Out of Time: The Race

A: Hey, D – Look at what we did!

D: And this is. . . ?

A: Our short story on The Community Storyboard! It’s a deleted scene from my book.

D: Am I in it?

A: Well . . . you’re mentioned.

D: . . .

A: It totally counts, Druid. This Community Storyboard is a great place, D. I’m glad we’re part of it. They even have a Thursday prompt. It’s a lot of fun!

D: I still think I should be mentioned more.

A: (Eye roll) I’m not going to win with you today, am I?

D: Nope.

The sweetest thing

D: Fresh-picked strawberries, still warm from the sun.

A: Pardon?

D: You were going to ask me what I considered to be the sweetest thing, were you not?

A: Uh, no.

D: Oh.

A: Although, that is lovely, and I do agree that sun-warmed ripe strawberries are pretty sweet, this is just as:Cupcake4

D: Whoa.

A: What?

D: I think my teeth just fell out.

A: Dental concerns from the 1300 year-old?

D: Oi, these are all my own teeth!

A: . . .

D: Okay, that one isn’t, but it was knocked out in a particularly nasty confrontation that I’d rather not discuss right now.

A: Um. . . Can we get back to being super sweet?

D: Certainly.

A: Thank you. Now, to the rules:

  1. Thank the Super Sweet Blogger that nominated you.
  2. Answer the five super sweet questions (below).
  3. Include the Super Sweet Blogging Award in your blog post (above).
  4. Nominate a baker’s dozen (13) other bloggers.
  5. Notify your nominees on their blog.

First, D and I want to send out a huge thank you to Jess at Waiting on a Word for nominating us for the Super Sweet Blog Award. I have really been enjoying her posts and she has a sense of humor and turn of phrase that really tickles my funny bone.

The Questions

D: Wait, I get to answer, right? This isn’t going to be all about you again, is it?

A: (Eye roll) You get to answer too, D. . . Don’t clap, D; You’re 1300 years old.

D: All the more reason to clap, A.

Cookies or Cake?

A: Cookies if they’re just gluten free, but cake if it’s the whole-paleo-hog and grain free (coconut flour cookies are just not the same).

D: I have none of these restrictions and would like both, but I’ll settle for cake.

Chocolate or Vanilla?

D&A: Chocolate! At least we can agree on something.

Favorite sweet treat?

A: Dark chocolate salted caramel truffles.

D: See strawberries, above. See A, I knew it.

A: Did your druid-spidey senses tell you that?

D: I know you’re mocking me, and ruining the English language, but I don’t care. Yes.

When do you crave sweets the most:

A: All the time. Usually at 4/5 when I get home from work and I’m faced with the onslaught of child, cats and things needing to be done.

D: Actually never. I’m more of a savory fellow. Plus, the early dark-ages weren’t exactly rife with sweet-treats.

Sweet nickname?

A: Sweetie or sweetheart. My mom also calls me Katemagerk (the spelling is phonetic; I’ve never seen it written out) but I think that’s more odd than sweet.

D: Can I go with sweetie? Please?

A: Really? You didn’t have a Pictish pet-name? Certainly your mother or Mairead had a name for you.

D: I don’t want to talk about that.

A: Can I call you sweetie-pie?

D: No.

A: Stud muffin?

D: A.

A: How about my little Jammie Dodger?

D: Now you’re just being ridiculous.

A: I know. But at least now you’re smiling!

Our nominees. . .

A: We’re actually going to wait until the end of the post for that because . . . (Drum roll, please):wonderful-team-membership-award

D: What is that?

A: A Wonderful Team Member Award. You know – a team, working together? Wait, what am I thinking? I am talking to the lone druid, the dark master of time and fate. You work with no one; you stick to the shadows, manipulate men’s lives and above all, are alone.

D: I think you’re mocking me. Again.

A: (Snerk). Sorry . . . mostly. Okay, okay – you are working with me now, and I do recall a few team efforts in your storyline.

D: Gee, A, how kind of you to remember.

A: Oh, D, cheer up. We were nominated. People appreciate us, and they’re part of our team just as they – and you – are part of mine.  Again, the rules are simple:

  1. The Nominee of the Wonderful Team member Readership Award shall display the logo on his/her blog.
  2. The Nominee shall nominate 14 readers they appreciate over a period of 7 days, all at once or little by little.
  3. The Nominee shall name his/her Wonderful Team Member Readership Award nominees on a post or on posts during 7 days.

