Archive for March, 2015

Some excerpts and comentary

With the month of March sliding out from under us I thought HEY excerpts could be a good thing right? Now I have started a new character’ tales that I will be calling Maiden/Mother/Crone. This will be a set of tales with a character outside the normal. After discussions about how in urban fantasy you don’t see a female character over 35 I thought, well why not?

This character will be a bit me and a bit all the wonderful writers I have met that are older than me. Women who have lived lives, learned many things and deserve to have stories told too. So why not write a character who is a mother and even a grandmother coming into her power? Here is the very rough start to her tale. More back story than anything else but then we need back story right?

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They say that the talent for magic appears at puberty. That the strongest practitioners would show signs from birth that they will be great and powerful. They tell you that if you have not shown ability by the time you graduate high school that you might as well just become an accountant.

I showed no sign of that gift. At puberty I was too busy helping to care for my younger siblings to even take the tests. When I graduated high school it was decided that I should marry and pass on my genes to another generation. So I started having babies, one every two years till I had six children to care for, all girls. A regular stay at home wife and mother and expected to stay that way.

Life moved forward with the usual ups and downs till my children entered school. The year the youngest entered school my spouse decided that life with us was not what he wanted and he left to ‘find himself’, never to return.

As a wife and mother there was little I could do for work but that did not stop me from finding ways to support my children. When my oldest, Kimberly, came into her gift, she tearfully left our cramped home for her training. Too soon, or at least it seemed to me at the time, children developed into their magic. Each child held a different kind and I worked hard to make sure they got what they needed to develop to their potential. Like any good parent, I put my children ahead of myself and did my best to support their dreams.

When my youngest daughter Caroline graduated, my oldest was looking at having a family of her own. My children thought nothing of their mother and if I had desires to be more than their stay home grandmother and babysitter, but I did have plans. Plans that most of them would not approve of.

You see there is one very rarely seen type of magic awakening. While 99% of those who do not develop magic before adulthood would go on to be magicless for the rest of their days, there is that 1% who find themselves with power when they hit menopause.

When my fiftieth birthday rolled around I felt things changing deep inside. It was more than my biological clock running down to its final ticks. Yeah, I knew that menopause was happening. After all I had been getting the hot flashes for a while. They weren’t as bad for me as others, more like feeling warm and a bit sticky instead of cold. I was just glad it was over. No more having to deal with the mess.

It was a couple of months later that I started to notice things, sparkles around the edge of my vision. I thought it was just the spring coming on and pollen in the air, but it was something else. When I started hearing things, well then I got worried. Sparkles could just be my vision starting to go but hearing things? Well was I having a breakdown?

Thankfully a neighbor explained it to me.

You know her I am sure. We all have that one neighbor. An elderly woman, dresses odd and the normal kids call her a witch; the one that dispenses advice and cookies with the same hand. Who many take as a gossip, a busybody or a hag, who wears a blue eye to ward off evil or has too many cats? Yes, you know whom I mean. Well the one in my neighborhood was Mrs. Tailor.

A sweet woman really, one who would give you her ‘secret’ recipes, if you asked nicely. Her soup was the best I have tasted and she helped me many times when I had to work late when my girls were young. She took me aside one day when she saw me looking frantically about for who ever it was playing the prank on me. You see I was sure it was a prank.

***

Yes I have more of that and it will move into how magic can grow from experience versus being a gift that needs training like going into apprenticeships when you are a teen.

Another thing I have been working on is new tales for my Gate Cycle stories. For those of you who don’t know, the first book that came out three years ago was the collection, Gates: From one reality to the next. This book has six short stories that all deal with gates. Now hopefully I will be getting the rights back to the collection soon and I can put them into a much better edited book and people will read the fun tales I wrote.

This tale is part sequel and part new tale, it has a character from Descents, which was a part of this collection. My first horror type tale to be published. This comes much later in her travels.

***

“Sunshine on my shoulders. Probably one of the better songs of the time.”

I listened to the snort from behind me and did my best to stifle my chuckle. My companion was not a big fan of the songs from the seventies. I loved to egg him on. Walking from world to world like I did I had not expected to run across someone who actually knew of the music from my childhood.

“And what about Tie a Yellow Ribbon? Or Bridge Over Troubled Water? I can sing them all you know.”

“Don’t.” His voice was gravelly and deep. More something you would expect from a big hulking thing than the slender, reed-like being who was walking with me. He fit into this place with his black skin and ink-dark hair. Since I had found him two worlds back, he had been against my singing.

“Bobby McGee here just doesn’t like this American Woman singing the darkness away, does he, Fifel?” The mouse in my pocket chittered and shook his little whiskered face. While he might only have the shape of a mouse, Fifel had more intelligence than many a man I had met on my home world.

The growl from my other companion sounded like rocks grinding against each other. “My name is not Bobby McGee.”

I stifled my chuckle again and kept going toward the yellow glow that was cresting the horizon. The two days we had been traveling through this world had been a study in black and white. The black of the sky was pierced through with white-hot stars. Something that made me long for home even more. The constellations were nothing like those I had grown up with. Where I expected to see the big dipper or Orion the Hunter there was a river of bright white. It was good to see the sun finally slipping over the horizon. “I know, my strange friend, but till you tell me your name I will keep calling you what ever I wish.”

“Fine.” He sighed and moved up to walk beside me. “Tell me again why we are going this way?”

Shaking my head I explained yet again to the man who had attached himself to me. “When yellow breaks through the darkness, look for the gates between the worlds. Find the right one and the end will become the beginning.”

“But what does it mean? End? Beginning?”

