Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hate Hiatus?

Now I'm conflicted.  In my last post I asked if you all wanted me to continue posting the story, "Hate to Say I Told You So" and I would know if there was enough interest by getting 10 likes, pluses and/or comments.  I got five.  That's more than I've ever gotten before, which is something in itself, but it's only half what I considered to be a reasonable audience.

I also got a comment emailed to me that I should write just for enjoyment, and shouldn't care what others think or want.  This is true to some extent, but it's more complicated than that.

Why do I write?

I write because I do; I tell myself stories in my head all the time (ALL the time) so it seems much more productive to write them down rather than just keep them in my head.  I also write because I have to; I'm compelled to.  This all means that I can, will and do write for myself without regard to others.  All well and good.

I also love to tell stories.  I tell stories about myself, about people I know.  I embellish, I practice (in my head and with others), I pantomime.  I like telling stories so much that I want more to tell, so I make some up.  I don't want to tell the same old tired stories so I write them down to keep better track of them, to help remember and improve them.

There is the rub.  Writing is storytelling, storytelling is writing, and storytelling needs an audience.

I would love to get paid to write.  I want to be able to devote as much time as I could ever want to writing.  I want to go on tour to talk about my stories.  Telling stories about stories is almost as good as telling stories, oh heck, it is as good as telling stories.  I know that those who are that successful are very few and far between.  I can hope for it, and work for it, but shouldn't expect it.

So really, I can't just write for my own amusement with no regard to audience.  I can write with no regard for PAY, but I need to know that there are people reading the stories, and the bigger the audience the better.

I'm juggling a lot of stuff and I actually have far too many balls than I can handle right now.  The only way to get better at any of them and to be successful juggling is to decide which balls to juggle and which to keep on the ground, nearby.

I can't help but tell stories, so that ball is always going to be in hand.  I can get more bang for the buck (yes, I know I'm mixing my metaphors) if I actually write those stories and have an audience.  Let's say this is a torch I'm juggling and have to juggle.  As long as I'm going to juggle a torch I might as well light it (there, my metaphors match).

Here is the problem with "Hate..."  It take too much time.  It was intended to be fan-service for myself, but I got into this thing with the songs and now in order to have a chapter title and any magic I need to find an appropriate song.  Sometimes that can soak up close to an hour of searching and thinking.  If I don't have a pretty big audience clambering for it to continue then I don't think I can spare the time.

I can't juggle a flaming chainsaw.  It's just too much.  I am putting "Hate to Say I Told You So" on hiatus.

For all you who have been reading and enjoying "Hate..." I am not totally abandoning it.  I have the outline.  It will take about 14 chapters to complete (much more than I originally intended).  Someday when I have more time and the ability to move this up in priority (like when I'm not trying to spend 90 minutes a day to learn Greek) I will return to it.  I absolutely do not want to leave a partial story out there.  That is unacceptable.

I will probably switch to another, simpler story, if that is any consolation.  Also, with the shutting down of "Flowers Of Mundelein," I'll be posting my progress with learning Greek here, and anything else I need to share.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

This Is It!

The last post of 2014 happens in the last half hour of the year.

I've decided to shut down Flowers of Mundelein.  I'll leave the blog up, but I won't be posting there anymore.  I can't keep up with multiple blogs.

I've been spending the last three months trying to ratchet up my Greek studies in an attempt to become conversational in three months.  I've failed, but I'm renewing my efforts in 2015.  I'll go into my goals for the new year in the new year.

I will post any thoughts and efforts here in this blog.  I still want to keep it professional and about my writing, but I'm also going to share goals, highlights and my thoughts.  I find this the best way to share and to organize original fiction and long form essays.

I owe you all the rest of the chapters of "Hate to Say I Told You So."  I do have them outlined, but not written.  If I can get in at least an hour of studying Greek and some other requirements and still have some time I will finish the story.

On the other hand I just may leave that up to the readers.  Maybe I should put up a poll to see how many want me to continue.  I think I need at least 10 people to want me to finish.

So here's the deal.  If I get 10 likes and/or Google+ pluses and/or comments on this post I will continue and finish "Hate to Say I Told You So."  

If there isn't even that much interest I will stop.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 7

Part 7:  Follow the Lollypop Guild

"Where are we?"  Abby asked while lying on her back in the middle of a green field of grass beneath a bright blue and white sky.  She was still dizzy from the transport and the kaleidoscopic colors still danced at the corners of her eyes.  Her ears still rang with, "miles and miles..."