The man with some of the most beautiful thoughts I’ve read, Mohamed at Dawn of Thoughts nominated us for this award and we are honored.

D&A: Thank you, Mohamed!

A: Now, this is where I flout the rules—

D: (Surprise, surprise.)

A: As I was saying, thanks to these two awards, I have a total of 27 bloggers to appreciate. I couldn’t decide who should be nominated for each award, so I am nominating all 27 for both/either. Whichever award they want or have yet to receive, they can consider themselves nominated. If they don’t wish to be nominated at all, that’s perfect too, because I really just want the opportunity to list those people who have either made me smile, been utterly charming/honest/raw/beautiful/informative or simply fabulous. Here we go:

  1. Tammy Salyer/Alternative Reality Engineer http://tammysalyer.wordpress.com/about/
  2. Andra/The Accidental Cootchie  http://andrawatkins.com/about-andra-watkins/
  3. Charles/Legends of Windemere http://legendsofwindemere.com/about/
  4. C.N. Faust http://cnfaust.wordpress.com/about-the-author/
  5. Comfortably Numb/Beth http://comfortablynumb7.wordpress.com/about/
  6. Green Embers/Bradley Corbett http://greenembers.wordpress.com/about/
  7. Scott Barr/Human Writes http://coyotero2112.wordpress.com/about-scott-barr/
  8. Ionia/Readful Things Blog http://readfulthingsblog.com/about/
  9. Isabella Stines http://isabellastines.wordpress.com/about/
  10. Jess/Waiting on a Word http://waitingonaword.wordpress.com/about/
  11. John W. Howell/Fiction Favorites http://johnwhowell.com/about/
  12. Julian Froment’s Blog http://julianfroment.wordpress.com/about/
  13. Kira/Wrestling Life http://wrestling-life.com/about/
  14. Jae Dansie/Lit and Scribbles http://litandscribbles.wordpress.com/about/
  15. Liz Blackmore/Little Box of Books – http://littleboxofbooks.wordpress.com/
  16. Michael Bradley – Time Traveler http://mbtimetraveler.com/about/
  17. Mohamed/Dawn of Thoughts http://moossama88.wordpress.com/about/
  18. Mrs Carlie Lee/Diary of a Country Housewife http://mrscarlielee.wordpress.com/about/
  19. Pamela Beckford/Year ‘Round Thanksgiving Project http://pamela984.wordpress.com/about/
  20. Patty/Petite Magique http://petitemagique.wordpress.com/about/
  21. Sreejit Poole/The Seeker’s Dungeon http://theseekersdungeon.com/
  22. Sue Vincent/Daily Echo http://scvincent.com/about/
  23. The Eye-Dancers http://eyedancers.wordpress.com/about/
  24. Charlotte Carrendar/Charlotte’s Web http://charlottecarrendar.com/about/
  25. Chris The Story Reading Ape http://thestoryreadingapeblog.com/about/
  26. Tamara/TIPPR Blog http://tipprblog.com/

And last but certainly not least, the Community Storyboard, which I understand has had its first posts!! Yay – congratulations!

I don’t always have the opportunity to visit your blogs and comment – I’m still learning my way around the blogosphere, and the focus thing is sometimes lacking! But know I have learned something, gained a smile, been fascinated by or simply felt moved by something all of you have written. You’re all sweet, wonderful, charming and kind. I can’t imagine blogging without you.

D: And while A uses that “I” word an awful lot, I’d also like to extend my thanks. I would have no outlet, and no voice if no one visited or gave her an excuse not to be “A” all the time. Cheers.

A: Well said, D.

D: I have my moments.

Bits and bobs

“. . . And you, love, what do you do?”

Maureen stared at Jenny Mallory – Mrs. Mallory to her and Sean – barely comprehending the question.

“What do you mean?” she asked, trying to be polite. It was only ten in the morning, but it has already been a long day.

“I mean lass, what do you do? You brought us Eoghan’s parcel, and for that we’re grateful. It’s just that I can’t see allowing a convent school chit and her young man to become involved in what we’re doing.”

Jenny Mallory was small and pleasantly round. She was Eoghan’s contact in Dublin, and he had assured Maureen that Mrs. Mallory would be amenable to the change in plans. Thinking the only thing pleasant about Mrs. Mallory was her plumpness, Maureen decided Eoghan may yet get himself killed, if only because he was a very poor judge of character. 

