

 “You purchased that from Detective Anderson two months ago. My sources weren’t able to get a full report. They didn’t think to approach him directly, a misstep on their part.”

Her smile was the first hint that she wasn’t entirely innocent; I didn’t think she had killed anyone, but that still didn’t make her guilt-free. She just didn’t seem capable of mass murder. Still, everyone is guilty of something. It just might not be illegal. “Of course, your copy doesn’t include all the crime scene photos. I am willing to share if you sign.”

“Touché, Ms. Bath.”

“Sign and you can call me Em.”

I shook my head as I signed it, just to be dramatic. The wine was beginning to look more and more appealing.

“Anything else, Em?”

“No, the floor is yours. Let the inquisition begin.”

I had to glance down at my notebook to be sure where to start. Em had thrown me off more than the past six months without meaningful work. Or maybe it was everything that was riding on this interview going well. I was pretty sure Ashley had started to use her connections to blackball me when I didn’t appear to be suffering enough to satisfy her. Even Cat Fancy’s editor refused my calls. Pulling off this story would make me instantly marketable again.

Looking at Em, I realized she could have been her ancestor’s twin, except she was most definitely curvier. She had the same delicate almond-shaped eyes, china-doll skin, and brunette hair so dark; at first glance it appeared black. She leaned back into the plush sofa as if she were having a conversation with an old friend. Smiling, I began…

Five hours, two bottles of wine, and ten pages of notes later, I departed the tiny orchid house, making it back to the hotel as quickly and safely as possible. Luckily, I had experience driving during these conditions. Becoming inebriated in the course of an interview is never recommended or suggested, but Em had been right; the wine was necessary even for this seasoned drunk. I knew I could count on the recording to help me where my notes trailed off. Experience had taught me well to always have a backup plan.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

Blood Child

A Book Out and A Short Story on the Way

Blood Child
Coverart by Steven Warrick

February 13th is fast approaching and with it comes the one year anniversary of Blood Child‘s release.   Over seven hundred people have it in their hands and on their devices.

Thank you, because thanks to you, dear readers,  I made it on an Amazon Best Seller list.   For those of you who haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy, it is .99 cents for a limit time on Amazon.

“This is an amazing book! As the story progressed and more pages were turned I was beginning to wonder if this was going to be part one and I’d have to wait for a second book to find out what happened but then right at the end it all came together and was an ending I never saw coming. Excellent work Lucinda! Can’t wait for your next work!” – Amazon Reader

“Blood Child will keep you on your toes until the very end. You will not want to put it down. Grab a refreshment and cozy in for a good read.” – Marie Arminger

“Excellent. Grabbed my attention from beginning to end. I devoured it and now I’m craving more.” – Amazon Reader

I have begun work on the next book, Blood Ties, which is set to take place five years after the first book.  I won’t say much as it is very much a work in progress.

What I can talk about is Shadow Cat which is currently in the hands of my lovely editor, Zee.  It is a short story about a rather spectacular specter of feline making his rounds on All Hallow’s Eve.  ShadowsTale

Here is a brief taste of that Shadow’s Tale has in store for you.

The Florida air on All Hallow’s Eve isn’t crisp or chill, but muggy and dank giving way to a proliferation of minuscule costumes for all ages and sexes, although the ubiquitous robe with accompanying mask are still a favorite for the adolescent crowd. In days past, every neighborhood had houses with their porch lights lit declaring their intention to pass out candy.  But neighborhoods change.  City ordinances restricting teens from roaming the streets left some parts of the City Beautiful virtual ghost towns with only a few hearty souls daring to search out the few houses dispensing confections. The streets of these neighborhoods are far riper with ghosts and ghouls than one would imagine, but that is really neither here nor there since they are also well-suited to a black cat slinging his way home when all the good little kittens are tucked into bed or sleeping on people’s heads. A black cat not on a mission from some demeaned witch or demon, but one who has a story to tell.

Starting and Stopping

For the last year, I have been starting to get better: better at writing daily, at exercising, and at this game called life. And then I stopped. I would love to rationalize my behavior, but I am closing in on my fortieth year of life and frankly, I’m tired. Tired of being too scared to make the changes in my life that I need and want to make. Tired of not being happy at the end of the day. Tired of feeling like I am letting the people I love down.

Today, I am adding being in pain to the list of things I am done with. Yesterday, I received an answer to why my foot and ankle have been hurting for the last couple of months. I have a bit of bone under the arch of my foot, as well as a bone spur on the heel of the same foot. On Monday I see the podiatrist and, hopefully, work out a plan that will let me get back to exercising and feeling better physically and mentally. It is hard to work out when you hurt whenever you move.

It seems like every time I get going in one direction something happens to stop my forward momentum. After 39 years of this happening repeatedly, the reason became clear. Like most people, I am my own worst enemy.

I am the one who hasn’t spent enough time writing, exercising, or choosing joy. I made those choices and now I am burnt out, constantly exhausted, and out of options. I get up and go through my day looking for magical escape hatches that don’t exist.

Do I have a plan to change? Yes.

Will it work? I don’t know.

