Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Punk Rock Artisanal Author

Having just put my book into the sea of published books-

Punk rock is one of my favorite rock movements. Punk Rock was going against the establishment. One could argue the moment they sign a record deal that they were no longer ‘punk’ but when the original movement happened the idea of  ‘doing it all on your own’ wasn’t particularly feasible. Do punk genre novels reflect this ‘against the establishment’ ideal? I’m not sure and I might write about punk genres being or not being like punk music another time.

In the book publishing world, one has traditionally, small press, vanity press, indie publishing, and… I would like to add artisanal.

The traditional and small press, on the author’s part, involve query letters, slush piles, money, and time. This is a team of editors, cover artists, and a promotion's agent. It is hard for the author to break into this world and once let through the doors, there is a possibility of being kicked out if your book doesn’t sell well enough. Traditional publishing is the studio musician who is well-trained.

Vanity press, yes it still exist, is paying someone to print your book. Some say Indie publishing is vanity publishing, but Indie publishing is more complex. Vanity press is like the guy who made a CD of himself playing music in his garage and then gives it to his friends and family.

Indie publishing is the author venturing out with their book and either creates an ebook from the original manuscript or hires their own team of editors, cover artists, and promotion agents. When the author hires their own team, then in many cases, they are their own agent and perhaps create their own promotions. This is the trend and there is a ton of people willing to take your money to ‘help’ you put out a quality indie product and promote it. Indie publishing is the rock movement of the book selling business and I really like many rock bands.

Being of the mindset of going against the establishment, of wishing to embody the idea of punk, I’m embracing the idea of being an artisanal author. The word artisanal is mostly associated with creating small batches of fine food to sell. In being an artisanal author, I'm not really screaming at the indignities of the world like punk music, but more like sitting quietly in the corner working on crafting a quirky story.

I have had help in producing my novel just as an artisanal food maker has help from the dairy farm, their neighbors, and the farmers market or small grocer. An artisanal crafter will give out samples to entice you to buy their product. My samples are the flash fiction on this blog. The artisanal crafter tries to make their product unique and use traditional methods of creating their product. I try to write stories that question everyday norms while working on not to ending a sentence with a preposition.

The artisanal, indie, and vanity press author is hoping to be discovered and read by millions and perhaps enter the world of traditional publishing with a big contract. After going through all of the steps to create my first ebook and soon-to-be paper book, I like the artisanal feel of being in control of every step even though those steps take me away from writing the next book.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Yggdrasil and Nanna Duel

Since there is no terribleminds flashfiction challenge this week, I'm posting a recent flashfiction I wrote for a Steampunk Empire - Scribbler's Den one year anniversary celebration tea party. The challenge was for 250-words. This first version is 307 words and I widdled it down to 247. Scribbler's Den is looking to put all of the work in a small ebook. It will be nice to see them all together.

Nanna and Yggdrasil are also in my 100-word fiction.

~


The crowd holds its breath as Yggdrasil cleanly eats her biscuit seconds after Nanna. The Tiffin Master says, “Yggdrasil’s won. She’ll wear the blue gown to Höðr ball.”
The crowd hesitates in their applause. Nanna, a five-year champion of Aphrodite's annual competitions, lost. Goddesses sitting on Yggdrasil’s side applaud.
The hall’s doors open with a crash and a man, with a perfectly tied cravat, enters. “Yggdrasil cheated. Her parasol contains a time-turning contraption!”
“How dare you…” begins Yggdrasil, reaching for her parasol.
“Stop her,” yells a woman in a brown-striped dress.
The Tiffen Master’s reacts too slowly. Yggdrasil presses the blue jewel on the tip of her parasol’s handle.
The scene reverses three minutes. Yggdrasil is moments away from winning the tea duel.


~


Yggdrasil remembers the day she challenges Nanna to a duel. Nanna, obviously bragging, brings out her dress during a tea hosted by the three Fates. Nanna’s dress was the same design and cloth as Yggdrasil’s dress which she’d kept a secret.
An argument ensues.The Fates conclude; Nanna’s destiny is to wear the gown and Yggdrasil would look atrocious in that color anyway.
Yggdrasil is irate, takes a deep breath, and extinguishes the fireball she wanted to throw at Nanna’s dress. She devises a plan instead. Before another word is said by a Fate, Yggdrasil challenges Nanna to a duel and the Fates approve.