“We’re sixteen,” Maureen lied. It was almost true; Sean would be sixteen in only a few days. “We have information, we know–”

“Maureen!” Sean hissed. She closed her mouth and shot him an evil glare. He wasn’t supposed to be hovering; she wouldn’t be able to convince Mrs. Mallory properly if he was listening. . .

D: That’s it, A? That’s all you’re going to write today?

A: Well … I’m writing now.

D: Talking to the character in your head and writing it out doesn’t count, A.

A: Translation counts, D.

D: Don’t make me scold you A. You wouldn’t like me if I scolded you.

A: You assume I like you now. And it does count – my world, my rules, Druid.

D: . . .

A: I’m distracted. It’s Monday. It’s beautiful outside. I have no drive, D.

D: Come on, A, just 400 more words . . . on Part 2. You can do it. You didn’t get up at 4:00 this morning like you promised yourself; do it now and then you can play outside.

A: . . . Fine. I’ll put the blog away. I’ll write. I think I have an idea, anyway. But before I do, can I give a shout-out to a dear lady who had some real inspiration?

D: I’ll allow it.

A: Gee, thanks, D.

The lovely Ionia at the Readful Things Blog has started The Community Storyboard. As she says, whether you are a reader or a writer, the site promises to have what you are looking for. It will ‘showcase poems, short stories and anything else that falls into the category of writing.’ Check it out, submit your work and enjoy – it promises to be a fantastic place. I know I’m very excited.

D: Oi, Miss Fancy-Pants A, what am I, chopped liver?

A: D, just because I’m excited about that doesn’t mean—

D: No A, you should say we’re very excited. Don’t leave me out – I’m excited too!

A: Smoke bombs and storyboards, right D?

D: Yep!

When in Rome

female-writer-sepD: What is this, A? Why am I in a box? Is this your idea of a joke – mad man in a box? I find your Dr. Who references to be very inappropriate. . . . A? A, where are you?

A: It’s just for a moment, D. I need to get something off my chest. I need to explain why I took to the blogosphere to exorcise – I mean celebrate – our wonderful relationship.

D: A? I don’t think I like where this is going, A.

A: Tough, Druid. Buck it up.

D: . . .

A: D is a figment of the imagination. I know this. The only problem: it’s not my imagination.

I gave him a place to play, yes. I’ve encouraged his growth, gave flourish to his ego, and even (gasp) appreciated his finer points and smoothed some of his rough edges. But he is not mine.

D was given to me over 13 years ago. The Irishman who would one day have the distinction of becoming my ex-husband read my book and said, “Sure, it’s great. (Liar.) But I see someone else in it.” He told me about D. He was a blond then, a Celt and a Druid. His eyes were still blue but he was actually far more taciturn and far more forbidding. He couldn’t stay in my head for 13 years and stay that way, though.

Hearing his description of D, I agreed. He had a place in the story and I went about writing it in. It wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t great, and I couldn’t read it without cringing in places. The story didn’t sit well with me, so I went to write another one.

It wasn’t until I was half-way through the outline that I realized that D had a place there, too; it was the tale of his beginning. I knew too that if this was his beginning, then he had his own story to tell, and lucky me, I was the one to tell it.

There was a problem, however: I didn’t like him much.

Worse than that. I couldn’t see him.

I’m a visual person. I watch a movie in my head when I read and I’m fascinated by the visual interpretations of books on screen, even if they are often semi-comic/tragic interpretations.  For me not to be able to see D was a big problem. His story is actually one I enjoy (even if he drives me crazy), and I felt like I let him and the story down.

Then, life got in my way. Not only that, but the world changed.

Facebook, twitter, ebooks – it exploded!

I had a website – 3 actually – back in the Angelfire days. One, as I mentioned in our “award” dialogue, was connected to NBC for a brief time. I chatted with Irish, Scots and Basque Nationalists and will never look at the Blue Bunny the same way again.

There are many similarities between that world and our own, but when you’ve been gone – working, raising a child, paying too much attention to the mundane details of life – getting back in the game is daunting.

But I knew I had to do it. I now work at a magazine publishing house. I know how this goes. I know I need to make myself marketable. But I’ve struggled with how. For over a year I’ve been exploring my own brain (scary place) and wondering just how to market myself when asking an avid train enthusiast to buy the latest “Railroad Maps” special issue makes me cringe.

