The Current Is Everything

I invite you to watch the following video made by Sandy B. Jensen in response to the series of questions circling around some writer blogs. This video focuses on the question “what are you currently working on?”

 

 

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Farewell 2013

“We are an ancient sort of resilient. Made for the falling and the rising. Made for the burning down and rebuilding from ashes.” Jeanette LeBlanc

In some ways, 2013 was better to me than I deserved. For one thing, I did, indeed, adjust.

Last time we spoke, I had just dived head first into a new job. Though, to call it a job seems almost sacrilegious. I train Dolphins. For real! It’s a ‘happy accident’ turned dream come true. Heck, not only do I train dolphins, but I have the absolute honor and privilege to train and work with a baby dolphin on a daily basis. Something not a lot of rookie trainers get to do.

You guys remember Sands? If not, that’s fine. I could talk about him for hours. My little munchkin will be two this month! Cue dreamy sigh.

Erm, but that’s not what we’re here for. (At least, not today…)

Although I am in a much better place financially now than I have ever been, and my body is feeling healthier not just from the daily (exquisite) grind of swimming and toting around equipment that comes with my amazing job, but also a new hobby I’m having way too much fun with (flag football, who’d’ve thought?).

…There’s just been something missing. A lack in my lustre.

Oh, right.

Writing.

2013 was a year of withdrawal from my creativity. Even now, on the dawn of a new year, I’m trying to look on it as a necessary step I had to take. This is my first attempt at practicing self-compassion, another one of my goals for this year. 2012 hit me square between the eyes, sucker punched me in the gut and left me with so many exist wounds I thought I’d bleed out. Still reeling from my losses (I still have a hard time not seeing them as failures, but my God do I have to try), I carried them over into ’13.

I was hurt. Deeply hurt. So naturally, writing hurt. Because you can’t cheat The Overflow. At least, I can’t. I was afraid to even feel, so the very last thing I wanted to do was write. Not when I would be forced to confront said feelings. Because you can’t write and not confront, it just doesn’t work that way, and I was terrified to spill everything out in black and white where it couldn’t be disputed.

So I did something I learned not to do a very long time ago, but apparently had to relearn. I bottled.

I’m trying not to look at it as a mistake. Because in spite of this self-abuse, I learned a lot about myself this year. Not all of it pretty. One very important lesson being that bottling everything up, isolating and throwing myself into work, while not lacking in a certain nobility (and nobility is cat nip to a woman like me, it feeds into my “good little soldier” complex, which I’m trying to rework if not abandon completely), will only burn me out and dry my well up.

We all need water, myself especially.

In forcing myself not to, in allowing myself to suffer the withdrawal symptoms, I learned that I really do need to write. To create. It’s not just something I can pay around with anymore. It’s a goddamn survival strategy. Something I do even when I don’t realize I’m doing it. But not committing to it, not engraving it on paper or digital media, that’s where the burn out occurs. That’s where I smoke to cinders. That’s when the Overflow turns into a desolate drought.

And who can blame her, my muse? It’s like I betrayed her.

But I know what it means to burn on the inside now, to be left parched and smoking and frayed at the edges and I can no longer be content with it.

So I’ll rise from the ashes, fill my well one step at a time, confront my void, until The Overflow returns, brimming with pride.

Farewell 2013, thank you for all the lessons. You were an excellent teacher and I’ve learned so much, but it’s time to let go. I’m done with you now.

Hello 2014, you’re going to help me create myself. To embrace the creator in me. It’s time for rebellion. I was made for this. Let me show you.

Interview with J.R. Pearse Nelson

Flight by J.R. Pearse Nelson

J.R. Pearse Nelson is a fantasy and paranormal romance author. Her work is fast-paced, adventurous, and sometimes dark.

J.R. is a native Oregonian, residing in the beautiful Portland area. She lives with her husband, two small daughters and the family dog. J.R. is always searching for the magic in our world. She weaves tales rooted in mythology, bringing legend to life in modern-day and fantasy settings. J.R. is the author of the Children of the Sidhe paranormal romance series, and Queen Witch, the first installment of the Foulweather Twins series.

You can connect with J.R. online at her blog. Visit http://www.jrpearsenelson.com.

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1. You write both Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. Do you have other genres you hope to explore? Or even experiment with ‘cross-genre’ing?

Thank you kindly for the invitation to your blog today, SJ!

In answer, I don’t think I can help but cross genres. My paranormal romance series has an overarching fantasy plot, and my new adult fantasy series incorporates mythological and urban fantasy elements. I have a steampunk story I’ll write eventually. I also have a fairytale in the works (or it might end up being two). I’ll probably have sci-fi elements in some work down the road, but magic will be right there, too. Magic is the thread that ties it all together for me.

