Monday, July 25, 2016

Nominated for the Liebster Award!

First of all, thank you so much, Darla Sands, for nominating me! I'm touched and honored that you've enjoyed my blogs so much!

Quartz: It wouldn't be half as interesting, if we weren't around! It's your characters who make this blog interesting!

(For those of you who don't know, Quartz is one of the seven dwarves in my published f/f fantasy fairytale, 'Fairest'. The dead one. Not that it ever shuts him up...:))

Quartz: D#@n right, I'm not shutting up! How else am I supposed to get any attention around here? You've been spending all your time with Shelley, Byron, Lord Ruthvyn, and all those weird characters in 'On the Other Side of the Mask' lately!

Ahem, back to the subject! (sweat drops)

To meet the incomparable Darla Sands and to see how she responded to her own nomination, go to...

Quartz: Bet *she* doesn't neglect her characters

(sweatdropping) I was also asked to answer these eleven questions:

1. What is your favorite destination, be it local, or across the globe?
Rome! Although I've been distracted by Parma lately.

Quartz: Her mom leant her a guidebook on Parma, which literally unleashed her inner Art Geek. She started compulsively taking notes, looking things up...she was actually distracted from 'On the Other Side of the Mask'. (mutters) Maybe I should pose nude and stand in an Italian art gallery (tries to pose like Michelangelo's 'David')

Me: Um, that really doesn't work for you.

Quartz: (pouts)

2. Do you have an extremely early childhood memories? If so, I'd be interested to know what you recall.

At age three, having my color forms scattered around me, and not being sure how to sort them out, get them organized.

Quartz: She may be tidier now, but her imagination is still a mess.

Me: ....

3. What is your favorite form of escapism?

Stories! Although they're more than a form of escapism. They're a vocation, a way of life.

Quartz: Although some characters get more attention than others. (sulks)

4. Does your region/town have a famous attribute? If so, what is it (whether it's a famous former resident, some large festival, or whatever else comes to mind?)

It's the heart of the computer industry.

Quartz: Not to mention filled with cute computer geeks. (leers) Like her husband.

Me: Don't leer at my husband, honestly, you're not his type. (rolls eyes)

Quartz: (sulks) Well, I am from your imagination, how you honestly expect me not leer at him?

Me: ....

5. Would you embrace eternal life, if given a chance?

Only metaphorically. I'd love for my stories to live on in other people's imagination, inspiring them to create stories themselves.

Quartz: Although she frequently forgets her characters, if they're not involved in her current projects.

6. If time travel were possible, would you move backward, forward, or stay put?

Stay put. Although I sometimes think about going back to 1990 Paris. Standing on the left bank, before going to try one of the restaurants on the Rue St. Germaine, which aren't there any more.

Quartz: Although she plays with historical and futuristic scenarios herself, transforming them into new worlds, but she doesn't go there, oh, no. She sends her characters, her canaries into those worlds, while she experiences it all from a safe distance.

Me: (looking a bit guilty) I can't deny there's a certain amount of truth to that.

7. What color are your eyes? Would you change them if you could? If so, to what shade?

Blue. I'm happy with their color, although I do admire different colors in other people's eyes.

Quartz: Rose purple, or golden. Damian Ashelocke has rose purple, while Rhodry's blue eyes change to gold, when he's using his powers. Danyell and Dayell originally had violet blue eyes with flecks of silver and green in them. I swear, she projects her strange eye color fantasies onto her characters, plus she has to mention that eye color over and over-

Me: (looking sulky) I'm getting better about it...

8. Given a chance to take animal form, which would you choose? Would you prefer being a pampered house pet, or a wild animal?

Quartz: She already is a pampered house pet, but if she could change she'd be something superior to human, like a shape changing dragon or a unicorn. She's egotistical that way.

Me: Who's answering these questions? Me or you?

9. In that animal state, would you hope for human sentience or existential oblivion?

Quartz: She'd go for existential sentience, something far superior and more wide reaching than human. Something which would allow her to experience music and color in many levels.


Quartz: Am I wrong?

10. Where would you go as an animal? Would you stay home, or roam afar?

Quartz: She'd use flight, or super speed, along with her shape changing ability to visit every art gallery she could. All the galleries she's ever dreamed of visiting or returning to, but thought she couldn't. The Ashmolean. The National Gallery of London. Of Parma. Of Bologna-

Me: Although I'm really hoping I'll be able to visit or revisit those places in my current human shape. :)

11. Do you currently have a project you'd like to tout? Feel free to promote!

I'm working hard at 'On the Other Side of the Mask', my Victorian/steampunk/Baroque alternate world  tale. Two boys take on the names of Byron and Shelley, trying to channel the power of those poets' names. They succeed, but they also attract the sinister hunger of the forces controlling the city of Paradise. I'm also revising two novels, which I've been working a good part of my life on; 'Stealing Himself From Shadows' and 'The Hand and the Eye of the Tower'. Both were an attempt to incorporate tarot imagery into a dreamworld of magic, allowing them to drive the plot. I've had quite the battle, trying to incorporate a bunch of disparate characters and themes into a solid story, which makes sense, yet captures the surreal ambience of wonder I was aiming for.