Part of my plan to write more is to enlist some help in editing and promoting my work. Thanks to a good friend and talented editor, Cat B. of Catalyst Editing and Consulting, for agreeing to work with me. She is going to help with this blog, and also with upcoming projects. The second part of the writing plan is for me to get off my bum and just write. No more excuses, just writing.

As for the rest of my life, I have a lot of shredding to do so I can start living my own joy. Life is too short to do otherwise.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.

 

 

 

Character Revelations

This weekend, I learned that my protagonist doesn’t like air conditioning and habitually collects pennies. Strangely this is the hump that I know I have been waiting to cross. After months of wrestling with Rae, I now know enough to go forward with the story and stop tinkering with it. She is finally her own creature and not a reflection of all my favorite female characters. I feared that her story wasn’t going to be genuine and unique.

I read the books that I want to write, but the biggest fear that I have is that my books are going to get lost in the crowd because they are too much like my favorites. I want to create my own stories and worlds. This summer, I have also been working on some research to help give the worlds I create more flavor.

I have to thank my friend, Kathy, for messing me in the middle of night about her own tinkering dilemma and the ensuing conversation. I needed it.

Now, I am back at it. Thirty thousand words in and a killer to catch.

 

Why Support Patreon?

Last month my royalties for my book, Blood Child, were less than $5.00.  That’s right. I made less than a fiver for a book that took me nearly two years to produce, not including the time it took to write. And you know what I am overjoyed… seriously. I am happy about it. My writing is bringing in money.Is it the amount that I need to quit my day job or even one of my second jobs? No, but it means that people are buying my work which makes me smile. It takes a long time to build an audience/fan base.

So why do I support Patreon? Why I am writing this to convince you to support it? It is simple. It takes time to produce art whether it is music, books or a mural. It takes time to perfect the skills that make that art something of beauty and value. There is value in an artist’s ability to create. Patreon  is a crowd funding platform that allows artists and patrons to interact and engage.  Like in days of old, Patrons are treated to exclusive content from the artists as well as sneak peeks on new projects. Patreon says that it is empowering a new generation content creators.

Amanda Palmer 's photo from her famous Kickstarter campaign -
Amanda Palmer ‘s photo from her famous Kickstarter campaign -Now, Palmer is on Patreon.

That’s the key phrase, content creators, artists of all types create content that we enjoy. We, the patrons, pay them for that content. Just like we buy songs on i-Tunes or books on Amazon, we can buy content from our favorite artists. The difference is that you are contributing to that content being created. You are helping your favorite artist have the time to create their content. You are contributing to the art you love. You are giving them the breathing room that they need to create.And all the while you are communicating with them and creating a community.

Stant Litore
Stant Litore- Master Storyteller

Stant Litore was the first person that I have supported on Patreon.  His goals were small and have grown with the support of the community he has help to build. He gives inside looks into his writing process, the ups and downs of the writing life as well as what they funds have helped do for him and his family.

In his words, “it puts the community back in storytelling. Patreon is perfect for those writers and readers who are very social. It lets readers get involved in the process and lets writers share more of the process with readers. It takes us back to when telling stories was something that happened around a community fire, rather than in an isolated study. It also represents an opportunity for readers to fund more of the work they like most and for writers to make a more sustainable income.”

That sustainable income allows patrons to get more of the content that they want. It is a win-win for artists and other content creators. I support Patreon not as a writer, but a reader and lover of music and games. I support it because it inspires me to continue creating. Inspiring me to keep working through the all obstacles in front of me.

These are the people that are currently inspiring me – Amanda Palmer, Stant Litore and The Galaxy Next Door . Check it out…

*A special thank to Stant Litore for taking the time out of his schedule to talk to me. Check out his books on Amazon.

Page A Day Results

There were thirty days in April and I wrote and published something on this blog for twenty-six of them.  It is amazing what a writer or any human being can do when they challenge themselves and make a commitment. But then again, that is the story that we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves what we can and can not do. We place limits on ourselves and those we love.

If I give my students an open ended writing assignment, they automatically give themselves rules and limits.  The biggest one these days is that this or that is too much. It is the limit that I hate the most. If it gets the job done and puts you were you need to go then why is it too much? Why is it bad to work for something? The answer for many of the students is easy to see in their daily lives. They see people working and working and never getting a head, so why work?

That is a dangerous story, but a real one.

11051906_663114840460500_2886341314953390785_nThe big bad story I have told myself I don’t have enough time to write. This month, I took that story apart.

I didn’t make my goal of writing everyday, but most days I did write and it is that habit that I have to continue if I want to be a successful writer. No if ands or buts about it, to be a writer you have to write. To be a successful one you have to continue to write, even when I’m busy or sick.  (Yesterday, I slept most of the day and wrote for a couple of hours in the office before going back to bed.)

I have been afraid to let go of some aspects of my life. The security that I have built for myself in my tiny house. In the three jobs that I hold down and the family and loved ones who support me. In the piles of books that surround me in nearly every room of my house.  In short, I have been afraid of change.

Change is always coming for us.  Always, so it is time to stop huddling under the covers and get going.

If you’d like more information on Lucinda’s work subscribe to this blog, follow her on Twitter or like her page on Facebook.  Her new novella, Blood Child is available on Amazon.