Oh hell...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Well, as per the norm, life has gotten in the way!  I do really want to start the whole '7 Days in The South' challenge, but first I have to get some coursework and 'real job' work done.  I am officially off for the holidays, but that really doesn't mean much.  I need to write some training materials for work and complete one assignment for each of the 4 courses I am taking.  The good news is that 3 of those courses are finished after I submit the assignments.  The bad new is I haven't even started on them.  I really should've started weeks ago.  Well, there isn't much I can do about that now.

One of the assignments is for a 'Writing Fiction' course.  The course has helped me, but this last assignment really is my worst nightmare.  Let's start at the beginning.  I was looking for short, Level 1 courses to fill the points I need for my degree.  I came across 'Writing Fiction' and thought 'Wow! An excuse to write even though I have so many other commitments on my time!'.  So before I signed up, I lurked on the FaceBook group.  There were supposed to be 2 assignments.  It seemed as though they had been the same year after year.  The first one demanded that I write in a child's voice-- that one I dreaded.  The second required either a short story or an excerpt from a longer piece.  This seemed like a golden opportunity to get some feedback on BTW.  And so I signed up.

The assignments have changed this year.  The first I enjoyed and scored highly on.  The second is now the dreaded.  I have to write a short story.  1500 words.  No excerpt accepted these days.  Oh hell. 

I haven't written a short since high school.  I just can't plot in so little space.  But I guess I'm going to have to learn.  And write the required story before the end of January.  Oh, and it has to use one of several given subjects.  So now I off I go to learn to write the perfect short story.  Who knows, maybe I'll turn the '7 Days' challenge into shorts instead of snippets.  But let's not get ahead of ourselves here...

Let's try to get back on track.

Friday, 10 December 2010

For some reason, I can't seem to update my blog on my computer. Which is a pain for two reasons.

First, I wanted to include a picture of Zoe as well as an update. But I guess the picture will have to wait. Zoe is home on three medications and hopefully we will see an improvement in her after the weekend. If she does improve there's no need to make "the big decision". I'm so relieved.

Second, I can't stand to type on this tiny screen for extended periods of time-- even with the fold-up keyboard. So, unless the computer decides to get it's act together I won't post much today. In all honesty, I haven't written the first piece yet (although I have decided on more than 7 'topics'). I'll get right on that...

I can't really focus today...

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

I planned on starting my '7 Days in the South' challenge today, but it's been a pretty bad day. 

This morning I had to take my beloved cat, Zoe, to the vet.  I've had Zoe since she was just a little fluff ball about 5 weeks old.  I brought her with me to the UK.  It cost me a fortune to keep her out of quarantine, but I didn't care.  Zoe is my little princess.

Zoe is still at the vet's.  The vet said that it looks like her thyroid.  This should be treatable with meds, but it seems that as a side effect, Zoe has liver and kidney damage.  The vet told me before I left that I needed to be ready to make a big decision in the morning.  I'm not ready.  I miss my baby kitty.  I just want to bring her home tomorrow.  I think I may need to start the challenge on Thursday instead.

I'm sensing a pattern here.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Well, I've missed another day, hmm. Thing is I can't remember what I was doing last night. Oh well, here I am tonight.

I'm writing this from my iPhone in bed instead of my computer so I don't have any passages off hand to post. I have an idea, though.

I'm homesick, there's no denying that. And everyday my Southern home shows more and more in my voice-- both in my writing voice and in my speaking voice. In fact, my husband keeps asking if I've been talking to my mother in North Carolina even when I haven't.

And so, the writing challenge I'm setting for myself is one that will hopefully take advantage of my Southern voice. I'm going to dedicate 7 days to this challenge. I'd like to say I could do 7 days in a row, but let's be honest.

So, I will call this challenge '7 Days in the South'. The idea is to write a new piece-- ideally for one of my BTW or AP (another WIP I haven't really started in on yet)-- each day using one thing I miss about home.

Now don't get me wrong, I miss my family most of all, but that's not what this is about. This is about the strange, sad, things that make me cry for home. The things that should just be ordinary, but aren't for some reason. Some reason that I can't quite explain. Now I just have to narrow it down to 7 things....

