Taking Heart from Rifter Series #amreading #amwriting

Why, yes, this is more about The Rifter Series by Ginn Hale. Get used to hearing about it. I’m a little obsessed.

I haven’t read anything about how long it too Ginn Hale to write the series, but it had to be long time because it was definitely a behemoth. I can’t say anything bad at all about the series or how it ended, but I will say that the last 25% of the final book seemed to evidence a bit of writer’s fatigue. Just a smidgen. Not enough to make the series less than the masterpiece it is, but I felt it. Ginn Hale had been so incredibly¬†thorough through the rest of the series. Every scene was paced perfectly and in the very last of the final book, I can’t say the scenes were quite as thorough.

But, here’s the thing, I couldn’t blame her. As a writer, I definitely experience fatigue. In fact, I’m in the middle of it right now. I’m so fatigued and feeling a lot of internal pressure to really press myself forward at a rate that isn’t right or fair to the story, mainly because I feel like it will never end. Reading through The Rifter books, I kept thinking to myself, “I bet right about now, she started to think, ‘WTF was I thinking writing this thing? I’m not even close to the end. It’s going to take the rest of my life and everyone will hate it, no one will read it, and what am I even doing?'”

Maybe the reality is that she never had those thoughts at all. If that’s the case, don’t tell me. Because I’ve taken a lot of heart from her slow and steady thoroughness, and the fact that she didn’t give up during my imagined moments of exhaustion, fear, and frustration. Thank you, Ginn Hale, for not giving up, by the way. Just in case you did have those moments.

Enough rambling. Go buy The Rifter Series. It’s worth every penny and she¬†earned them.

Round Up!

1. Today is the last day for people to comment for a chance to win a free copy of Ascending Hearts at Stumbling Over Chaos! Contest closes at 7pm tonight!

2. Over at Cup o’ Porn, Keira and I talk about Five Fairy Tale Hunks we wouldn’t mind finding at the top of our beanstalks. Our post is pretty SFW, but the Cup o’ Porn site itself might be a wee bit riksy! It’s not called Cup o’ Porn for nothing!

3. Over at Sidney Bristol’s blog, I’m going on about the rabbit hole of writing research and the gift of the internet.

4. I was on Amelia Gormley’s blog discussing the inspiration behind Ascending Hearts, complete with some pictures!

5. Ascending Hearts is now available in the Kobo store and the Barnes & Noble Nook Book store.

In other news, I got mind-jacked by a new novel two days ago. It’s not good timing, but the entire thing showed up–characters, plot, settings, motivations, dialogue–absolutely everything. This never happens and so I feel like I’d be an idiot not to follow through. If I’m diligent and lucky I might be able to have a first draft done within two months and then get back on track with my plan for the year.

Biltmore Inspiration

Today at Coffee and Porn in the Morning (Wine and Sex in the Afternoon), my co-author, Keira Andrews and I are featured for Favorite Things Thursday. We’re talking about castles, specifically one of America’s so-called castles, The Biltmore, and we’re giving away a copy of Earthly Desires.

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While writing up the post, there were some things I wanted to ramble on about regarding the Biltmore estate, but I didn’t have the time or space, so I thought I’d ramble a bit more here. The Biltmore is America’s largest private home, although no one has lived there since the 1950s. There was a period of twenty years, though, during which the heir of the estate lived in the house simultaneous to it being a tourist attraction. Or at least there is an old story to that effect, I can’t verify if it is true. I’ve always always loved that story, though, and when I’ve visited the estate over the years, I’ve often tried to imagine what it would be like to have been the sole resident of that massive home.

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What would it have been like at night? The vast, empty house all around you? I’ve always been tempted to write a ghost story based on these idle thoughts, and perhaps one day she will. There is even anecdotal evidence that it is haunted. The comments here are especially interesting if you scroll down far enough.

The Inspiration

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In the past, I’ve almost always been most inspired by music and I tend to write while listening to a specific playlist. When suffering from the occasional writer’s block, music has most often been the source of breaking the inspiration free again, providing me with solutions to the problems, and setting me off on another rush of creativity.

Recently, though, I’ve found another source of input very inspiring. Photographs. As most artists have been doing of late, I’ve started making Pinterest boards that correspond with my writing. It has become a huge source of inspiration for me, though, unlike music, the boards don’t seem to help me problem-solve, but merely help me visualize how I want to describe things and people, and to help establish the atmosphere and vibe of the story.