"Shh,"Troy Green, Associate Professor of Ethnology and Comparative Religions scolded his buxom companion, Abby Bancroft, Krav Maga instructor, "We might be on the ramparts of the Wizardess' fortress."

Dartegnan Pneumann, father of abducted daughter, Susan,  managed to stick his head up.  With his long neck he managed to barely glimpse over the tops of the grass and saw an adorably quaint village to his right, "Do you think her fortress is in that village?"

"What?"  Troy sat up and immediately wished he hadn't.  "That's the last time I pick a song spell from the 60's" he moaned and flopped back down.

"Troy," Abby said with some urgency.

"No, leave me be a moment.  My head is spinning, but the kids will be alright."

"Troy," there was even more urgency and Dart had joined in.

"No."  Troy said emphatically and managed to slur the short word, "I need rest.  The Wizardess' fortress is in fact a castle, which is, as I saw from my very quick, but thorough, long distance recon, all the way over there."  He waved over his head in the opposite direction from the village.

"Troy, the village is - "

"Of no concern to us.  Our goal is the castle, though I admit I expected it to be much closer."  He propped himself up on his elbows, but let his head hang down to look backwards as the castle.  "Much closer and less pink."

"Troy!"  Both Dart and Abby yelled.

"Troy?  Troy Green?"  A small, high, wizened voice crackled.

"Where?"  Troy sat up.  "Who else has my name?"

"Who else indeed?"

The trio all sat up and looked around themselves.  They were surrounded by small people, each carrying a drum or flute.  They looked ready to use them.

The musically armed posse were each brightly dressed in shades of a single color, but none exactly like another.  One particular drummer seemed better fed and perhaps more muscular than the others.  He wore a star on his blue jacket.  The woman beside him carried a pan flute and wore a red sash over the red jacket of a reddish suit.  Beside her was another woman, taller, thinner, younger, with wild blond hair all dressed in yellow.  She alone had a national guitar.

It was from behind these three that at elderly voice came, fragile yet playful.  It laughed.

"Who are you and why did you come here?"  The man in blue demanded.

"Troy Green, I told you," the still invisible voice said.

Troy got to his feet slowly and cautiously, more because that was the only way he could move than from a fear of the villagers.  He looked around the field they stood in, "This is public land, isn't it?"

The woman in red puffed her chest and looked sternly.  The woman in yellow arranged herself like she was about to do a Pete Townsend windmill and lay some serious power chords on them.  The man in blue looked irritated and hooked his thumbs in his belt, "Listen here.  I'm Sherriff Rufus and this is Mayor Sallee and Wizardess Areelee.  Although you are on public land we reserve the right to question any transdimensional travelers within a five mile range of our village.  Who are you and why are you here?"

"Troy Green!"  The invisible voice shrieked.

"Sherriff Rufus, I am indeed Troy Green, and my companions are the lovely Abby and the dashing Dart."

"Why are you here?"

"Let me ask you a question, if it has nothing to do with your village then why do you care?  Why the armed band, what has you so concerned?"

"Do you know where you are?"  Rufus asked.

"Some land primarily administered by the Brixies, I imagine a valley tucked away somewhere.  It's delightful by the way."

The mayor smiled and said, "Thank you," before she regained her composure and returned to her stern gaze.

"Is that the way it works?"  Dart asked.

"Primarily," Troy turned to speak to Dart.  He wobbled quite a bit when he did and the group surrounding them all raised their instruments to the ready.  "Sorry," Troy said to them, "I was just going to explain to my companion that most Brixies prefer to keep to themselves in far off corners of the world, either that of hidden parts of cities.  Did you ever notice how most buildings don't have a thirteenth floor?  Or do they?"

"This is not a valley, or even Earth."  Wizardess Areelee said, he voice was surprisingly beautiful and musical despite her look which conjured up images of a screaming banshee.

The old voice finally broke through the three officials and he brought a face with him.  An ancient looking Brixie poked his mostly bald head between the hips of Mayor Salee and Wizardess Areelee, "It's a pocket universe, created by the Witch," the old man pointed a crooked finger toward the castle, "Hello Troy, my boy.  Good to see you again."

"Bukus, my dear old friend!"  Troy scrambled over and got on his knees to hug the old Brixie.  "How did you get here?   I thought you were living in Patagonia like a king."

"I was, but the village here needed help so I followed them here, though they don't appreciate my help."  He shot a sneer at the Brixies around him.

"We don't need another Wizard," Areelee said.

"It's not like you've been any help anyway.  We're still here," Mayor Salee said.

"Where is here, what is here, what's a pocket universe and why are you in it?"