2. Is there a genre you absolutely couldn’t see yourself writing in?

Crime fiction. I would never want to spend my time researching crimes and cop procedure and plotting how to murder off my characters….okay, I do a little of that.

3. How long have you been writing for? What was one of the first stories you wrote (or attempted to write)?

I’ve written since I was a child, but I was never able to stick with a story long enough to finish it. I started writing my first novel in 2004, when I was 24. I worked on it until 2007, but not with the regularity needed to be successful. I’m still quite attached to the story, but I entirely messed up that book! And the next novel I tried! I committed to regular writing as a vocation in 2008. So far I’ve had the most success with the novella length. We each have our own ways.

4. Did you always have being published in mind? When did you decide to go Indie as opposed to the more traditional route?

I’ve always dreamed of sharing stories with the world. I paid attention to developments in publishing from the time I started writing that first novel in 2004. At first the plan was to query agents. However, by the time I had a book finished, the landscape had entirely changed, with a revolution on the horizon. Also, the first book I finished was a novella, the first in my Children of the Sidhe series. I loved the book, but from everything I read no publisher was going to be interested in it because of its length and quirks – it’s about the daughter of an Irish love deity, living in modern-day Portland when she’s drawn into a conflict with the ancient enemy of her father’s people. The first part in a series of novellas with contained romance plots and an overarching story of war. To put it simply, I think indie was made for authors like me. I write well, but I choose odd topics, twisty plots, and experiment with genre, length and structures within series. Traditional publishers don’t know what to do with an author like me. I love my freedom to experiment – it’s part of what makes writing so fun.

5. Who inspires you?

Great question! I wish you’d narrowed it a little, ‘cause gosh…In general, the really smart people who are making strides to change our world for the better every day, especially scientists and some philanthropists. That work takes strength, ingenuity, and a positive outlook – I find people like that inspiring. Writer-wise, Ursula Le Guin (fellow Portlander and AMAZING sci-fi writer. AMAZING.) Octavia Butler, another sci-fi writer whose books always blew my mind, and who, sadly, has passed from this earth. I also must mention my extreme fangirl status when it comes to Joss Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly – he’s even made comics cool for me). Music-wise, I love a powerful songwriter. I adore Neko Case, Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, P!nK, and recently I’ve been very inspired by Macklemore, both by his artistry and his story of persistence and eventual success.

6. What’s your “process” like? Are you a pantster or plotter or a bit of both?

I’m definitely in the plotter camp. I think I’ve mentioned my twisty plots? I need to plot or I won’t keep it all straight. It also cuts WAY down on revision, for me at least, and revision is the most painful step of creating a book. I also love the act of plotting. I like to make drawings and maps (rudimentary, and only for my eyes. Ha!). I like to brainstorm and then keep a folder of all those notes. However, once I’ve done all that plotting, my characters sometimes take over and the unexpected happens. That’s magical, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If I get far off my outline, I take time to revise my outline, and then get back to writing.

7.  Do you pursue other creative endeavors besides writing?

I do lots of arts and crafts with my little girls (ages 2 and 4). I incorporate creativity in the kitchen, as good food makes my soul sing. Crafting story is definitely my chosen art.

8. Do you have favorite words? Most of mine tend to be censored on Television and the others make me question my sanity.

I don’t know about favorites, but I do engage in silly-speak to a high degree. I can’t seem to be serious for long. My poor kids think “cuddly-wiggins” and “ootsi-tootsi” are real words. But hey, we have a lot of fun.

9. If you were to write an autobiography, what would the title be?

Making Worlds from Words

(By the way, the toughest interview question ever. J)

10. What would be your ultimate writing environment? Mine would be a laptop that never lags, ever, and has all of my music readily available, a view of the ocean, art supplies, a bottle of Sprite, and a chocolate fountain or two. Just sayin’…

Love yours!

Mine would be a turret overlooking some Oregon forest, with an expansive desk and huge windows. I’d have an overstuffed chair and ottoman for when I wanted to sink into a book, or edit away from my desk. A wall of bookshelves housing all of my favorites and my many reference books on all things ritual, magical, mythological, historical. A big dog or two would be lying around, waiting for a walking mood to strike. Right now I have a spare bedroom as an office, but it has the reference books, a view of my roses and the sky and trees, and my Labrador. So I’m pretty content. J

11. Do you have a muse? Do you even believe in Muses and if so, what do you believe about them?

I mention muses sometimes because I think it helps people who aren’t writing understand that there is a magic that happens where it feels the words aren’t coming from you. There are also those stunning moments of insight you can’t quite own up to responsibility for. A muse would make these things easier to understand. But in truth, my brain is wired to look for connections, and once you learn to open the floodgates, you don’t have to focus on each word or each idea, you just have to channel them. In fact, intense focus and critical thought can hurt the creative process. More than muses, I do believe in the idea of the “one mind,” that once an idea is out there in the world around you, your subconscious can pluck it up, run with it, hybridize it, whatever…but once it’s out there, an idea is free.