~


She knows the Fates are against her. She wobbles her hand which holds the biscuit. It splashes on her cup and the table.
The door opens, the well-dress man says, “Yggdrasil cheated…”
Before he can say, ‘her parasol’, the Tiffen Master says, “Yggdrasil has lost horribly. She has not cheated.”
Yggdrasil points her parasol at the man’s cravat and says, “And, I’m stuck wearing yellow and pink taffeta gown.” She storms out of the hall hatching a new plan to thwart Nanna.



~

If you are interested in steampunk, here is a link to Scribblers Den

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Space Opera - One Act Expanse Flop



At first, I was excited to write a space opera for a terribleminds flashfiction challenge. The Star Trek theme song played in my head. Then, my mind was blank...nothing. Perhaps it is a state of living in the left brain too much lately because of trying to figure out software to get my book into a publishable state. Here goes ‘nothing’.




I stand here with a carefully constructed dogwood sandwich in my hand and stare at her. She, a girl completely new to me, concentrates so hard on the computer screen before her I fear to disturb her. She didn't order the sandwich and working in a bar slash diner on Space Station Sculptor wasn’t my day job.


Taking the necessary steps to reach her table, my mind lost the line I'd planned to say. I place the plate down in the only space void of papers and books.


“You’ve been here for awhile. I thought you could use this.”


“Hmm,” she says and a finger pushes down another key. She glances up at me and smiles. A stream of words tumbled into my ears.


“I know the owner doesn’t like scholars taking up valuable table space with such old-fashioned materials like books and computers. My apologies. Working everywhere else has been infertile. This antiquated idea of a thesis paper is straining every brain cell. Is that a dogwood sandwich?”


“Yes, and well the owner in this metal floating town along with everyone else is excursioning. You know, it’s the Thor’s Break.”


“Yeah,” she replies looking at her screen with only a cursory glance at me and the sandwich.


“You should eat,”  another brilliant sentence escapes my mouth and I almost sit across from her.


“I’m starving actually but just can’t seem to stop thinking about this last struggled and strangled idea I’m trying to create into words.”


Perhaps, I hope, her sentence is an invitation to sit down, so I sit. “I hypothesize that if you verbalizing the concept, it will make it less liquid and give it viscosity?”


She shuts the laptop lid and gives me her full attention, “I don’t think creating sandwiches is what a person who says viscosity does. Especially since the only humans who occupy space station during uberbreak are the scientist, students, and a handful of worker bees.”


Her cool green eyes melt my mind like molten lava. “Haha, I get it uberbreak because it's the longest holiday of the year. Umm, the owner is a friend of mind. Menial tasks let my synapses refuel.”


She picks up the sandwich and I watch her teeth crunch through the layers of meat, bread, and coleslaw. “Wow, if you’re as accomplished at your regular gig as orchestrating a sandwich, your synapse must be cadmium orange.”


“Cadmium orange?”


“Yes.”


Before I’m able to coax an explanation of cadmium orange, or equal the level of flirtation I think she is vibing me, or even her name, I hear the swoosh of the airlock door open and close.


“Patrons,” she says.


And


“Hey, anyone, barkeep. Alcohol now!” says a patron at the same time.


I knew the main reason, Oscar, the owner, wanted to keep Pyxis open through Thor’s Break was for weary sky captains. Sculptor was the only space station between two habitable planets and not many starships could make the distance of a hectarlite between them.


I smile at my fellow companion though she doesn’t smile back. The look on her face is fierce enmity. In the glass behind her, I see the reflections of two men in uniform.


Fear and flight thumps my heartbeat. “Name your preference, star captains. The Pyxis has it all.”


I leave the brightly lit area of cubicles and head toward the atmospheric ingot.


I stop when I see them without the guise of glass. The uniforms were torn and covered in a metallic dust and both held dark matter weapons. I try to inhale a deep calming breath of oxygen but only wheeze.


“I believe you were asked to name your drink,” said the girl who is now standing next to me holding a pulsing laser brush. I had a feeling she was an artist.


“What are you going to do, girl, paint us good?” The smaller of the two said.


Flipping a side switch on her brush, the laser beam flickered and then shot out a brilliant orange ball which she aims at the base of a stool. The chair legs melt instantly. “That’s level one boys. Do you want to drink or do you want me to vanquish you with pigment?”


The larger captain sheathes his weapon. “Beam and coke.”


