Tuesday, September 28, 2010

New Glasses!

I know cheap isn't always better...but I just received my new glasses courtesy firmoo.com and they were $36 all in all. For prescription lenses. And they're comfortable, good-looking...

And best of yet!!! --I can see.

Meaning: I can read.

Which is especially wonderful as my list of "books to be read" has stacked up while the eye-strain headaches worsened.

So I'm looking forward to some quality time with:

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson
Thunderbird Falls, C.E. Murphy (2nd in the series)
Flesh and Fire, Laura Anne Gilman (From World Fantasy Convention, '09)
Shadowrise, Tad Williams (Vol. 3 in the series)
The Popol Vuh (Mayan mythology)
Grant Writing Handbook (LOL: trying to get non-profit started here, so in the intensive knowledge-acquiring phase :P)
And an html textbook (More needed knowledge)

And there's more... but I think these are the highlights! :D
What are you reading right now?

Thursday, September 23, 2010


Hey! Sorry for posting late in the day...I know for some people it's probably already the 24th :(

But here is my blogfeast Entry for Angela McCalister's feast fest hosted on the Jaded Love Junkie!
So head on over and read about food 'till it makes you ready for the holidays :D

I will try to offer a little context this time :P

The main character of this piece is Tati. She and her best friend ran away from their home village when attackers were sighted. Tati is trying to recruit the assistance of her king. But her people (the Maldians) are ethnic inhabitants of Meis. The attackers have ulterior motives for attacking the innocuous-seeming Maldians (as you can see by the Magic Tati uses, the applications in war are disastrous). Tati left before her 14th birthday (which would've included a feast) and where she would have had to make a decision between "Huntress" (which involved warrior training preserved through centuries) or cook. Clearly, she loves food. Food and meals, in her society, bind everyone. They are ritualized in a way the Meiseons simply don't...unless it is a meal of state. Tati wouldn't attend a meal of state at the moment.

So what's she doing? Found out by the mysterious Aloysia Rijnic, whom Tati knows little about right now, she is awaiting an audience with the Meiseon king. The three girls (Aloysia, Tati and Ahgothi) are staying in a Meiseon Inn. Ahgi and Tati are both experiencing a bit of culture-shock, but Tati reacts differently. Frustrated, lost, surrounded by a language she barely understands, Tati seizes on the fact that the serving girl doesn't know anything about food. She storms into the kitchen, determined to make her own meal. The Innkeeper finds her here, and that's where the excerpt starts:

“What is the meaning of this?!” said a new voice.
I did not look up but continued scrubbing.
“Where is my meal?” asked the new man, “What happened to the food?”
“I dumped it in fire,” I said, “It was no good.” I shook my head over the pot. “Give me what supply you have. I will make great meal here.”
“We do not have anything but the roughest of peasant fare. Birds and some berries, that’s the fanciest we have!” said the cook.
When I merely nodded, the Innkeeper stared and the cook started shouting, “You’re gonna steal my job! I’ve had this for years! You are not going to steal my job, you Carra-spawn!” He launched himself at me, holding the fire-iron. It took nothing to reach for the Green of the iron and yank the poor weapon from his grasp.
“Demon,” he hissed, as he came to a stop.
“I will make meal,” I told him gravely, and turned to the Innkeeper. “I ask no pay, this something I raised to do. I cook as long as I stay, I teach fat-man make meal and he can show me what Meis-food look like when not burnt.” I dumped the last of ash onto the fire. “And, if he pledge treat food with more respect I promise I make new pots and,” I waved at other metal cooking implements. “All I want is place sleep, and make food.”
“You’re not staying?” asked the cook.
“My home north, I not stay.”
The Innkeeper nodded, scowling. “As long as my patrons are fed,” he said, but studied me closely. “This will be strange food you make, girl.”
“I am woman,” I corrected. “I am fourteen.”
There was silence.
The serving girl edged into the kitchen again, watching all apprehensively and shifting from foot to foot as the silence smothered even her urgent words. Finally she did defy the quiet, but with the barest of whispers: “They want their food.”
I nodded. “Bring meat. Bring berries. Bring what other fare you have.”
All three stared at me. I felt their eyes, even as I poured water from a jug into the large pot. When the pot was half-full I turned to them. “I ready. Why stand so still? Need supply to make meal: meat and vegetable, herb and spice. Whatever you have, bring here.” They stared so I crossed my arms and glowered. “Now.”
They scattered.
I sighed and stood at the room’s center to inventory what I had to work with. There weren’t enough pots in this kitchen. There were only two stirring spoons. I needed all the implements of a Maldian meal-garden and would have to rely on my Green, if nothing else.
Green works as an extra sense. I can always feel the veins of metal in the ground below me, around me. I can sense them miles away. I can feel the center of the world melt and roil; Don-Yin’s heart is ever restless. So, when one uses the Green to do more than ‘feel’ one generally ‘pulls’ and ‘pushes.’ You can push so hard that friction and heat is created, and eventually the metal can reshape, just as it does in a forge. That is Green shaping. It was also the first lesson I learned from my older brother. So I did now, pulled and shaped until on the floor I had a vast supply of cooking utensils, bowls and plates and trays.
When the three returned laden with birds tied on strings, drying herbs and cooking wines and ales as well as a basket filled with various vegetables; they stopped in the doorway.
“May need more water,” I said.
The cook nodded, but his eyes were bulging. “I’ll get it.”
The Innkeeper dropped his load of birds and herbs. He stared at me a minute, pushed a hand through dark brown hair, muttered something and then left the kitchen. The serving girl followed quickly at his heels.

Naturally, when she finally serves up the meal and returns to the inn's dining room, she is greeted with applause. It's safe to say she and her friends get to stay for free.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Shhh! It's a Secret Blogfest...

So tired today! I just could not sleep last night...I was planning on writing an original scene for today's Blogfest...but am pulling an excerpt from more sitting & rough material :( Thanks a ton to Summer Ross for hosting! (and all her generous cpomments she leave me here :D ) There are lot's of wonderful entries listed on Summer's site "My Inner Fairy." Go check 'em out

Let me know what you think :D Keep or leave out?

