Response to a daily writing prompt- Bells

This daily writing prompt was added as part of the TWWS group on Live Journal.  This was my response.  (To be fair, it took me about 16 minutes.)


Write for ten minutes on the topic: bells.


Trixie rose unsteadily to her feet. She was barefoot, naked, vulnerable. She was used to wearing beautiful things, high heels, makeup. But she wanted to come to her new Goddess completely bare. She wanted to give herself completely to Inanna without any pretensions or masks.

She had just recently decided to begin transitioning. There were still things that she didn’t love about her body. She still had square shoulders, muscular arms, and the thin hips of a man. But you could also tell that the hormones were beginning to kick in.

She was getting softer. Her voice was getting a touch higher. Her face was filling in a bit. And she had never been happier. She felt that it was part of her calling, and that she was finally becoming the Trixie that she was meant to be.

She flipped her long, black hair over her shoulder, and leaned down to make one small adjustment. Though she was naked, unadorned, she did allow herself the vanity of a few accessories. Namely, strings of bells tied around her ankles. She hoped that they would provide a musical accompaniment for her dance. She hoped that they would enhance her offering, and she somehow knew that Inanna would approve.

She crossed to the stereo, and scrolled through her iPod. There was one song in particular that called to her. She had always wanted to experience the song through movement, and this was as fitting a time to do that as any. It was a very low, rhythmic drumming with waves of droning behind it. It sped up to a crescendo, the droning becoming a chant, and finally a supplication, and it had always reminded Trixie of the slow build of a really great orgasm.

The music began, and so did she. She began by just swaying. She really didn’t have any idea what kind of dance Inanna would like, so she waited for the music to lead her. Before long, it did.

She spread her feet to shoulder width and began to move her pelvis in an erotic, pendulous rhythm. It felt right. And as she bent her knees, dropping her center of gravity lower to the floor, she felt even more right.

Something told her to move in front of the full-length mirror, and she did so without hesitation. She repeated the same motions, loving the curves and lines that her body made in the reflection. She dropped her hips farther, and slowly began to caress her torso.

She was smooth from a recent waxing, and moisturized every day. The result was that her golden skin gleamed in the candlelight. Her hair also shone, the curls catching the candlelight as well, but it was her eyes that really shone. They were usually a deep black, but they were catching the golden glow of the candles and sparkling as if they were lit from some internal flame.

She raised her hands over her head and began moving in earnest as the drum beats came quicker and quicker. She moved her feet to twist and reach, and the music took her away. As she began to reach the climax of the song, she realized that she was actually beginning to climax herself.

It wasn’t a typical male orgasm, rather something internal. A rhythmic clenching and releasing from deep inside her. She could only imagine that it was spiritual as well as physical. She was hard as a rock, but she didn’t come. Not the way she was used to anyways. Her muscles tensed and she shook as her body was rocked by something she had never experienced before.

She fell to the plush carpet, and writhed as the spasms took her body over and over again. She must have spent 10 minutes in the throes of bliss, long after the music had slowed. But there was still drumming. She could feel her heart beating, drumming inside her body in time with her Goddess.

Her offering had been accepted.

Roadtrip memento idea (a.k.a. Witch Bottle)

I knew that when we took our roadtrip, I would want something from the road where I made my offering.  I had an idea that acorns would be good, one chosen by each of us, and representing each of my three main protagonists.

However, I had NO idea what that would turn into.

As we were getting ready to leave, I glanced around trying to find something to hold my acorns.  Lo and behold, I found a small mason jar, and thought that would work just as a quick fix.  Little did I know that I would need to choose a bigger jar when we got home because of all the goodies I found.


Things I collected:

-Two striped green berries of some species of the Solanus (Nightshade) family.  (Possibly Horse Nettle or Tropical Soda Apple)  We found this at a little roadside cemetery where we met two farmers that let us walk up and take pictures of the cemetery on their private property.

-A mystery seed pod found at the same farm.  It’s fuzzy and wispy, almost like mature dandelion, but has green seeds (1/2 cm) embedded in the fuzz.  Can’t find a damn thing about it online.

-The pink seed head of an ornamental grass we saw growing in the main square of Madison, Ga.

-3 petals from a sunflower at a huge sunflower farm we stopped at.

-Fuzzy baby chestnuts from the road where my story is set.

-A mature, dried thistle head from the same road.

-Several acorns from the cemetery at the top of the road.  We picked the three, and then I kept picking them up because there were so many pretty ones.

-Rusted iron finials from some sort of railing or fence, from the same cemetery.  They were just stuck in the middle of the dirt and didn’t seem to be attached to anything.  There were two, and I took both.