The other smirks, “Guess it’s a pint for me.”

The girl faces me, grabs me from behind the neck and pulls me close to her radiating face. And, kisses me. It was a full on, I am the Milky Way colliding with Andromeda kiss.




terrible minds flashfiction challenge your very own Space Opera link for more exciting Space Operas or to join the challenge.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

8 Sentence Sunday September 13, 2015

Hermetic Aphrodite Guild(H.A.G) and their positions in the world has changed through time. This time-traveling story is the history to changes that have taken place.    


"Mademoiselle Aphrodite, I apologize. What brings a traveling H.A.G. to Islet. Have you been sent to take over my position?" asked Peter.

Heather inhaled her last bite of egg and started to choke. Who would ever think she would or could do anything within a university?

"Here, drink this," said Matthew handing her a glass of red liquid. She put it to her lips but didn't drink. It was wine.


To read more Eight Sentence Sunday excerpts here is the link - 8-sentence-sunday-on-dieselpunks

Monday, September 7, 2015

Cover Launch for Miss Winsome and Scientific Society

After a lot of trial and error and then learning a software program(Inkscape), I have my cover for Miss Winsome and the Scientific Society. My deadline for having the ebook published is September 15th. Because of technical issues, I will be launching Miss Winsome and the Scientific Society September 22, 2015.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

8 Sentence Sunday September 6, 2015

Oops, this excerpt is nine sentences. I couldn't resist putting in the last sentence. The women of the Hermetic Aphrodite Guild do not put curses on people.   

To read more Eight Sentence Sunday excerpts here is the link - 8-sentence-sunday-on-dieselpunks

"You are a H.A.G. I have never meet a H.A.G. How many curses have you inflicted on a person?" asked a young woman.
   Heather closed her journal and resisted the urge to point a finger at the girl. "Where were you raised and by whom? You have no manners. Someone should have told you wandering in the woods is a dangerous occupation. If you must wonder and you see something unusual then you should leave the area immediately. Do you not know the story of the stupid girl who wondered right through a field of odd orange ferns and was turned into a Boar?"
     "Are you cursing me now?"

Friday, September 4, 2015

Flash Fiction - terribleminds challenge


Last week for the challenge one created a character. This week one used another character for a story. I'm in the middle of figuring out a graphic design program for my book cover, so this was flash fiction in the sense that I did it in a flash. I didn't have time to write the small fight at the end.

Thank you Mathew X. Gomez for the character. If you would like to see other challenge stories -terrible minds flash-fiction-challenge-pick-a-character-and-go

Luísa de la Cruz walked into her home with her face slick with tears. She was the last to leave her mother's funeral. In the village of Crocus, the dead were pushed out to sea after the reed boat was set a fire. When Luísa couldn’t see her mother nor the flame, she stayed and watched the world darken.

The tears started when she passed by all the familiarity of her life as she walked home. Today was the end of her happy childhood of mock battles with her band of friends. Tonight, she would set out on her own to avenge her father’s death.

Luísa ran her hand over her face and yelled into the darkness of the crumbling cottage, “Damn it all to hell.”

She grabbed a match stick and went to the fireplace, lighting it on the smoldering embers. When the whale oil lantern shone dimly, she went to the floorboard her mother spoke of with her last breath. First she pried at it with her fingers. Then, taking the knife that hung off her belt, she got the floorboard free.

Not wanting to stick her hand into a dark hole fearing snakes or worse spiders, she put the lantern down the hole and inspected it. The space was clean. There wasn’t a speck of dust nor any signs of cobwebs. A cloth laid over a rectangular shape which was beautifully embroidered with red flowers and vines.

Luísa pulled the cloth off and smelled. The smell of her mother’s hair filled her nostrils and she almost started to cry again. She put down the lantern and folded the cloth with care and put it on the chair nearby.

She went to the small end of the hole and lifted and then drug the long rectangular box out of its keeping place. The length of it astonished her. Her mother had told her it was her father’s sword. She had seen swords draped across the backs of warriors. Finally, the box was free from its keeping place and she lifted the lid.

Picking up the lantern, she looked at the hilt and touched it. The plane pumel was dented but polished. The hilt was wrapped with leather which looked like it had been carefully oiled through the years just as the brass scabbard looked like it had been polished. Luísa wondered how much time her mother had spent taking care of her father’s only piece of inheritance.

