A Dragon Sketch

dragon

And some Diana:

Inside the House

“It smells good. What do you think that is? Cinnamon?” James asked, following Diana into the warm air surrounding the house. Heat radiated out from the two-story structure, but it wasn’t uncomfortable at all, or even mildly toasty. Diana felt waves of a pleasant, soothing comfort oozing through her bones. The warmth was almost emotional, more than physical.

She kept a close eye on James, and on her own mind, to see if either of them started to exhibit signs of inebriation.

“It feels nice here. Oh, are you going inside?” James asked, trailing after Diana, who was striding over the grass towards the front door.

A long white oval, like a translucent shield of light, opened up in the air just in front of Diana. She stopped walking before she hit up against it, and James stepped up beside her and examined it without saying anything.

Diana glanced at James and saw, to her consternation, that he recognized the oval, though he looked completely unwilling to comment on it. Diana looked at the white oval of light and letters began to appear.

We are taking votes, the oval read. James drew in a sharp breath and Diana shot him a look. His eyes were glued to the translucent shield, and Diana returned her gaze to the letters growing along the white surface.

We are taking votes. Some say you and first boy held more passion. This one a dud?

Oh, crap, Diana thought, her heart pounding. She’d really thought she was rid of Stuart for good. In an effort to get some facsimile of tension building between herself and James, she reached out her nearest hand and hooked two of her fingers around James’ hand.

“Woah, there,” James exclaimed, jumping away from Diana. The words on the oval vanished, replaced by a single word.

Better.

The lighted oval blinked out of existence, and Diana looked at James in time to see that he hadn’t read the new message.

“What are you touching me for? We said brother and sister,” James said, looking wildly suspicious.

“Brothers and sisters can hold hands, James,” Diana said, ignoring the thundering clamor in her heart and going up the steps to the house.

So, she told herself, the aliens want flirting. Darn it, Diana thought, and she hid her irritation as she reached for the handle on the front door.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, the hero found some horticultural supplies and created a floral tribute for his lady friend.

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Bribery Cookies and Diana

I made cookies again (chocolate chip this time), and they didn’t turn out nearly as perfectly as the snickerdoodles, but I’m also using these as bribes for good behavior from the kids, so they don’t need to be pretty at all.

I’m going through my current series and making a timeline for officially tracking the days that have passed since the intense part of the action started up. I have several back and forths where we go backwards in time a few days to follow various secondary characters, so I’ve needed to work out a cleaned up calendar of events to watch for potential plot snafus.

Isn’t that the funnest word? Snafu.

Anyway, as soon as I finish this run-through for dates, I’m planning to go back to book one to do one final comma-usage and typo check through each book.

I’m significantly into the series right now, so that will be a satisfying amount of work, and reviewing the arc up to this point always makes me more aware of the direction of the overall story. My main character is now out of the building where he’s been trapped for months, and we’re drawing close to some very exciting traveling segments of the story.

Here is a study of a horse.

sketch 4

Sample

And here is some more Diana. : P

The Domicile

They walked in silence through the rest of the parking lot, looking at the interiors of the many cars they passed through. Each car was a vivid snapshot of someone’s life, and a few cars had the driver’s side door open, as if a person had been in the middle of getting into or out of the car when the aliens had come.

A stretch of industrial buildings came after the parking lot, and the glowing white path led in a straight line through all of them. Diana found that even the air was warm within the boundary of the path. If she put her hand outside the space where the white light demarked the path on the ground, the chill in the air made a shiver of goose pimples rise along her skin.

“It feels like spring in here,” James said, watching Diana put her hand in and out of the cold air as they walked.

“Yeah,” Diana said. They walked through the far wall of the latest building and Diana stopped, staring at the house just in front of them.

“Wow,” James said.

“Yeah,” Diana said with a laugh.

The white path ran ahead, across a street, through a chain link fence, and up to the side of a normal looking two-story house. The house wasn’t the strange part; it was the enormous bubble of warm air around the whole house that had made Diana and James stare.

A mature tree rose near the side of the house; three-fourths of the tree lay within the bubble, and warm green leaves, verdant and lush, looking as if they belonged in the height of some fairytale summer, hung from every inch of the tree, even from the trunk and the whole length of the branches. The top and outer branches of the tree that lay outside the bubble were frozen solid and completely bare of leaves.