“My lord?”
He smiled a tight-lipped smile. “What did I say about that? I just was going to ask if you'd join me for a glass of wine.” He lifted two glasses from a shelf behind his desk, and a wine bottle. “Could you...” he nodded at his desk, “Bottom drawer on the right.” He stepped to the side letting her open the drawer.
Two cushions, too large for a chair, with a wooden base rested inside the drawer. They were red, edged in gold and ivory. She caught her breath, and looked up at him, but only saw the rigid outline of his back. Tentatively she retrieved the cushion-seats, and placed them by the fire.
He sat and poured her glass, and then his own. He seemed to be watching her the entire time. She thought her hands would start to shake. He passed her a glass and she accepted with a soft thanks, and sipped. She watched him over the rim. For once, he wasn't watching her. Then he looked up and for an instant she thought she saw more green in his eyes than gray.
“It has been just two weeks,” he said as he corked the bottle once more, “but I am curious how you are finding your stay.” He took a sip, signaling for her to respond.
“I... am well,” she replied hesitantly. “I enjoy these evening with Aloysia.”
“I know you meant to spend your meals with your brother and not Roniv and me. Have you seen much of Teshen?”
Kyr leaned forward, just a bit, and she could see laughter in his gray-green eyes. “I suppose he is curious about those dinners, yes?”
Wait. Gray-green? Yesterday they were storm gray. “He is. But there is little for me to say.”
“Have I seemed a tyrant to you? Does my reputation suit me?”
“It has only been two weeks!” she protested. “What can I tell in two weeks?”
“That's what I'd like to know.” He lifted his glass again. “What can you tell?”
“I don't think you are a tyrant. No, not at all.” She all but gulped the rest of the wine, and set it down. Yes, now her hands were shaking. She closed her eyes and tried to still her shaking. “You mean well, for your people. But there is more there, something more complicated. You are hiding something, and I can't tell who around you is in on the secret and who isn't.”
“That is a very astute observation. How have I seemed to be... keeping a secret... ?”
“You are too perfect,” Gellayna pushed her glass forward and he poured another glass, chuckling. Gellayna continued, “Ever since I walked into the hall, your dress, appearance—everything was perfectly consistent with your reputation.” She lifted the wine glass to her lips again, but her hands were still shaking for all her effort to stop them. “Except,” she lingered over the rim, “your reputation feels like half the picture, rather than the whole of it. The taxes. Yes, you tax highly, but you reinvest it in walls and graineries,” She sipped for a minute. “In Dyvecor, it is customary for the local village to come up with the funds to store grain. The lord does not provide for the people. We must attend to such things ourselves.”
“Are maintained by the Smugglers. They need them, after all. But you... try to serve your people.”
She watched him swallow the last of his glass and set in one stone in front of his knees. “And what does that say about me?”
“That you might well be a good man.”
He did not look up at her, as he poured himself another glass. “Oh, I'm not so sure of that.”
“Then, Kyr Ednin,” she said in slight exasperation, “Tell me why you are not so good a man as you seem upon examination—mind that wasn't my first impression.”
He laughed, again, now soft at first but building. “Where do I start?”
Gellayna scowled, setting her glass down with a decided clink. “You permitted your sister to marry Vynnek Rijnic, and it is widely said she loved him.”
“And he loved her, too,” said Kyr. “I wouldn't have allowed it, otherwise. But it cost the life of my cousin, Sedrinna, though she was dear to me.”
“How does that relate--”
“Koarv wanted Jira,” Kyr met her eyes, and his flashed steel-gray. “Sedrinna looked much like Jira... but more delicate.”
More delicate? Jira was reputed to be very delicate for a Kordic woman, fine features...how could Sedrinna have been “more delicate?” “She is gone?”
“Two years ago. Lord Koarv... is not a kind man. Sedrinna.... I think she was too soft for his world of poisons and intrigue. She bore him a son, I think that's all that mattered to him.”
“I'm sorry.”
“I sealed her death when I arranged that marriage. Did I do the same for Jira? Am I, truly, a good man, Gellayna?” The intensity in his gray eyes made her hide behind the glass. “Or am I something more monstrous?” He shifted his gaze to the fire.
“I have no answer to that.” She sipped her wine, and studied his profile. She kept seeing two faces, rather than one. It was as if she could not decide what she was seeing, if his chin was more square or pointed, if his cheekbones were just a bit higher than common, and his face a little longer. “But it seems, perhaps, that your grief for both of them might lead you to think of yourself so. But it isn't you fault they died.”
“Unless... the Emperor has derived the answer you are in search of. From Sedrinna... to Jira... and I would be next.” He returned his gaze to her. “If the Imperial guard come for me, Gellayna, would you take Aloysia away from here? And don't let Aydi remain here, either. She could go to family, but... that family is quite isolated. Aloysia needs other children about her... she doesn't even have that here.”
“Kyr?! She has you...”
“And if she doesn't?” He leaned forward, and gently took her hand. “Promise me. Take Aydi and Aloysia to Kurukai. Keep them with you. Away from the places the Emperor would recognize them.”
“The Emperor would recognize your cook?”
She searched his face, trying to understand this. Was it because there was Rextian blood somewhere along the line? Or because the Rextians didn't warrant notice or concern? “Yes, Kyr. I'll take them to Kurukai.”
He sighed, as if some great weight were lifted from his shoulders and squeezed her hand briefly before letting it go. She was deeply unnerved, this did not seem to be the man she dined with. “My inquiry... into your secrets... it could kill you?”
“You couldn't. I can't believe you could. But you also know just how powerful knowledge can be.” He drained his glass, watched the fire again. Just now, right here, it seemed as if she were speaking to a man caught, trapped. But trapped in what?
The wine would only serve to weaken her. What was he after?
“But what you find...what you think... I want you to tell me.”
Her fingers closed about the stem of the wine glass, her nails dug into her palm. “Why? If I'm--”
“Gellayna,” he pulled the wine bottle in front of him again. “I've been wondering, if you can find out what I don't want people to know...t hen who else has already done so?” He poured himself another glass.
“No thank you.” She said, soft.
“Could you... tell me of Kurukai?” he asked.
“Certainly,” she was grateful that the subject changed to something more agreeable. She told him of the shops, of her home. She described the seasons of Kosa Dyvecor, the festivals. She told him of her friends, Ehjin and his wife Shaella, She recounted memories of Ehjin's daughters, some even made Kyr laugh. Gellayna began to wonder what was him, and what was the wine. She had lost count of his glasses somewhere along the way.
“It is different here,” he said. “I can't believe you'd leave a town like that for this.”
“I will do what I must for my people, or what I feel I must.” She fought a yawn then, “May I...?
“Of course,” said Kyr, “Sorry to keep you so late.”
“Yes, tommorow.”
She unwound her legs, stood and slippied from the room.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Little Segway...