12. Flight, available on Amazon June 26th, 2013, is the third Children of the Sidhe Novella. How many more books do you have planned for this series?

Descent, the fourth book, will be out in September, and the fifth and final book, Shield, will follow in January.

13. Do you have a WIP on the backburner or any ideas for future books you wouldn’t mind sharing?

I don’t mind sharing at all! At my current pace, I have about ten years worth of ideas, so I’ll stick with what’s coming up the soonest after my current series – a fairytale! My major decision is whether it will be one fairytale or two…or whether to stick with the world even more and write some shorts there that tie in with the novels. I wish I could get to all of my ideas faster, but I can’t write them all at once. Lol. I love all of these stories, and can’t wait to share them.

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Flight

Nathan Jeffries doesn’t entirely understand his affinity for hawks, until he finds he can shift into one. Fae blood is to blame for his good looks and luck with the ladies – but now that luck has turned. Nathan is on an Otherworld assassin’s hit list, and the only person stepping forward to help him just may be playing for the other side in the Sidhe Blood Wars.

Tessa Anndrais isn’t sure where she stands. When Abarta – the assassin – threatens to reveal a family secret, she’s determined to protect her own. She’s never approved of thinning Sidhe blood by mixing with humans. Yet she finds herself watching Nathan, the half-human son of the Lord of the Skies, with enough approval to keep her warm all through the night.

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You can purchase Flight at Amazon.

I’d like to thank the academy…

S. Winchester has very kindly nominated Raining Ink for The Liebster Award. Because she is a sweetheart and too precious for this world.

Eleven facts about me:

1. My family used to be the care takers of Darby Island when I was little. My sister and I apparently once sat on Gloria Estefan‘s knee during her stay there. I remember exactly none of this.

2. I never have and probably never will go to college.

3. In 2010, I left Nassau, Bahamas to enlist in the British Army. Never made it through the testing phase thanks to lack of preparation on my part, an injured knee, bad weather conditions and dwindling funds. It’s still the best adventure I’ve ever had.

4. Despite #2, I now have an amazing job as a Dolphin Trainer and am currently writing two novel series.

5. I am one of the only “rookies” to be put on a baby dolphin’s team. His name is Sands. He’s 20 months old and far too adorable for his own good. LRS-ing (‘Least Reinforcement Stimulus’, think of it like a 3 second time out) him is one of the hardest parts of my day. While I think our relationship is solid, we both have a long way to go and we’ll have to learn from each other.

6. I draw… sometimes.

7. I love cooking and baking, though I’ve done far too little of either as of late.

8. I binge on other people’s words. To the point where I sometimes fear I have nothing of my own to say.

9. My current TV obsessions are Supernatural, BBC Sherlock (I’d like to get into Elementary some time…) Hannibal, Strike Back, Luther, and Game of Thrones. But I also watch stuff like Chopped, Wipe Out, How I Met Your Mother, and Dish Nation.

10. Astrology, Cultures and Languages are fascinations of mine.

11.  I lose all coherent speech where cats are involved.

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S. Winchester’s Questions:

 What book do you wish you wrote?                     

Cheating (because it’s not a book) but, Sucker Punch.

If you could trade places with any side character, who would it be?

That would be a terrible idea. All of the side characters I love die.

Assuming you’ve read LOTR and Harry Potter, what item has more power? The Elder Wand or The One Ring?

Gonna go on a limb and say the one ring.

Where’s your favorite place to be?

By the sea.

Coffee or Tea?

Neither. It’s strictly cocoa for me.

Which character’s journey touched you the most as a reader?

Daenerys Targaryen from the Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin.

Why do you want your story to be told?

For no other reason than that they demand to be.

What makes it different from any story already out there?

No two authors can write the same story in the same way. By the very nature of me writing something, it’s going to be different. Maybe only in small ways…but then again, maybe not.

Where do you get your best ideas?

Never in the same place or same way.

Day writer or night writer?

More of a mid-afternoon writer…though leaning towards night. I am not at all a morning person.

Favorite movie character?

Ellen Ripley, circa Aliens.

White Clover Productions

Anyone checked out White Clover Production’s Zodiac video series on youtube? You totally should. And not just because they finally got around to my sign ( Scorpio ).  I think all the signs, thus far, have been handled pretty damn well. I’m excited to see how they will pull off the remaining four.

They’ve also served as great research material for the super secret project. 🙂 Astrology plays a very big role in STARS.

But more on that later…

Don’t Write What Doesn’t Matter

Note to self: ^^^^^^this.

Self to note: DUH.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m sorry I can’t link to the specific video because it’s apart of Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways course. But I can direct you to S. Winchester’s post which, while not talking about the video at all, still gets the gist of what it was about.

Enjoy.