Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Sharing is Caring

 I feel like I do not get to share much of my work with anyone these days because I am so busy creating it! So I am taking some pieces from old drafts that will likely never make it to print and putting them here so they can at least create pictures in someone else's mind besides my own.

Today I am sharing a piece from attempt number two of my current work in progress (which is now in the third and final attempt to tell this damn story so I can move on with my life). ((Just kidding, I am enjoying the project and am working really hard to make it enjoyable for others too.)) (((But seriously, I would like to finish before the collapse of the USA.)))

Anyways...this piece is about one of my favorite characters. She has mysterious origins and only appears within the timeline of the story as a very old woman. Here is a glimpse of her childhood...

Helgi watched carefully as the moths flew in and out of the hive. They flapped and danced and zipped around, going out to collect nectar and pollen and coming back with pockets full of treasure for their queen. She waited for the right moment to push the suction comb into the bottom of the hive to extract the processed nectar called apina. The elders taught her how to extract it without getting a single sting. She hummed softly, raising and lowering her tone to match the coming and going of the moths. The comb had seventeen spikes on it that were hollow like straws and a carefully trained person could get a full jug from just one hive. She mindfully aimed the tips and pushed through the soft wax until she felt the cavity she was looking for. With her lips around the pointed end of the comb she pulled a gentle suction, stopping when the sweet liquid met her tongue. Quickly she placed the jug underneath and watched as the dark liquid poured in tiny swirls.

     Helgi wondered what ritual the elders would use this jug for. They only visited this hive for special times. It hung in a great tangle of thick, thorned bush that was taller than a man and wider than a house. They called this one the house of the spirits and told her the plant had great power. Helgi wasn’t sure she believed them. They were probably playing tricks on her and just never came here because it was uncomfortable to crawl through the tunnel of low branches to get to the center. They must have picked her because she was still small enough to get through. While she waited for the apina to stop dripping she licked a small scratch on her arm where a thorn had ripped her sleeve. She would have to mend that now.

     The elders found Helgi when she was just days old. Someone had abandoned her at the home of the Vessel halfway through the season of birth. She was an orphan, a truly rare occurrence. Most children had three parents, the likelihood of becoming orphaned was practically zero. But for some reason, that’s what she was. The Vessel said she was special and would one day be like him, she would be a Vessel, too. But she didn’t feel special and she was too full of anger to be full of light. She didn’t believe him.

     The dripping stopped and Helgi gently coaxed the comb out of the hive. She placed her shawl over the jug with the comb inside and started to crawl one handed out of the house of the spirits. Helgi felt a sudden pain in her palm and looked down to see a sharp, glassy stone. It was a deep red brown color like the apina and no bigger than her fingernail. When she turned it from side to side, it let out a faint glow. She put the stone in her belt sack and continued on her way home.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Non-Fiction Endeavors

I have been thinking about this over the past few months, and I think that perhaps working full time up to ten hour in the day, virtual/homeschooling a kid with special needs at night, and writing a fiction novel are not enough to keep me busy.

In fact, I have a number of side projects just gathering dust and I have come to the conclusion, that like forgotten cups of tea, these lost works can release bad energy into the world if left too long. Or maybe it is just that I can regain the good energy if I complete them...either way, I have a plan.

*Side note:  If you do not know me personally, please read the above information with humor in mind. I am not insane. The same goes for my About the Author page. My imagination is crazy, not my mind. For what comes below, I am serious.

I have been studying about the use of herbal remedies and wildcrafting for nearly as long as I have been studying yoga. While I do not have any formal education in this area, I have done a bit of self-study. Technically I do not have formal education in writing either, but here I am.

I think that when you choose to be your best self and help your body reach its full potential, that you look for natural ways to promote your own health. I am not saying allopathic medicine should be replaced by elderberry tincture, but I am saying that plants have properties that are useful to our bodies and can help us live healthier lives. I have often said that food is my medicine. What we put in our bodies is known to have an impact on us, whether it is as simple as getting energy from carbs, minerals from plants, or inflammation from sugar.

Some of the books too important to go into storage
during our transition to a new house.

For a number of years, I attended workshops, including the annual Herbal Workshop at the Ozark Folk Center in Arkansas. I greatly miss this hands-on experience and the face-to-face time with authors like Susan Belsinger and herbalist Tina Marie Wilcox. These two women are some of my heroes. They have been working together for decades to share their knowledge with others. 

One of the best experiences I had was being a member of a local community supported herbalism group. We met together each week and harvested, processed, and created. I learned so much about creating teas, tinctures, and body products in a welcoming atmosphere full of incredible people. I miss this community immensely and hope to one day create one where I live now.

For now, I would like to share what I have learned on my blog. I think this will be a good exercise for me to practice my nonfiction writing, and it will give me a place to keep my research. Eventually one day I might put it all together in a book. You get to benefit from my research too!

My goal is to share something I have learned about a specific herb that I have chosen to study each month. I would also like to dive into herbal lore and if I cannot find any, then I want to write it! This sounds like a good adventure to me. I hope you join me!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

September - IWSG

 If you could choose one author, living or dead, to be your beta partner, who would it be and why?

Happy September Everyone!
As always, the first Wednesday of every month is Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop. We all get together, answer questions about writing, talk about our struggles and triumphs, then visit each other and show our support. If you are a reader visiting for the first time, feel free to click on the IWSG badge above and follow the link to a group of blogs you can explore.

I have put a lot of thought into this. I went through the list of big names that I love. Ursula K Le Guin and Frank Herbert are obviously some of my top inspirations, but when it comes to beta partners, I feel like my world-building is already somewhat strong and I would need someone to complement me, and fill in the parts I'm not so good at. I also love to read the action from S M Stirling and Terry Brooks. I could definitely use help to create the action that would hook my readers. But if I had to pick just one, I think that I would like to work with Neil Gaiman. 

I can't say that I know much about him, but I can say that I have enjoyed everything I have read with his name on it. Stardust is one of my all time favorite stories, and definitely my #1 favorite movie. I own an illustrated copy of his book that inspired the film. I also have a copy of his Norse Mythology book, and have thoroughly enjoyed the Good Omens (film) series, although I never got the chance to read them! Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' Stardust eBook: GAIMAN, NEIL,  VESS,CHARLES: Kindle Store

I think that over action, the thing that I would love to develop more is the humor and Gaiman would help with this for sure. The stories he creates and retells are perfectly planned out to have fantastic worlds and characters, and then there is the pure laughter that ensues at just the right moments to break tension and keep the story moving. His action would probably work better with my style as well. It flows smoothly and doesn't rely on battle scenes.

I really should pick up more books by him. Maybe I will get some more good inspiration!