As an example, working on a recent fairy tale for our series, Tempting Tales with Ellora’s Cave, I found the following image incredibly inspirational, even if this castle and these swans don’t appear at all in the story. It was the magical, fairyland, unreal atmosphere that I wanted to capture.

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I’ve got pin boards for Fairy Tales in general, boards for specific stories like Spanish Dancing Shoes and The Frog Prince, and boards for random and currently unplaceable inspiration.

From the Spanish Dancing Shoes board.

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A potential future protagonist from the Inspiration board.

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If this isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is.

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From the Frog Prince board.

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Feel free to follow me at Pinterest and get a glimpse of the beautiful things I’m using to juice up my inspiration, or, heck, just for some pretty pictures.

Denying Our Wounds

Rest in peace, Adrienne Rich.

You moved me and changed my world for the better with your words.

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Power

Living in the earth-deposits of our history

Today a backhoe divulged out of a crumbling flank of earth
one bottle amber perfect a hundred-year-old
cure for fever or melancholy a tonic
for living on this earth in the winters of this climate.

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Today I was reading about Marie Curie:
she must have known she suffered from radiation sickness
her body bombarded for years by the element
she had purified
It seems she denied to the end
the source of the cataracts on her eyes
the cracked and suppurating skin of her finger-ends
till she could no longer hold a test-tube or a pencil

She died a famous woman denying
her wounds
denying
her wounds came from the same source as her power.

Adrienne Rich, 1929 – 2012

Adrienne Rich, you wrote beautiful things that spoke to me as a woman, as a human being, and I hope you died knowing, never denying that your wounds came from the same source as your power.

[Author’s note: I’d originally started a draft of this post in order to talk about the poem itself, to discuss our wounds as a source of power, but now I want to post it as it is as a tribute to Ms. Rich. Maybe I will discuss the poem at another time. For now, I just want the poem to speak for itself now that she’s gone.]

The Book of Imaginary Beings: Masks

For Christmas, my friend, Cricket, bought me a copy of The Book of Imaginary Beings by Jorge Borges; it has become a mainstay in our household, entertaining and inspiring me, while also enthralling my six year old daughter, Bikini Bird. She is amazed by the pictures, and constantly asks me to read aloud from it, even though the vocabulary is often above her head.

I actually started googling about the book this morning because I wanted to draft a post focusing on a particular quote regarding talking with things that have no voice, but then I stumbled on something magnificent! Something that I cannot wait to talk about! And so I will have to discuss things that have no voice on another day and we’ll all thrill and clap over this awesome find instead!

Kest Schwartzman’s Blog dedicated to making masks depicting each of the imaginary beings discussed in Borges’ book!

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The Chimera

In order to fully explain my reaction to this project, I should first reveal that I have a long-standing fear of masks. One might even call it a phobia. I get so unnerved by masks that I once ended up leaving a restaurant without ordering because they had masks everywhere on the walls, peering down me with their empty, hollow eyes, scaring the bejeebus out of my poor, scaredy-cat soul! So, the fact that I utterly love Kest Schwartzman’s project represents not only just appropriate admiration, but a conquering (to a degree) of an unreasonable fear. I’m not saying that I wouldn’t still freak out if Kest Schwartzman showed up in my living room wearing these masks, because I very well might, but it’s a plus that I’m very excited and inspired by looking at these photos, rather than just horrified.

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Lunar Hare

As I looked through the pages, I was wowed by the detail and thought given to each piece. I was impressed by the quality of the materials used. I thought that there could be few things inspired by The Book of Imaginary Beings as awesome as this particular project. The beings only exist inside our minds as a reflection of ourselves and the masks allow for a person to take on that internal monster, wear it around for awhile. There’s something magical about that, something spiritual, and goes above and beyond the masks themselves. It’s a means of channeling that creature’s energy. It reminds me of rituals that I’ve never witnessed, ancient mysteries that I’ve never known. Looking at the pictures, I imagine that if one were to wear the mask the person inside might leave for awhile, replaced by the monster/creature for a short time.

Perhaps this is why I’ve always feared masks anyway? I tend to see them as magical things that can override the person within.

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The Elephant That Foretold Buddha

More about the book itself in later posts. For now, I encourage you to start at the beginning of Kest Schwartzman’s blog and admire her work. I see that she’s got a kickstarter project associated with it, and a donate button. If you feel inspired by her work, or wish to support it, definitely click on that button.

Beautiful work, Kest Schwartzman! Thank you for sharing it with the world!

How do you feel about masks? What do you make of the work that this book has inspired? Are imaginary animals of interest to you? Do you wish you could have one of these masks and be a centaur for awhile?