The house itself seemed to radiate cozy emotions, as if the aliens had condensed the feel of Christmas and somehow seeded it through the air.

“Do you feel that?” Diana asked, walking closer to the house.

“Yeah. What do you think it is?” James asked.

Drugs, Diana thought, but she didn’t want to say so out loud. She didn’t see how she could avoid walking into the warm bubble without drawing down the ire of the aliens, so she took a deep breath and stepped through the holographic section of fence and into the warm bubble surrounding the house the aliens had prepared.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, the abused housekeeper is on her way to an appointment with a restorative neurosurgeon.

Today Is Friday (And That Has Nothing To Do With This Blog Post)

I am so excruciatingly tired as I write this that I can hardly keep my eyes open. I’ve been going to the gym (yay weightlifting) and doing extra bodyweight exercises on my days off, and my body is trying to tell me to go back to a more sedentary lifestyle by falling asleep when I’m supposed to be writing a blog post.

Hence, the extreme tiredness, currently.

Changing Body Composition Is Intense

I’ll just drink water and that will wake me up, maybe. That’s how sleep works, right? I kid.

Anyhow, I’m reaching a dramatic juncture of some tension in my current novel. A few of the heroes have cornered a ne’er-do-well and are slowly extracting his nefarious secrets. The ne’er-do-well has a secret family, for example, which he has successfully kept hidden from his lawful wife.

What A Cad

Oh, the drama.

I think someone is going to be thrown out of the ancestral pile on his ear in the near narrative future.

My, but I am tired. Blerg.

Victor Poole, Write About Writing!

My daughter requested and was given a Blues Clues dvd for her birthday. I was cautious in the selection of the dvd in order to avoid Joe and make sure we were getting Steve.

Because Steve is so much better. Joe isn’t bad at all; I think he’s charming and does a more than decent job, but for listening to episodes forever and ever, I will go with Steve every time.

Steve And Blue Forever

He’s like the Bob Ross of children’s shows.

Also, my children like Bob Ross. Not that that is particularly on topic.

This is a super rough sketch of a character from my science fiction series (in the queue for revision) who has, in this scene, just murdered an alien who was attempting to drain her insides. The alien ship is semi-sentient and has doors in the shape of plant-like disks that retract when one attempts to attain egress.

sketch 3

Also, here is some Diana.

Sample

Background Is Shared

“I thought you would’ve been younger than sixteen. You don’t look that old,” Diana said.

“My mom says all the boys in our family grow up late. I should have a big growth spurt when I’m almost twenty, according to her,” James said.

She wanted to ask him why he wasn’t freaking out about having been held captive by aliens just before this, but Diana wasn’t willing to disobey the aliens yet in their injunction to only talk about human matters.

“That sucks for you, then. I’m fourteen,” Diana said.

“Yeah, it does. You look older than that,” James said, walked along just behind her on the spring-like path of fresh grass. They crossed a street, following the glowing white path, and walked into another building through the holographic opening made by the alien’s strange path.

“So is it your mom and my dad, or your dad and my mom?” Diana asked.

“My parents are already divorced and remarried, so it would be a third round for them. Now I’ll have six parents if my extra gets together with someone new,” James said with a laugh.

“My parents are still together. You choose. Which one do you want to bring with you into our hypothetical family scenario?” Diana asked.

“I’ll bring my dad. Do you get along all right with your mom?” James asked. They came through the other side of the building and found themselves in a parking lot full of frozen cars. The glowing white path on the ground ran in a straight line through the cars, and everywhere the path went, the frost was gone and the cars looked perfectly normal. “This is still just so cool. I’m loving this,” James muttered as they walked single file through the first car.

“Yeah, it’s fun. I do okay with my mom. Let’s say it was a marriage of convenience and then they started to like each other after the fact. Have you got siblings?” Diana asked.

“Yeah, three, but I’m my dad’s favorite, so he only brought me with him,” James said, laughing.

“That’s so screwed up. It’s just me, on my end,” Diana said.