"A while back the Witch created this pocket universe as her own personal domain."

"Or discovered it," Areelee said.

"The Wizardess has her own theories, which may very well be valid.  Regardless of the universe's origin, the Witch has made it her headquarters and fortress.  She ripped a chunk out of Earth to make it more habitable and stole this village to help keep the land."

"To be her slaves," The mayor said.

"More like serfs," Bukus said.

"But why?"  Abby asked.

"We think she's in league with the Guns of Brixton."

"Isn't she human?  What do the Guns want from a human witch?"

"She has a very powerful army -"

"See!"  Dart said, "She she's probably kidnapped Susan to try to get the Hammer of the Gods.  I'll be she doesn't even want you."

Troy shrugged, "Some women do."

"There's another thing, "Sherriff Rufus said, "She has a fleet of flying monkeys."

"Of course she does," Abby said.

"Flying monkeys?"  Dart asked.

"Yes," Bukus said, "Just like those." He pointed to the group flying in tight formation from the castle.

"That looks bad," Troy said.

"It is," Rufus said, "Run!"   

As they were running the villagers played their instruments haphazardly.  It was more cacophony than music and had little effect.  Before they made it to the village the monkeys were above them.  Rather than having separate wings they looked like a cross between flying squirrels, bats and baboons.  They all wore helmets with spikes on them.

One of the monkeys had three bright metal pips on his helmet.  He carried what looked like a megaphone.

"I see you're prepared to pay my ransom, even though I hadn't told you what it was," a woman's voice came from the megaphone.

"In case you didn't know, this is the Witch, Kirke and I am very pleased with my ransom reward, however since you did not pay him to me you forfeit your daughter."

Troy pulled out an harmonica while he ran.  He turned and planted his feet to play, but as he took a deep breath a monkey swooped down and knocked it out of his mouth.

Dart drew his sword.

Another monkey hit Troy in the chest and knocked the wind out of him before he could even sing.

Two more hit Dart and Abby in the back, tumbling them to the ground in surprise.

Three monkeys swooped onto Troy before he fell and carried him away, one on each arm and one holding his mouth.

The megaphone laughed, cackled a moment, then resumed laughing as Troy was flown off in the direction of the castle.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Autumnal Cthulhu

I just made a submission to Lovecraft eZine's anthology AUTUMN CTHULHU.  With any luck I'll be letting you readers know that I've been accepted and how to get copies of the book.

Failing that I may post the story here.  I really like it and think it is unique in a couple of ways.  I'll let you know more in the next couple of months as I find out.

It has been a real struggle to get it done in time and I only submitted it with 45 minutes to spare.

Being ill and several other priorities have kept me from writing as prolifically as I wanted.  My number one priority is still learning Greek.

I also wanted to post to give you one last Cthulhu, thought I had decided that this is not he place for it this year.  I'm regretting that decision and will reverse it for next year.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Oh Dear Cthulhu, What Have I Done?!

I made a decision at the beginning of this month with which I am very uncomfortable.

I decided that I should celebrate Cthulhu Month on Flowers of Mundelein.  I feel this is very inappropriate, and the Flower Followers (I just coined that, you like?) are just not ready for such raw cosmic horror and insanity.

Next year Cthulhu month will return to Illini6.  For now, like being on a rollercoaster the only thing we can do it hold on and get through it.
They just weren't ready

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Hate to Say I Told You So: Part 6

Part 6:  Over Hills and Far Away

"Could I have a glass of water?"  Senaka Lincoln asked Maggie Pipp.  She stood shakily from casting her singing spell over the tiny droplets of blood.  Each droplet seemed to be vibrating in rhythm and Maggie wondered if it wasn't her imagination that she could hear the music they made.

"Were you successful?"

"I think so, but making magic always dries my mouth so."

Maggie fetched a glass of water from the kitchen.  When she brought it to Senaka the darker woman had been joined by the heavyset Jonny, the androgynous Sailor and a withered old man with dark leather skin and a ring of pure white around the back of his head.  He wore thick glasses and carried an ancient acoustic guitar.

"Ole-Man Rivers I'd like to introduce Margaret, "Maggie" Pipp, private detective and bedmate of Troy Green." Senaka said.

Ole-Man extended his hand and smiled broadly.  He had a full mouth of yellow, but straight, real teeth.  "Delighted to meet you Ms. Pipp.  They call me Ole-Man, though I've no idea a'tal why.  Ole-Man Rivers, and I must say it is a pure pleasure to meet someone so lovely as you, absolutely a pleasure."

"Thank you," Maggie took his rough and hard hand in a strong shake.