How can I do that when the foundation for my books ticks me off and remains elusive?

So, ten years passed without a word written. Rather, I wrote, but on conservation subdivisions, water gardens and the economics of land conservation. I blocked D off. I ignored him. Friends called, said they were dreaming about D, and could I please write something, maybe?

I tried. I had inspiration. I blocked out the new outlines for a revised Book 1 & 2 that made sense, outlines that seemed right.

But I couldn’t write them.

I didn’t understand, but I knew that one day, I would. I let the frustration go, and just let it be.

Then, it was TC’s birthday. We celebrated his birthday and the world not ending by going to a movie. It was lovely; I still listen to the soundtrack. Every day. My nearly-teen son teases me. I still listen.

This is not D, but TC and I still had fun shooting the pictures anyway!

This is not D, but TC and I still had fun shooting the pictures anyway!

After the movie, I had my celebratory glass of wine (or rather my I-survived-20-hrs-of-labor-and-100-extra-pounds glass of wine). I started thinking about D and the story (because not a day went by in 10 years that I didn’t think about D and the story), and the movie.

And there he was.

In all his glory. It slapped me across the face, gave me goose bumps and made me pay attention.  He had a face. He had a voice. He had a presence that I could see and understand. He was mine. He had marinated in the morass that is my mind long enough, and he was mine.

And so I wrote. I wrote and I blew through the 3-chapter barrier. As we neared the end of part 1, re-writing the entire thing as we went, I realized that the camaraderie I had built with D was something ‘else.’

It might even be something others might enjoy.

Something marketable.

Something that wasn’t me exactly, but was the story, was D, and was faintly entertaining in its own right.

So I blogged. And amazingly, I loved it! I still think Twitter may be Dante’s 8th circle, but it’s kind of fun. I even think I could have another blog (more on that later. . . I might also be crazy!).

My trouble is staying on task, focusing. I need to maintain a healthy disregard for D, otherwise these posts may become a bit of a love-fest, and that’s no fun! I also need to write Part 2, which is hard because I’m not a rabid nationalist anymore. I’ve switched sides, become Sean and I think I might have to OD on Braveheart in order to do Maureen’s idealism justice. The rest of the story is lovely and it’s spinning itself together in a way I had never before considered. I can’t wait to get there.

And then there is D. We do chat. He has a nice baritone, so conversing is lovely. It’s not that I dislike him anymore – I have a very healthy respect for him – but honestly, try living with an overbearing Scot with an ego as big as he is old. Respect, entertainment – it all goes flying out the window eventually.

This is why I’m in Rome. This is bigger – so much bigger – than I had anticipated. But I want to do it. I want to tell the tale and I want to be marketable. D is my brand. Having the support of like-minded people is incredible. And I am so thankful to be a part of the Rome Construction Crew.

D: So, if I’m your brand, does that mean you’re going to stop talking soon?

A: Yes, D – get ready to shine!

Living in interesting times

Interesting Blog Award

Interesting Blog Award

D: Confucius never said that.

A: Um . . . what?

D: That {pointing}. Your title – it’s not Chinese. It’s not old. And Confucius had nothing to do with it.

A: I didn’t—

D: In fact, he didn’t say half the malarkey you all like to heap on his head.

A: D? Calm down, D. First, malarkey?

D: You get flibbertigibbet, I get malarkey.

A: Oh, D, you do tempt me with tangents and random obscurities.

D: That’s not–

A: I know, D. We made up the curse – some ambassador thought it sounded neat and attributed it to an ancient Chinese philosopher. I know. And I get it: you and Confucius were buds way back when in your time-travelling days, and you take exception to the malarkey. But D, this has nothing to do with whether or not the curse was real or if Confucius said it.

D: It doesn’t?

A: Nope, it has to do with me.

D: You? (Snicker)

A: Don’t laugh too hard, D. To be honest, it’s related to this blog, which we technically share. We were nominated for an award.

D: I think I’m going to refrain from my normal diatribe on the lengths to which your society goes to make itself feel good.

A: Thank you, D. It is a first-world problem, and I’m happy to have it.

D: (Grumble, grumble) So, the award . . .

A: It’s called the Interesting Blog Award. I was nominated by the very lovely Kira at Writing Snapshots  and Wrestling Life. The rules are simple: First, thank the person who nominated you.

D&A: Thank you Kira!!

A: Then, list five random facts about yourself, nominate five other blogs, answer five questions and ask five questions of our own to our nominees.