“Mother,” she whispered and brought the cloth to her nose again. “I will avenge the death of my father. I am strong and am practiced in the ways of combat. You did not know it, but I watched the King Basil’s guard killed my father. I remember their faces. You should not have had this measly life of mending other’s clothes for a pittance. We should have been granted a fiefdom to rule for my father’s role in acquiring Basil a kingdom. I hear the whispering in the village. I know what is rightfully my inheritance as the only child of Warrior Falerin.”

With her oath spoken over the sword, she went to work preparing for the five-day journey to the king’s castle. She left her home predawn with her father’s sword strapped diagonally across her back to accommodate its length along her small stature. Slung in the other direction was a sac carrying what little food that was left in the house.


***


When dawn changed the inky blackness to a golden glow, Luísa was in a field at the edge of the forest. Staying at the edge of the forest would take her longer but traveling across the Moor of Bitter, was dangerous and the sun would bake her. She cursed herself for the bad timing. If she had reached the moor, pre-dusk she could cross it in the cover of darkness though it would still be dangerous.

One of her favorite times in the village was to sit out of site at the Fatted Pig and listen to the stories of the travelers. Her favorite stories were told by warriors and their tales of conquering. She was pondering one story about the Moor of Bitter when she heard a twig snapped beneath a careless placing of a foot.

Luísa's hand reached for the hilt of the sword.

"A pipsqueak like you can't possibly handle that sword's length."

She relaxed, just a little. There was only one person who called her pipsqueak.

"Thistle!" She exclaimed as she turned. "You're not following me are you?"

Thistle leaned against a tree. "You're not leaving Crocus without saying goodbye, are you?"

"Well, I... Don't follow me. I don't want... I want to be alone." She ducked behind a tree a walked with as much purpose as she could handle. She was surprised and a little thrilled that Thistle had followed her. "Your parents need you." She mumbled when she had walked far enough where he couldn't hear her though he had followed her.

"I think," started Thistle.

Luísa jumped realizing he was right behind her.

Thistle reached out and grabbed her arm. "Luísa, I think you need me more."

"What?" She turned and placed a hand on his chest. She had to look up to see his face. Last year, she could look at his face without crooking her neck. She felt pissed he had followed her. She wanted to be alone. "What? You must've thought that kiss meant something. Well, it didn't. You can be home before lunch if you leave now. I suggest you do."

"Can you even lift that sword above your head? What are you going to do for food, shelter, anything?"

"I'll make do." She turned and walked away from Thistle.

"We've always made good partners. We work well together."

It was true she thought, every mock battle in which they were on the same team ended with them on top. They always won when they worked together.

Thistle smiled. "That kiss was nice. But, well. I'm done with the village and fishing with my family. I don't want to mend nets all my life. I followed you because I know you would leave and it was time for me to leave. Let's travel together for awhile and if our path diverges that will be that. Agree?"

She stopped looked at the hunk of flesh Thistle had become in the last year. The weight of the sword pulled heavily on her back. She had already eaten most of her food and he was as good at snaring a rabbit as catching fish.

"Fine, tag along. On one condition, you work with me on getting my skills equal to this sword on my back. And, you carry it half the time. And, you find food. And..."

"Wait a minute, that's a lot of ands."

"Well? Are you agreed?" She tried to look tough and had placed her hands on her hips while giving her best tough face.

Thistle laughed. "Alright, hand over that pig sticker. I'll carry it awhile."

They walked along the edge of the forest. She would look at him once in awhile. He would look at her though not a word passed between them.


Two hours of trudging and the sun was already making the edge of the forest hot.

"It's time to stop for a bit, Luísa. My stomach says it's time."

"We can't be stopping every time your stomach has a hankering." Luísa stopped though and  plunked down on what she hoped was a soft spot of ground. She pulled off her sack and look at the last morsel it contained.

Thistle stood, not moving. And then in a flash pulled the sword. Then, she heard the rustling in the forest to the right of them. She pulled her knife from her belt.

A man on a horse galloped along the edge of the forest. It would be Thistle's first time to kill a human. They now had a horse, two swords, and a pouch of King Basil coins.

Luísa decided that being alone was a poor idea. She hugged Thistle after she found a hunk of cheese in the satchel slung behind the saddle on the horse. And, then she handed him the cheese. Thistle broke it in half. They laugh. It was a new level of friendship that would make them warriors against the evils of King Basil's empire.