Quartz: And yet she's not working on any more stories involving poor Quartz. The dwarf she resurrected for her blogs, only to abandon.

Ahem, one of the things I was asked to do was to name five to eleven nominees for the Liebster Award. I decided to pick six. This is just a small fraction of the remarkable bloggers I know of...

1. A. Catherine Noon. Don't settle for just one blog, explore the many worlds of A. Catherine Noon! From Knoontime Knitting to Nice Girls Writing Naughty to introspective explorations of what's happening right before her eyes, this lady remains one of the blog queens! She's been my role model in many ways in juggling a variety of social media along with her writing.


2. Rian Durant creates some simply spectacular blogs, which are a joy to visit. Not to mention she offers some exciting snippets of GLBT fiction, which leave me hanging at the edge of my seat!

3. A.M. Leibowitz is an insightful writer as well as a constructive, thoughtful reviewer, She has written some of the most intelligent, inspiring blogs I've ever read. She also offers tantalizing snippets of her own stories.

4.  From book reviews and previews to personal insights, Paige Prince is positively magnificent in how she tackles life and writing, no matter how hard of a curve ball she's thrown.

5.  Offering everything from challenges to snippets of her own work, Paula T. Wyant is an exciting author to follow and keep up with!

6. An insightful and informative look is offered by Leslie Plank at her blog on kimono dressing, Japanese folklore, and many other matters with an attention to detail and accuracy you can't always find online.

To honest, I'm feeling bad I only chose six, instead of eleven, but I've had trouble loading and posting this particular blog. (sighs)

For the six that I've chosen, here's what you do, if you want to participate.

1. Write a blog about your nomination, displaying an image of the award.
2. Thank the person who nominated you with a link to his or her blog post.
3. Answer the eleven questions the person who nominated you asked in his/her blog post. (I'll get to those next. :)
4. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers who you think deserve this reward and come up with eleven questions of your own for them to answer.

Here are the 11 questions!
1. How long have you been blogging?
2. Do you have more than one blog?
3. What do you see as the essential purpose of your blog?
4. What do you especially enjoy or accomplish by blogging?
5. If you could change one thing about your blog/s, what would it be?
6. Is your blog heading in a different direction than what you originally created it to accomplish?
7. Do you prefer linking your blog to various social media, or waiting for readers to come to your blog?
8. Who do you hope will read your blog?
9. How does your blog tie in with other projects you are working on?
10. How has your blog changed your life, if it's changed it?
11. What direction would you like to steer your blog into in the foreseeable future?


Me Me Me Monday

It's 'Me, Me, Me, Monday' for QueerSciFi.  This poor little blog can't join in, because it's still being blocked by Facebook. However, it can participate by showcasing a snippet of my surreal, Baroque/steampunk m/m story, 'On the Other Side of the Mask'. A couple of church wards, controlled by the powers of the city of Paradise, exercise the other privilege they possess, choosing their names. They choose the names of Byron and Shelley, in an attempt to capture the spirit of freedom, which these two poets from another world embodied. They act upon this spirit, defying the church with their affection for each other, only to have one of the pale lords of Paradise step in. He decides to take Byron and Shelley into his home, in an attempt to tame them. In trying to tame them, he gets more than he bargained for. :)

I first wrote 'On the Other Side of the Mask' as my April Camp NaNoWriMo project. It was an under 6000 word submission for Lethe Press's 'Gents' anthology. I had to cut a lot of intended scenes with Byron and Shelley, during their luxurious, surreal imprisonment with Lord Ruthvyn. The first version of 'On the Other Side of the Mask' was rejected. I sent a second version, which I'm still waiting to hear back about. I talked to the anthologist of 'Gents' about writing an extended version of 'On the Other Side of the Mask' for Lethe Press's general submissions. I offered to work on it during July's Camp NaNoWriMo, so here I am, rushing to finish it, before the end of the month. :) It keeps expanding, because I keep adding scenes to the beginning! Mae wasn't even in the original draft, but here she is. Yes, she's my little nod to Mary Shelley. :) I've always loved the idea of Lord Byron and Shelley together, which is one of the reasons I've created these two original characters, who've claimed their names. However, I also adore Mary and the story of her romance with Shelley, which often brings tears to my eyes, when I read about it. The Mae in this story, who knows the Paradise wards' attic of books, is my homage to her. :)

He smiled a little to himself, when he saw her shaggy head, poking around a shelf. Mae had been the first to discover the magic hidden this dingy little library of tattered manuscripts and torn books. Once you tasted its treasures, you couldn’t keep away. Just a few shreds of poetry brought Shelley back for more. 