D: Who gets to answer the questions and the random facts?

A: I think we both can.

D: All right, but then who gets to ask the questions?

A: (Eye roll) We’ll split them – I’ll even let you ask the most, if you promise to keep them fairly straightforward.

D: Are you insinuating—

A: I think we’ll begin. First, our random facts:

A: I gave up Diet Coke for my 32nd birthday, and we think the stock went down because of it.

D: My name means “Black Eyes” even though they’re actually bright blue.

A: The finale of MI-5 made me cry. Fictional British spies made me sob for nearly 5 minutes. I fear for my sanity.

D: (Now she fears for her sanity?!): I was born in 670 AD in what is now the area around Inverness.

A: My son has classier tastes in literature than I do. He loves Shakespeare and has a pet name for Charles Dickens (it’s “Chickens” by the way, and it makes me giggle every single time).

D: I have several tattoos. My favorite is the stylized snake that wraps around my sword arm, but I’m also fond of the raven on the left side of my face. It was never completed because I disappeared into a sidhe mound in Ireland during my training there. When I returned, there was no one to complete it – all those who remembered me had died a generation earlier.

A: I didn’t realize that Han Solo and Indiana Jones were the same man until I was 5. And I was in love with them both.

D: I had only one love of my life, but I lost her when I left to fight a war.

A: Before this foray into the interwebs, I had a website (waaaay back when) called “Letters to Conan O’Brien.” Instead of a restraining order, NBC sent me a contract that made me promise I wouldn’t put up nude pictures, and linked it to the old old old Conan/NBC site in the fan pages section. The site died when I moved to Ireland, but I live in hope that it’s floating around somewehere in the electronic ether.

D: I fought beside fabled kings, warriors and tacticians, including Cu Chulainn, Fionn mac Cumhaill, Brian Boru, William Wallace, and Arthur.

A: Our nominees (They are all awesome people – go visit!):

  1. The Accidental Cootchie Mama http://andrawatkins.com/about-andra-watkins/
  2. Readful Things Blog http://readfulthingsblog.com/about/
  3. The Baggage Handler http://thebaggagehandler.me/about/
  4. The Eye-Dancers http://eyedancers.wordpress.com/about/
  5. Written Words Never Die http://ericalagan.net/ericalagan/

A: Now for our answers:

What’s your all-time favorite movie?

A: I have five – Gone with the Wind, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Wizard of Oz and Braveheart. . . there are more but those are the ones I’ll watch indefinitely.

D: I’ll go with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir. Granted, it was also the last film I saw in person.

Who is your favorite author?

A: Depends on the genre, the day, my mood . . . today I’ll pick Frank Herbert, particularly the Pandora Sequence.

D: I always found the Venerable Bede to be amusing.

A: D, you do realize that Bede wasn’t trying to be funny, right?

D: Yes, A – and that’s why I laugh.

Who is your favorite character (can be from a book, movie, or tv)

A: Right now, Tuppence and Tommy Beresford (both the TV and book versions). They are so charming – I love them.

D: I’m tempted to say myself, but that may appear self-serving. I do rather enjoy William Wallace, however. Book, movie or real life, he had such a good way of rousing the troops. He was really quite useful…

A: D… enough.

White Chocolate or Dark Chocolate?

A: Dark! The darker the better!

D: I was always fond of the cocoa bean; I prefer it as prepared by the Aztec mystics, but dark chocolate is quite satisfactory.

If you could do one thing without any repercussions, what would it be?

A: I try to live life pretty close to my desires, but I can’t eat gluten, so. . . eating a Pizza Hut pizza, deep dish (I dream about this some nights – so sad) and second (one is just so hard!), taking the curb during a traffic jam and just leaving all the cars behind.

D: She’s crazy. I can’t compete with that.

A: Finally, our questions:

D: What is your favorite moment in history?

A: If you could eat one food item for the rest of your days, what would it be?

D: What is your fondest childhood memory?

A: If a mad man in a box whisked you away and said you could go anywhere and anytime in the universe, what would you choose?

D: If training, ability and money were not an issue, what would you like to be when you grow up?

A: And we’re done! Many thanks again to Kira for nominating The D/A Dialogues. It’s a giddy moment for us.

D: It looks like I rather overreacted at the beginning of this. It certainly did not go where I expected it to.

A: Well, D, you certainly made it interesting.

D: Nice.