“Look, someone spilled coffee everywhere,” James said, pausing in the middle of a fancy sports car. Diana turned around to see. They were standing in the center of a red car with tan leather seats. A disposable tall mug of coffee was half crushed in the passenger seat, and reams of coffee were spilled all over the leather.

The parts of the coffee that lay outside the edges of the glowing white path were frozen solid, some of the dark drips arrested in graceful drops partway through the air. The main chunk of the car which lay in the line of the path had a puddle of liquid coffee sitting in the leather seats and dripping continually down into the center console.

“Cool,” Diana murmured. It was fairly obvious to her that the coffee had been upset in the moment of the aliens’ attack, and the frozen and dripping liquid seemed to bear a silent, telling witness to the strange violence and unexpectedness of the event.

“So just you, then. Do you like being an only child?” James asked, breaking the silence and nudging at Diana’s alien backpack.

“Yeah, it’s nice,” Diana said, shaking herself and pressing on along the path towards the domicile, whatever that would prove to be. Diana hoped it would be a normal house with functional heat and water.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, a socialite is embarking on a new adventure in life.

Warning: This One’s A Ramble! (But There’s Diana At The End)

I’m making cookies right now (snickerdoodles) and my body is freaking out. I’ve been exploring my vocal triggers so that I can undo the impacted trauma all through my throat and intercostal muscles. My lower back, oddly, also gets involved in the whole overexcited not-breathing rigidity.

Weird things set me off, too. Doing well, for example, makes my body freak out. I’ve been slowly acclimatizing myself to success. Exposure therapy!

I almost took the tray of cookies out a minute ago, but they were just this side of too gooey. I like my snickerdoodles a tiny bit undercooked so they cool down and get chewy, but they were looking sorta doughy. I’m aiming for chewy-almost-crunchy this time (my husband likes more of a crunch, so I’m looking for a happy medium).

Writing went well today.

Ooh, the first tray of cookies came out just right! Ha ha! One more tray and then I’ll turn the oven off. Hooray!

I’ve been thinking about this older group of women who came to a show I put on once. I wasn’t in the play; I directed and produced, and after the performance was over, a few of these older women came over and started telling us about how we needed to advertise more (because the play was, objectively, very good).

That happened a couple of times with early shows, random older people hanging about afterwards and telling one of my people, or me, that we needed to Do This Marketing Thing, or get sponsorships, yadda yadda. You know, smart things that you would do if you were prepared to launch a product.

We weren’t (I wasn’t) ready at the time to launch a product because I was tinkering with my process. You know, how do you motivate untrained actors and get them to gel believably with experienced performers, and then how do you build a powerful narrative arc with literally nothing but actors and ten dollars of props?

Which is a super fun challenge, and deeply satisfying.

I did get the process worked out in the end, and then we (I) started looking about at the community and said nope for many reasons, not the least of which was ultimate longevity. I didn’t want to be absorbed into the already-established production companies, and I only had two older directors nearby that I was interested in luring into my company (and both of them were embroiled in serious dysfunction and enmeshment).

Why am I telling you all of this?

Oh, right, because I’m making snickerdoodles right now, and I mentioned undoing core stressors on my vocal production, which ties into my overall ambition as an actor/producer.

And my writing went well today.

Also, the cat is locked up in time out right now for acting like a feral beast and pouncing at people. She’s mewling in an apologetic manner, so I’m thinking of giving her another chance.

Here’s a sketch of an animal from my current novel:

sketch 2d

Here is some more Diana, for the road. : P

Sample

The Path

Diana was delighted to find, as she walked into the industrial shelving, that it seemed to dissolve around her. The shelves felt and looked like sharply defined clouds.

“This is so awesome!” JamesĀ  cried, following just behind Diana. She grinned back at him and saw him through a wispy, shifting barrier of a cardboard box.

“I bet it’s like this all the way to the house they’ve got for us,” Diana said, coming out on the other side of the shelf and walking straight into the next one.

“Yeah? So maybe a couple of miles of buildings all like this, see-through and turned to vapor?” James asked, touching his fingers against the boundary of the softened space.

“Hey, what was it like up there?” Diana asked. She heard no answer at all and turned over her shoulder to see the boy’s face.