All anticipation curled and withered, when Mae turned around. There were bluish marks on her neck, chin, and face. 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

'On the Other Side of the Mask' Snippet

I was having a hard time deciding what to post for Saturday's #RainbowSnippets. Plus, I feel sorry for this poor little blog, which is still being blocked by Facebook for being abusive. It wants to come out and play, too, so it's also going to share a snippet as well, although not as part of #RainbowSnippets.

This is from my July Camp NaNoWriMo Project; 'On the Other Side of the Mask'. I worked on a shorter version of this for @Lethe Press's 'Gents' anthology. The first version was rejected, although the anthologist had mixed feelings about it. Encouraged, I tried submitting a second version, which I have yet to hear back about. I talked to him about working on an extended version of the story, submitting it to Lethe Press's General Submissions, which he encouraged me to do. Here is a little part of that extended version.

Their new cage was beautiful. Shelley had to admit that. Never had he seen so much color before, outside the pages of a book. 

Flowers of every hue grew from beds of lush greenery in Father’s garden. The air was cool and moist. Within his estate were treasures. Statues of nude youths and maidens, which the church wardens would have frowned on, as being sinful. Furniture made of different colored varieties of wood. Chairs, which had, of all the decadent luxuries, cushioned seats!

It should have been Paradise within Paradise, but what creature ruled their environs of this sanctuary? What did he want with Byron and Shelley? He’d released their hands, but they were in his lair. 

Shelley longed to reach out for Byron, once more, but Byron was more distant and remote than the statue he fixed his dark eyes upon. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

'A Symposium in Space' Snippet

My Plato-inspired f/f story, 'A Symposium in Space'!

“Love,” Agathea said, smiling as she glanced at me. My stomach sank, threatening to pull me down with it. “Every guest here will speak a little of love. You may tell a story, or give a speech, revealing what the sentiment means to you. We’ll see how your speech manifests on your plate.” She arched her graceful, swan-like neck. Swans had been beautiful, but cruel creatures, according to the old Earth bestiaries. “Perhaps the youngest and most innocent of us will begin?”
From 'A Symposium in Space'



Who is the fairest of them all?
You, me, or her?
In castle, cottage, or circle small
What will you endure?
Are you just fair of face and eye?
Or is your fairness true?
When under the sleeping curse you lie

What will you change into?”


Light and Landscape

This is a snippet, which I was inspired to write, when looking at the light play across the water in Ajaccio, Corsica. It ties in with my overall theme for 'The Shadow Forest/Tales of the Navel', which includes 'Waiting for Rebirth', 'Unwilling to Be Yours', 'Be My Valentine Snack', 'Stealing Myself From Shadows', 'The Hand and the Eye of the Tower', and 'A Godling for Your Thoughts?'

There are actual valleys of mist, rising from behind the hills, blocking off the path ot the mountains. I can see them from our deck. Light is reflecting off the water, the energy of a thousand souls caught in a collective pond of life, past, and present. No, wait, it’s supposed to be part of an ocean! Why is all the light gathering in a boy’s eyes? He can’t contain it all. Not without exploding. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

'On the Other Side of the Mask' Snippet

I'm a little ashamed of the blurry picture I chose for today's #RainbowSnippets. I decided to post another snippet, away from the group with a better picture. :) Also, to share another fragment of 'On the Other Side of the Mask', which started out as a dark, steampunk AU, but it's developing Baroque elements as well. Byron and Shelley, a couple of choir wards, having nothing other than the power to choose their names. They choose the names of a couple of famous poets from the lost world Paradise exiled itself from, hoping to embody some of the spirit of freedom they embody. For spirit is in short supply in a city, whose populace is ruled and drained by the pale lords, the chosen designates of the Goddess. Also, when Byron and Shelley take a stand against the powers of that world, one of those designates decides to resolve the problem they pose; by making the boys his. Releasing from the confines of the church, Byron and Shelley find an entirely new kind of peril as the pets of Lord Ruthvyn...

(This picture I took myself at the Palazzo Doria Pamphilj in Rome. It had some of the opulence I imagine Lord Ruthvyn's estate possessing.)

‘Father’ pulled Shelley a little closer, although not quite into his opening arms. For some reason, he was holding back, as if he couldn’t enfold Shelley within them, even though he wanted to. His entire body quivered with the strain of holding back, but there was an unspoken invitation in every curve of his finely tailored arms. 

“You don’t have to be alone,” Father murmured, as he opened his arms. “You can be with me. Become one with me and our Goddess. Surrender.”