"Whelp, might as well get to hunting.  Where we headed?"

"I've cast a spell on the blood, I suspect it will lead us to the hospital or aid station they took the Gun."

"Guns, eh?"  Ole-Man adjusted his guitar on his chest and played a few notes.  "What tune we using to hunt them?"

"I was thinking of 'Further On Up the Road.'"

"Johnny Cash or Robert Jordan?"

"Why do you even have to ask?" Jonny said.

"Cash's tune is a good one, full of pain and longing, traveling and meeting."

"No magic stronger than Robert Jordan's," Sailor said.

"True, but I didn't want to assume nothing."

"Did you know Robert Jordan?"  Jonny asked with a smile.

"Stole this here guitar out his dead hands," Ole-Man quipped back and started strumming a blues progression.

Senaka touched Maggie's arm, "We're all going to cast a spell and travel by magic.  Do you have any weapons?"

"Um, some pepper spray I guess.  I'm not really that kind of detective.  I'm more the computer intelligence gathering type."

"That's fine.  Can you sing?"

Maggie's eyebrows did a bit of a dance as she struggled to decide how to answer, "Yes?"

"If you can harmonize and you know the tune then join in, but if you don't think you can, it's find you don't.  We'll all sit in a circle around the drops and hold hands.  No one will get lost."

They did exactly like Senaka described.  Jonny helped Ole-Man to sit.  They all crossed legs and took each other's hands except Senaka and Jonny on either side of Ole-Man each grabbed a belt loop so his hands would be free to play.

"Ready," Maggie said, but none seemed to be listening.

The song began.

Maggie was not that familiar with Robert Jordan.  She knew that he was a famous Blues musician who was rumored to have sold his soul to the devil for musical talent.  Maggie was only familiar with the Eric Clapton version of the song.

As Ole-Man played, Maggie wondered if he hadn't sold his soul as well, the music was every bit as good as Clapton and maybe even better.  When it was time for the singing part though, it was Jonny that actually led the group.

"Further on up the road
Someone's gonna hurt you like you hurt me.
Further on up the road
Someone's gonna hurt you like you hurt me.
Further on up the road,
Baby, just you wait and see."

His voice was soulful, throaty, manly and lusty.  On the second stanza Senaka joined in.

"You gotta reap just what you sow;
That old saying is true.
You gotta reap just what you sow;
That old saying is true.
Just like you mistreat someone,
Someone's gonna mistreat you."

The room started to vibrate.  It flowed like a hot breeze rising from the delta, swirling around, through their hair, through their clothes, into their souls.  It made Maggie feel lightheaded, but she bounced and swayed to the rhythm, just like the others.

Sailor joined in song, and Ole-Man hummed along, his guitar driving the tune, rippling through reality, opening eyes and minds and doorways.

"Further on up the road."

There was a road.  They spun round in their circle, cross-legged by floating on the music rather than sitting on the floor, the road stretched before them, but they moved along it, bouncing and sliding.

The road seemed to lead right into a room.  Their dirt country road spilled itself onto the wooden floor of a large bedroom.  The circle of singers suddenly found themselves seated cross-legged on the floor.

The room was full of Brixies.  Some were being bandaged, some bandaging, and others questioning the bandagees.  The questioners were the first to spot them and they did not look happy.

Maggie's head was full and wavering, like she had just had a very strong drink.  Senaka struggled to unfold her legs and stand up, cursing lightly under her breath.  Sailor and surprisingly Jonny sprang to their feet, seemingly ready for a brawl.

None of the Brixies were lavishly dressed, but one seemed more put together, cooler and more powerful than the others.  He turned slowly to look at the newly arrived, his arms folded.

Ole-Man had stopped strumming, but had made no attempt to rise.  He hung his head and said, "Too close, far too close.  Damn we're too good for our own good."

The Brixie leader gave a Shere Kahn smile, "So it would seem interlopers, so it would seem."

Friday, October 03, 2014

OMC - I Almost Forgot Cthulhu Month!


Here it is the third of October and I almost forgot Cthulhu month this year.  I'm so focused on learning Greek.

What a tragedy, a Greek tragedy.

I'll have to rectify that right now and catch up.  Here are three images to get you started.  I grabbed these pictures associated with H.P. Lovecraft's story, "From Beyond" because I am working on a story for an anthology based on this story.

These great pictures were the work of Christian Bravery.  He posted them on the Lovecraft Literary Podcast.  You should go to his site and check out all the other cool stuff he has done.  While you're there ask him to forgive Inner Prop for using his images.