James was frozen, as if someone had pressed pause. As Diana stared at him, a scroll of text unfurled over his chest.

Don’t ask about us. Only human matters, Diana Vassel. Last warning.

Diana’s heart sped up. She didn’t mind not asking about the aliens, but she wondered very much what would happen if she disobeyed.

“Got it. Thanks. I’ll stick to human stuff,” Diana said loudly.

James stuttered back into wakefulness, blinking heavily and shaking his head.

“Yeah, I bet it’s like this all the way. Are you in love with me yet?” Diana tossed over her shoulder, heading into the next set of shelves that lay along the glowing white path.

“What?” James asked with a laugh.

“We have to demonstrate home, and I need to figure out what kind of home we’ll make. You know, are you pining for me and we’ll think about getting married in fifteen years, or are we platonic roommates? That kind of thing. We could be brother and sister, too. Let’s do that, actually. We’ll be from a blended family and our parents each got divorced and married each other. You’re my brother,” Diana said, heading towards the far wall of the warehouse.

James hurried to catch up, his body flashing strangely as he passed through the softened shelves.

“How old are you, then? I’m sixteen,” James said, coming through the last wall of the building just behind Diana.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and all my snickerdoodles turned out really well. In my current novel, a pair of newlyweds are about to go home and confront violently disapproving family members.

Victor Poole Muses (And Some More Diana)

You know, I went through this process (what I’m going through with writing just now) in acting school and afterwards. I started out as a pretty decent actor, encountered a metric ton of really horrible methodology, sorted through all of it, and eventually lost my patience with all the talking and taught myself how to act.

That’s where I am with writing just now.

Independence and Originality for the Win!

I mean, I went through this with acting, where I tried for a really long time to get along with other actors in my age group, and to give them credit for being as capable as I knew I was. Things kept not working out, and the politics and money fueling the big picture was eventually overwhelming. I mean, acting is not actually about acting at all; it’s people skills and creating a popularity machine, and then sustaining that over long periods of time on a foundation of financial stability and glamor.

I did much better when I stopped waiting for other actors and just took care of myself. I mean, when I stopped giving anyone else credit for being secretly talented. I looked at them all and said, ‘Well, all of you suck and don’t work hard,’ and then I worked harder and smarter and got things I wanted.

I Sidestepped the Politics, as ‘Twere

Of course, when you really get into acting, serious acting, you rapidly come to know that your performance is always and forever capped by the ability of the director, which is why a lot of really good actors start to either machinate their own projects (see, pay the director) or produce and direct themselves.

So I did that, and then I came up against the great big monstrosity of theatre production and film work: Money.

Buying Costumes And Storing Them Is A Beast

The really nice thing about writing is that I have a literally unlimited set dressing and costuming budget. My locations can be anywhere and my actors are always available for filming. That’s deeply attractive, particularly after spending years coordinating rehearsals with always-conflicting schedules for too-busy actors who come late, leave early, and don’t always know their lines until right before opening.

Sigh.

I miss active theatre production. Could you tell?

Victor Poole, You’re So Full of Yourself!

Anyway, the point of all this rambling is that I’m gradually experiencing the same working disillusionment about writers in my general position that I long ago went through as an actor.

That’s a great thing, because it means that really soon I’ll get to the tired and annoyed stage, which heralds the advent of Victor Poole the production genius, except for novel production. Yay!

Here is a sketch of a horse:

sketch1c

Sample

Here’s some more Diana, because why not?!

The Melted Path

James followed Diana as she forged the way along the newly-thawed path of grass and eerie springtime, which contrasted sharply with the frozen wasteland around them.

“So where are you from?” Diana asked.

“I’m from California, from Santa Monica. Where are we?” James asked.

“This is Colorado. This path seriously goes straight into the wall,” Diana said, coming to a stop at the end of the path and putting one hand on the red brick of the building.

Diana’s hand passed through as if the bricks were only a hologram.

“Woah!” James said, stepping close and pushing his own hand into the wall. Diana felt to the side and found a smooth arch where the building became solid.

“Do you think they made a straight path to our domicile?” Diana asked, stepping cautiously into the wall, which felt shimmery and warm around her. She moved into the darkness of the building and looked around. James came in after her.