I gave my little Fifel one of the seeds I picked up when we first stepped into Bobby’s home world and smiled as he gave my fingertip a lick. “It means that one of these gates will lead me back to my world.”

***

So there is some excerpts for you. Time for me to go back to working on new and old stories.

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How about some quickie fiction?

It has been a bit since I put up some of my shorter fiction for people to read. This weekend I wrote two quickie pieces. For those who don’t remember quickie fiction is fiction that is from 101 to 500 words. They are fun, fast tales that are really only one scene long.

The Writer’s Stuff group put up a couple of writers prompts using certain words to tell your tale or an image.  In the case of this week they did both. So here you go.

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The Golden Glow of Home

Standing below the skeleton tree I looked up at the golden glow coming from the window. It had been too long since I left her side, wandering the world in search of my destiny. So many miles of road beneath my feet, yet my path brought me back here, ending up in the place I had started.

It had been winter when I walked away, the world blanketed in soft white that reflected the glow from her window. She had sent me away, angry at my choices. I swore then I would never return. Spring had found me far away, yet my heart harked back to that window, longing curling in my belly for her sweet face.

I fought my way through summer, splashes of red staining the bright green that flowed across fields. Men and boys dying meant less to me than the home I could have had. The song of a single bird echoed with my memories of home.

Fall called me back, the dying of the colors bringing memories of times lost. Finally I came back to where I started, standing here working up the courage to climb those stairs and ask if I could come home.

(this was from a image)

The second one had to be about weather, extreme or just what was up while you were writing. So here is what I wrote:

Spring is late

The skies were a blanket of gray as the first of the springtime storms opened up. The cold white flakes dropped out of the sky slower than the harsh storms of winter. Bits of greenery managed to poke above the thin crust of dirty ice that covered the ground. Searching for that tiny white bellflower known as snowdrops, just one clump of them and spring would be heralded once more. The winter was harsh, colder than the five moons of Pluto. Could there be just one clump growing in the shade of an elder pine? Yes! The first sign of spring, never mind those robins.

and finally over on Google there is a group called Writer’s Write. They give prompts from time to time. Yesterday I found one that was interesting. You needed to write two sentences using champagne, blossoms, graveyard, February and turkey…so this is what i have:

The champagne colored blossoms placed around the graveyard stood out as wrong in February. Even weirder was the complete turkey dinner sitting in front of the one tomb.

Lots of writing prompts are to be found on the web. From Google and Facebook you will find the easiest ones but there are many writing groups out there. Hopefully I will find more.

St Patrick’s Day again!

Yup it is that lovely day yet again. Now I could give you something new that I wrote but hey I think I will just put up my little flash fiction from last year. After all it is totally seasonal!

A Leprechauns lament

By Lisa Williamson

He sat on his stool grumbling into his beer. I listened and finally I just had to ask him what was wrong? He turned to me, his emerald eyes flashing in a face filled more with character than looks.

“What’s wrong you askin?” His voice was rough and held a burr that was all too familiar on a day like today. “Well let me tell you. Profiling! Racial Profiling is what is wrong!”

He snorted and banged down his beer, the golden fluid sloshing over the top to splash and puddle on the scarred wood of the table. I eased into the chair across from him and tilted me head, my best ‘tell me about it’ look on my face.

He looked at me, more a glare but he continued. “Every year they all decide to dress up in green and start kissing everyone in sight. Wish the luck O’ Irish at you and talk about Lucky Charms of all tings.” He grumbled louder as a pair of drunk college students looked like they wanted to do just that. “Its demeaning it is!”

I hid my smile and nodded. I did understand after all. In these modern days, political correctness was all over but no one thought a thing about what they said on St Patty’s day. He lifted a bushy red brow and then he touched his nose and tried to hide a smile. “But you know about it don’t ya, lassie?”

See like my friend here, I am a wee bit on the short side. It is more obvious on Timothy here but you know what? Leprechauns have rights too. We aren’t cute, we aren’t funny and no, we don’t have a pot of gold for you grubby strangers. Go have your St Patty’s day beer somewhere else. Timothy and I will share our beer here and just you see, the Bunny will take your attention soon enough!

A look at sex in story telling…no not that kind!

I have been publishing now for three years. In that time I have done a lot as you readers know. One of the things I realized is that I have been writing a lot of types of stories with both male and female leads.

As a reader I notice that most authors tend to stick to one gender for their heroes in their books. They pick one sex and then every book from that point forward is either a man or a woman, a boy or a girl.

Now I admit i have done a lot more female leads than male leads. Here is the break down so far

Series name                          male lead               female lead

Beyond Realities                    one                        three

Dark Games                           none                      one

Guardians of the Gate City    one                         none

Worlds Apart                          two                         three (actually one is split down the middle)

Space Station Tales               four                         none

Pleasant Moments                 none                      four

Nasty Intimancies                  none                       five

(okay there is a male lead but the stories are from a female perspective)

Magic and Nightmares          one                         four

Now I could go on with the other series and the novels but you get the idea. Tends to be a two to one ratio for me on Female leads to Male leads. But the thing is as a writer I can decide partially from what view point I am taking my tale. What has me wondering is why more authors are not doing parity. While it is great that genres like YA and paranormal romance are giving us strong female leads why don’t other genres. And on the flip side why don’t these two give us a lot more male leads? The balance should be 50/50 no matter the genre and I pledge now that I will try to even up my tales so that I have as many male told stories as I have female told stories….it will take time but I hope to even bring in transgender or even those who truly are hermaphrodites…lucky for me the genres I write in will accept and most likely applaud characters who are different. Can you say the same about your characters?

Next week I think I will comment on age…