Here I am again.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Well, I missed a day.  It figures.  I've always been crap at keeping a journal. 

I've done a little looking and it seems I need to add a copyright to anything and everything I write here to protect it.  I really want to add a bit of my work here.  Both so I can get feedback and hopefully find a reader or two. 

I still want to do a bit of research before posting much, but I wanted to share a piece from a project I'm working on.  I've started a collection of my favourite lines that I've written.  The idea is to print them up pretty and post them around my study for inspiration.

Here's one of my favorite passages from BTW:

'Carter watched as the sun shifted across the sky preparing to set. Soon it would be time to go inside and get ready for bed. She knew that as soon as the lights went out, boys would climb through the windows of Catherine Hall and tiptoe into rooms. Girls would try to breathe softly and muffle cries of pain and ecstasy alike as they broke the rules of dorm life and morality. The halls would grow damp with musk and humidity seeping under doors of rooms where candles, hearts, and bodies burned.

In the nights to come girls would live with the consequences of their actions. Some would gather in the community bathroom to giggle and recount in detail the joys of love found. Some would starve themselves in the dining hall at dinner and cry into their pillows late at night for love lost. Some would pull the sheets up around their necks and shiver with the fever of love denied that the school nurse will misdiagnose as a summer cold.

As the end of summer drew nearer, the scent of roses both wilted in vases and growing on the trellis vines would smother the residents of Catherine Hall. Those girls with even the slightest allergies would fall ill, popping Sudafed, and refusing to leave their rooms for at least three days. As the heat of the season subsided, so will the love affairs that blazed on muggy nights in the light of the moon.

Carter would not invite anyone into her bed this or any other night. She would toss and turn in sheets damp with sweat and anguish. She would dream of strong arms to encircle her and hands soiled with earth. Carter would dream of Matt from the coffeehouse and the boys in her classes would never again measure up.'

Copyright 2010 Christy Kate McKenzie


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I guess, I'll start this off properly by telling you a little bit about myself...

I’ve always been a writer. Of course, I have yet to make any money of it (I work in the operating room for that), but I still consider myself a writer.  I wrote my first book-- a horror, of all things-- in primary school. By high school I was writing poetry, short stories, plays, and romance. These days I write romance and mainstream fiction (mostly magical realism), usually with many WIP’s going at once.   Damn ADHD!

I have begun to take my writing more seriously in the past year with a view of being published. My goal is to have at least one romance and one mainstream novel published before I turn forty.  To this end, I plan to finish my favorite WIP (a mainstream, I'll just call BTW for now) and the 2 romances which are showing the most promise (we'll call them FM and WS) before I turn 36.  It doesn't seem like a lot to do in just under a year, but trust me it is. 

You see, I have too many commitments on my time and I'm still trying to think of a way to get rid of the one which eats up most of my time and brings me the most grief.  Secretly, I long to spend every night at home.  Reading to my son, tucking him into bed, then knitting or crocheting or writing or whatever.  I think it's about time I make myself happy, God knows I've spent the last 3 years trying to make everyone else happy.  I think it's my turn.

But enough about that.

Right this second I am sat on a couch in the North West of England freezing my assets off (heat not working, can't get in touch with boiler guy).  The snow is still falling outside and as much as I've always loved snow, right now I wish I was back home where my mom is bragging that it's still in the 70's.  It's around 20 here.  I am originally from Virginia, but lived in North Carolina for many years, so no matter how long I stay in the UK, I'll always be a Southern girl at heart.  Because of this. I tend to write mostly magical realism with a bit of Southern charm.  Maybe later, once I've researched how to protect my work on here, I'll post a little excerpt.

Maybe I should get back to writing...

Guess I should write something, huh?

Well, I have to warn you now, I'm kind of crap at blogging.  Mainly because I never seem to have time to write a new post.  I'm gonna have a go at it though.  I'd really love to use this as my 'writer's journal', but first I need to check on copyrights and such.  As much as I'd like to post bits from my WIPs and get a bit of feedback, I don't want to lose anything either.  I'll check around and I promise to try to stay on top of this.  We'll see...

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