I'm going to talk about another blogger and good real-life friend of mine today. since she seems to be avoiding using her "real name" in the virtual sphere I'll call her LTB. LTB and I have known each other for 12 years. She got me into Livejournal when she left our community college for Cal. She cured my boredom when I was working as Student Assistant in a State Agency's Library by sending me recipes to try out at home. Over a year ago now, she and I started our very first blog...a food blog...which I neglect far too much in favor of this one and an otherwise hectic life. When we were playing with names we tossed around "From the Chopping Block to the Frying Pan" and ended up going for "The Saucy Choppers." So LTB went with the nickname: "The chopping block," and is using it for all her blogging efforts. (LTB is very good at funny :P)

So when poking around Facebook, I found a link to her new blog and I had to take a look. "Yarns and Buttons." For craft-lovers, this is a must! :D But she also composed a story starring her Amigurumi, which I must say is brilliant. So please forgive the spelling and grammar errors--this story and visuals are awesome. Pure awesome.

Enjoy! :D

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back-to School Daze Blogfest

I really love the blogfests :D I've been using/writing/re-writing scenes from my WIP Silver Mask and its world for the past several blogfests...so for Roh Morgon's Back to School Daze I'm including a tidbit from Lara's still-developing world :P

Our host has a really cool blog and bio. On her bio she states that she "...found that periodic immersion into other worlds is the key to my coping with this one." Which is a statement I completely identify with :D So check it out! And read some of the other wonderful entries :D

Mine(rough and written this morning so forgive me :P)is this:

Karryna slipped through the wide double doors, following close on the heels of three freshmen girls in pastel plaid tops. Don't be here. Don't be here, Dayton, she thought, and wished she had better control of her own abilities. Maybe then she could turn wish into reality.
The group of girls took a sharp turn into the first corridor, leaving Karryna alone. Exposed. She glanced to her right, her left and then hunched her shoulders, allowing her long dark hair to cover her face. She stalked off down the hall, hugging the left wall. Her locker would be on the left.
There! She opened the locker, just to check that it really was hers and no one else had stashed their stuff inside. Satisfied, she set her backpack at her feet, crouched down to open it and snatch her lock from the front pocket. But when she looked up, she jumped.
“Mierda!” she braced herself against the bottom locker.
“So happy to see me!” Dayton leaned against the lockers next to her, arms crossed.
“Look, she saw nothing. She knows nothing. And I'm out.”
Dayton sighed, a loud, theatrical sound.
Karryna glowered. “What?”
“Ah, Kari, why so harsh?” He pushed away from the locker. “Fine. Serious it is. I didn't tell you the whole story.”
“You told me enough.” Karryna jammed the lock through the locker door.
“Lara needs you, Kari, I promise...”
“She opened a door to...to...” Kari waved her hand, at a loss for words. There had been growls, snarling, screaming, and something calling Lara. “And you made me take credit for that! I thought, originally, she was supposed to believe everything was pranks! She had to remain ignorant of the magical things.”
“She's my cousin,” he blurted. “And she has no family. And because of the ruling of my people, we have to keep her hidden.”
“Something's after her.”
Dayton nodded. “A great many some-things to be precise.”
Karryna didn't know what to say to that, so she stacked her textbooks in her locker. Lara was only fifteen. She had no idea she was a Warden and could open gates to the outer realms, where everything from nightmare and dreams resided. “What did she do?”
“Not her, her parents.”
“Both of 'em? I mean, I know you Warden families like to keep to your clans...but I was under the impression there was a large group of relatives who didn't have the ability...”
“Yeah, well...Lara's case is different. Her parents met on the job. They were from different clans with very different practices...”
“Which she's been trying to figure out. Who her parents are.”
“And you have all the answers.”
“And I can tell her nothing. Do you know how hard that is? Especially with all the emphasis our families place on loyalty to our kind?”
“And you need me.”
“Kari...someone's got to protect her. And I can't.”
“You don't have the ability?”
“No, I do have the ability...but I'm under a binding.”
She set her lock, shut the door and then lifted a much lighter backpack over her shoulder. “You need me to get around the rules.”
“Exactly. She is your friend, right?”
The bell rang. Yes, Karryna thought, she is. As much as I want to pretend this summer didn't happen, it did. “Fine. But right now...first class is history.”
“Thanks, Kari.”
She rolled her eyes.
“See you at lunch!”
“Yeah, then you will tell me what, exactly, her parents did.” Before he could agree, or protest, she stalked off toward her classroom. It felt like she had commanded him. Kari didn't mind. She'd had to tell her only friend in this rotten suburbia that she was a daughter of a sorcerer this summer. She still hadn't decided if she'd betrayed her dad in the confession. As far as she saw it, Dayton with his stupid place-for-a-name owed her. Completely owed her. He could send her chocolates for a year and it still wouldn't make up for the position he'd landed her in.

Friday, September 10, 2010

So September Begins

My Birthday was last Thursday. I turned 27. Yes, still young :P But I'm having the "OMG, I'm almost 30! And 3 years is sooo short!" minor crises. Looking for work daily for the past year with few interviews only worsens this feeling.

So this week, I'm focusing on things to make my life feel more under control.

Which is kind of funny to me, because I used to have it all down. But I guess as I've grown, my personal symbolism has changed. I know, sounds weird, but for me to write I need to be in a positive mindset. So no energy dedicated to that end is ever wasted. To the best of my ability that is :P

It used to be clothing, a new book, and a few hours at a cafe that could get me in the right frame of mind.

Now, I need to reign in the chaos at my house. My home is an outward expression of whatever turmoil I'm experiencing at a given time. So feeling in control now means forcing myself to keep a cleaner home. I'm working on changing a whole lot of patterns...

I'm returning to meal planning with gusto. I'm trying (again) to further limit the waste produced...reusing plastic bags and the like...and be more conscious of using all our food. The more conscious I am about these decisions, the more I feel that I and not some indifferent universe guides my choices.

I know...probably sounds silly...but that is where my energy is going this week. And its slowly working!

I've also outlined 6 short stories. So hopefully I'll have them drafted soon.

I'm also hoping the new attempt to manage time will work better than the last :( (seems there's always some obligation that I forget to count when I draft my schedules, and that one thing takes up more time than expected...shoving those things prioritized 'for me' into a corner).

So here goes! Be back next week :D