-A piece of moss from the same cemetery.

-3 pieces of really clear, pretty quartz, a garnet, and a chip of flint from the same cemetery.


This is going to become a tradition for any time we go somewhere.  Bear and J had a great time, so I think we’ll be doing this again sometime when we have the money and the day off together.  I would love to collect a jar from each trip and keep it on a shelf over my desk, with the date and main location of the trip written on the top in Sharpie.


Looks like we found a new tradition.  🙂

Scouting locations for my novel

I’m a Georgia girl, through and through.  And so when I first began thinking of my story, I didn’t even think twice about where it would be set.  Granted, it’s in a smaller town than I grew up in, kind of out in the middle of nowhere, compared to the busy suburb of Atlanta that I live in.  But it was definitely colored by growing up here with the heat, the drawl, and the buzz of cicadas all summer long.

So I started looking.  First, it was just a way to procrastinate.  I knew the basics about my town, but I was curious about where to set it.  I thought it would help me to develop an idea about Vine’s career, and the areas she would be working in.  So I started a search.

And I bought a book.  Haunted Georgia by Alan Brown got me started.  I found out about an ENORMOUS, mostly abandoned sanitarium in Milledgeville, GA.  And when I looked around the area on Google Maps, I found a small dirt road about 1/2 hour away.  The name was just too good to pass up.  And when I saw that there was a creek that ran alongside the road, exactly where I had imagined a creek, and that that creek was also perfectly named, I had to go with it.

And I planned a road trip.  I also stopped at a few other places of interest, including the grave of Flannery O’Connor in a historical Milledgeville cemetery, and the aforementioned sanitarium.

Bear was still living in Maryland, and it drove me nuts to go on a fun road trip without him.  But I kept him in the loop via text and tweets, and sent pics as I went along.

I’ve always wanted to take him back.

And today, I did.  It was beyond exciting for me.  I love sharing everything with him, and I wanted him to see this place that was so important to me.  We also brought J, and it was a huge added bonus to show him as well.  We had a great time.


Glint/Willowisp is set on a small dirt road in the middle of nowhere.  I see it as a place set aside.  It’s a place that you wouldn’t pick out on a map, and that has been protected by magick and by its remoteness from outside influences.


Today, when I went back, we explored the road a little more than I did the first time.  I took some great shots of the road, and hopefully one will work for the cover of my book with some Photoshopping magick.  We also checked out the small country church and tiny cemetery at one end of the road.  In my book, the cemetery is where the town’s residents are all buried, including Vine’s aunt June.  It looks different from what I imagined in my book.

I wanted to make an offering to the land, and I found the area near where Vine’s house would be set.  I also wanted to say thank you for the perfect setting, and ask to be bound to the land.

So I brought a knife and an apple.  I found a nice little patch of ground with some pretty purple flowers, and cut the apple in half across the middle so that the pentagram formed by the 5 seeds was visible.  Then I sliced my arm (just a touch), and smeared a bit of blood on each half of the apple.  I leaned down to place them in front of the flowers, and just as I did, I felt a sharp sting.  I looked down to see that an ant had bitten me just as I placed the offering.

I took this to mean that the Goddess heard me.  I’m also taking it as an acceptance of my desire to be bound by the land, as the poison of the ant is in my body now.  So I feel as if there’s some of the energy of the place inside me too now.  I felt that it meant more than just a rotten accident.

Which is good, because I’m really allergic to ant bites, and my finger swelled up so that I almost couldn’t move it.  (It’s better now.)  I’ll probably write it into my story, as Vine tends to be just as accident prone as me, maybe more so.


It’s time to prioritize things.  I have a ton of things going on, and some things are going to have to be sacrificed to make time for the things that really, REALLY count.  Here’s my list.

1. Bear.  This includes keeping us healthy, so we can be together for a long, long time.
2. The house.  i.e. Coming up with money for property taxes so we can KEEP said house.  We need a place to live.
3. Writing.  I really want to make a go of this.  I’m so close to finishing my first novel that I can feel it, and I’m already 17K into my second novel in the series.  I want to spend less time on things that don’t get me further in my writing aspirations.
4. Spirituality.  I’m feeling that Autumnal pull to go inward.  I want to focus on myself and on moving my life in a positive direction.
5. J, the dogs, my family, friends, work, everything else that’s important is here.

Things that I’ve pulled back from: kink (and Fetlife), our search for a third, video gaming (unless after a SUPER stressful day- then Minecraft is the only thing I can focus on), TV, visual arts (excluding the cover I’m working on now), Facebook, Twitter, etc.  I’m trying really hard to cut some of the clutter in my life.  I should probably work on cutting the clutter in my house too as an extension of that, but that would just be another time-waster at this point.

