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“Any sufficiently analyzed magic is indistinguishable from science.” - Girl Genius, by Kaja & Phil Foglio

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." - Arthur C. Clarke

Perspective, it's all about perspective ...

Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Is Your Blank Book to Write

The beginning of a new year feels fresh, full of opportunity, presenting a wide expanse for exploration and accomplishments. 

May the coming year treat you gently.  Throughout 2012 may you accomplish what you set out to do and enjoy the time spent in the effort.

Monday, December 12, 2011

A Random Quote about Writing

"I can let a sentence go as a good and serviceable sentence without requiring it to wear a little saddle and win the Kentucky Derby. Books, in my world, are made primarily of good and serviceable sentences, surrounding a few polished jewels of prose–if you insist on polishing every single one, I suspect you get a book that appears to have been Bedazzled, or possibly Vajazzled if you’re writing that kind of book, and the glare becomes blinding, to say nothing of the smell of hot glue. Excuse me, my metaphor got out of hand, terribly sorry, will pay for all the damages…"  ---  Ursula Vernon (author of Dragonbreath, Digger, and more) on her blog

There's a lot to be said for "good and serviceable sentences."  Those Derby winners show to better effect in a field of good and serviceable, at least in my opinion.  They can nail the thought to the page, to the reader's imagination.  But I don't think any one sentence should stand out so much from those around it (for either good or bad reasons) that it throws the reader out of the story and gets them thinking about that one sentence.  

It's a balancing act, this writing gig. 

thanks for reading; comments welcome

Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Saddle for Layla

Daughter is off to the tack store to officially buy the saddle she tried out yesterday.

Buying saddles is complicated and can be incredibly frustrating.  You need to fit both horse and rider.  The rider can sit in the saddle at the shop (they have a wooden ‘fake horse’ to set the saddles on).  Then you give them your credit card info and take the saddle off to the barn to try it on the horse.  Our tack shop gives you three days to return the saddle.  If you don’t, they put through the purchase.  The last time we bought a saddle, well, I bought a saddle, I made at least four trips to the barn with anywhere from one to three saddles on the back seat of my car.  Then hauled them back the next day or so to repeat the process.  The saddle I finally bought, a used Stubben all-purpose, was in the first trip!  Daughter was hoping for a new saddle, however, and so the many trips.  They’d fit her, not horse Rudy, or we thought they fit her but once on the horse trainer said, no, seat’s too long.  And then the size she needed was not in stock and by then there was a show in less than a week.  I made the executive decision to buy the Stubben.  It was $800; bought new at that time it would have been around $1500.  It looks something like this, in a deep burgundy color:

All-purpose means it can be used for many riding disciplines.  Daughter used it for hunter/jumper.  It fit both of them well and was in perfect condition - looked like it had never been used because there were no marks from stirrup leathers.  She loves that saddle; has been riding in it for around seven years now.  It fit Rudy the quarter horse perfectly.  Unfortunately it doesn’t fit Layla the thoroughbred.  She’ll keep it, though.  Riders always have extensive collections of tack they aren’t currently using but they might need later or can be loaned to a friend in need. 

The saddle Daughter is buying today is a smooth black leather Amerigo dressage saddle, similar to this:
It was a demo, so she’s getting it at the bargain price of $2000.  It was $3625, but even that was a mark-down because that store won’t be carrying this brand any more.  The place I found this picture is selling them for around $5000.  She’s been drooling over this brand of saddle for years and is so happy she can actually have one.  She had been looking at a $1600 saddle (full price, different brand); it fit Layla but wasn’t a good fit for daughter.  So for just a bit more she’s getting a much nicer one.

Layla used to jump, but due to an injury shouldn't do it any more.  Previous owner(s) rode her in eventing.  That's arena jumping, dressage and cross-country jumping.  Daughter will be learning dressage to catch up to what her horse already knows. 

I am glad I don’t have to buy the tack any more!  And when I finally get to take some pictures of Layla and Daughter strutting their stuff, they’ll be using the new saddle.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thoughts on NaNo 2011

Another National Novel Writing Month has come to a close. 

It was a good year for me.  I reached a personal best word count of 53,454.  I completed the first draft of my novel, meaning I wrote to an ending.  Knowing how editing works, this might not stay the ending, but it is there and it works for me at the moment.  This is the first time I’ve had an ending for one of my novels. 

Many of my friends reached 50K.  (Special shout out to Matt, who’s the only other person among all the folks in the two writing groups I attend who also did NaNo this year.  He reached 50K as well.) 

I’m in withdrawal  We had a rousing virtual TGIO party last night on line in a place called The Smoking Pen Bar and Grill, a thread in the NaNo forums as well as a newly formed FB group.  As an indication of how much I am into this:  I have avoided FB completely up to now.  I joined just to be a part of the Pen FB group. 

{Aside #1:  TGIO = Thank Goodness It’s Over.  There are many local TGIO parties celebrating the end of NaNo, usually held the first weekend of December.  Although one of my NaNo buddies said in her region they held it LAST weekend, on Nov 27!  Seems a travesty.}

{Aside #2:  The Smoking Pen was created by NaNoer Kopiluwak a number of years ago.  The name comes from the rapid pace writing of NaNo, so fast the pen smokes...)

During November I was writing on my breaks at work.  Today was my first day back after the Thanksgiving holiday.  I wrote on my break!  Had an idea for a better description of something in the novel, and wrote it out.  Came home, pulled that sheet of paper from my purse and typed it in.  The same process I’d followed all through November. 

I have had a tab permanently open for the NaNoWriMo website since September.  I can’t yet bring myself to close it, even though I have a bookmark for the site.  Not ready to call it quits on this one yet! 

Oh, that final line of my novel? 

“Wherever this cruise is headed, sailor, count me in.”