“This is so cool,” James said, staring at the dim light filtering through the high windows. They were in a warehouse, and Diana looked down and saw a faintly glowing white path leading straight into some shelving units.

“Let’s see if we can walk through this stuff, too,” Diana said, grinning at James, who laughed and followed her along the white path.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, Aaron is telling a story about some cyborgs from four hundred years ago. It’s a cool story.

I Only Have Time For Diana Just Now

The New Boy

Diana helped James up to his feet. He was wearing a thin cotton shirt and a pair of white shorts that were wildly inappropriate for the frozen weather.

Diana felt sorry for him when she saw the flip flops he was wearing on his bare feet.

“So what’s going on?” James asked, shivering a little.

“We’re going towards the domicile, which is apparently in the direction of the sun. Do I still have writing on my face?” Diana asked, tilting her head to one side to show her cheek.

“No, I can’t see anything. What’s the domicile?” James asked.

“I have no idea. I’m hoping that means they’ve thawed out a house for us or something,” Diana said, leading the way down the center of the street. She’d been crossing through snow-filled yards and parking lots, but she stuck now to the center of the road, which was only coated with ice.

“I can walk through the snow. Are you changing directions because of me? I can see your tracks back there,” James said, gesturing in the direction Diana had come from.

“It’s okay. All the roads here are a grid anyway, so it’s only a little criss-crossing,” Diana said.

With a shimmer of light and a disturbing sound like the warming of a big bomb, a straight line suddenly melted through the snow, leading directly from the side of the road to the nearest building.

“Um,” James said, staring at the green grass and springy appearance of the path that lay just to their left.

“Huh. Cool,” Diana said, and she hefted the alien backpack on her shoulders and led the way to the melted pathway.

You’re reading Victor Poole and today is Tuesday. Much to my chagrin, the little rubber pad underneath my ‘n’ key has come loose and is sliding around underneath the key. This means I have to angle a little upwards in order to get an ‘n.’ In my current novel, a couple of couples are about to go ring shopping.

Just a bit of Diana today

Three Choices

The three bubbles, now perfectly translucent, contained two young men and a girl. Stuart was there, looking both angry and terrified, and Diana didn’t recognize either the boy or the girl.

“Can I talk to them?” Diana called.

“Yes,” the disembodied voice replied. Diana twisted her mouth to one side and walked to Stuart first.

“I told you I didn’t want you to touch me, Stu. Why’d you touch me after that?” Diana asked.

Stuart’s mouth moved, but she couldn’t hear anything he said. Diana wanted to roll her eyes.

“Can they please talk to me, too?” Diana asked.

A soft pop came through the street, and suddenly Stuart’s angry voice was perfectly audible.

“–and I was only trying to help, and that doesn’t count as touching, Diana!” Stuart exclaimed, his body making that familiar clench of violence that generally heralded pain for Diana.

“I don’t want him,” Diana called, pointing to Stuart’s bubble.

“Diana!” Stuart shouted, looking enraged. His bubble vanished, and Diana was left with the other two, the boy and girl who were strangers to her. They both watched her with expressions like hunted animals in their eyes.

Diana walked over to the girl first.

“Hi. What’s your name?” Diana asked. The girl said something in a language Diana didn’t recognize at all. Diana blinked. She wasn’t really sure what to do about a language barrier, and as the girl talked on and on, making sounds that Diana couldn’t place from any language she’d ever heard before, she glanced uneasily at the boy.

“Hi. I’m James,” he said. Diana felt herself sag a little in relief.

“Hi,” Diana said with a grin.

The girl in the bubble vanished.

“Well, hey! I didn’t touch a bubble yet!” Diana cried, glaring up at the sky.

“Earn companions if good at the showing. Demonstrate home,” the disembodied voice said. There was a violent snap and the last bubble vanished. The boy called James dropped straight onto the icy street with a thump, shouting with surprise.

“Hey, are you okay?” Diana said, scrambling to help him.

You’re reading Victor Poole, and in my current novel, I’m integrating some material about Aaron into the newest draft. Also, it is Monday and I need to change the oil in my car.