I need to print this, fold it up, and keep it in my pocket.

News in writing: Not a lot has been happening.  I’ve been in a cycle of crazy work schedules, and it’s tough for me to put aside time to write.  Since my job also puts me in a lot of pain, it’s easy to just vegetate and feel sorry for myself.  It makes it tough for me to focus on the writing I need to be doing.

These are all excuses.  I need to get over them.  Coffee and ibuprofen are my best friends.


The weather is getting cooler, and again, that drives me to go inward.  I like to examine where I am at in my life and see what I can improve around this time.  Summer’s energies are just so scattered and frantic, but Autumn brings the stillness needed for good introspection.

I miss my spirituality.  We take the sabbats as a day off from the diet, and I usually try to make a feast of some sort.  This year, I made pork roast with sweet potatoes and apples, kale, and an apple crisp for dessert.  It was freakin’ fabulous.

This year, I also began to examine my spirituality a little more.  It occurred to me that I’m writing this idealized pagan town, but I never, ever hang out with fellow pagans.  Why?  Because some of them are crazy, a lot of covens are just filled with drama and chaos, and so many pagans take themselves really seriously.  Basically, they just aren’t my sort of folks.

I know that there are lovely pagans out there, I just don’t quite know how to find them.  Even if I DID know how to find them, my schedule/finances are such that I can’t go to meetings/celebrations/etc anyways.

So the people of Glint (which may become the town of Willowisp- haven’t decided yet) have been extensions of myself and my own spiritual practice.  I’ve always been solitary, and they are kind of idealized versions of facets of what I practice/believe.  I wonder if I’m not getting enough variety that way, and I want to solve that.

To that end, I’ve been watching YouTube videos of pagans.  Some are wonderful, some are a bit on the woogie side.  So I think I want to write some woogie pagans as well for balance.  Should be a fun edit!


Putting aside kink is a biggie for me.  It’s been a main focus of my life for probably the last 5 years or so.

That’s not to say that we won’t be having kinky sex.  That will NEVER go away.  But I just want to pull back from all the public parts of it.  Fetlife is a huge time waster for me, and it’s also kind of a reminder of the disappointment I’ve been feeling over not being able to find play partners for us.  We had a third, it didn’t work out, and I put a lot of energy into finding another boy for us.

Not anymore.  I just honestly don’t care.  It was never a case of Bear not being enough for me, I just thought it would bring us some extra happiness- which is in short supply.  But it didn’t happen, and I’m taking that as a sign that we’re just not in the right place for it to happen yet.  I’m keeping an open mind, but I’m not searching like I was.

Also, Bear and I have been together for 3 years, and he’s always, ALWAYS wanted to be a rope bottom for me.  I’ve just never gotten there.  The logistics of tying a 6’6″ Bear have added that extra layer of difficulty that have prevented me from trying.  I’m going to try.  He deserves all of my attention.


Thursday we’re taking a road trip to the road where I’m setting my town.  I can’t wait!  I made this trip one summer before Bear moved here, and I’ve always wanted to take him back there.  We also have the added company of our roommate/ex, and the three of us usually have a great time together.

So we’re going to go there and take some pics of the road for the cover of my first book.  Then we’re going to explore an abandoned sanitarium close by, and hit a small, historical town on the drive.  It should be a lot of fun!  We don’t take nearly enough road trips.


I’m also going to start cross-posting my entries here into a Live Journal account under the same name.  The writing group that I was accepted into (there’s not enough YAY!) has a group there, and that will allow me to keep in touch there too.

Writing critique group- pt. 2

I just sent my short story along to the woman I met at Dragon*Con.  And now the worrying begins.  *shudder*

In other writing news, I’ve been using this spreadsheet to keep track of my writing for the year.  I love it!  It has a lot of the features that I love about the NaNoWriMo counter, but there’s a spot for notes too.  You can track your writing for the entire year and set your goals however you would like.  I highly recommend it.

I haven’t actually been able to WRITE much lately, but we’ve had a lot of post-wedding family stuff going on.  I’m hoping to write 100K before the end of the year.  With the 50K from NaNoWriMo, that isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility.  Here’s hoping! 🙂

The mythical, fabled ‘writing group’

This is a magical, fantastical thing that I’ve been searching for for quite some time.  And in the ‘Short and Not So Sweet Stories’ panel, Eugie Foster and several other panelists kept stressing the need to find a good critique group.

I really have tried.  I looked online, and mostly found writing communities where you post your work for free and buy critiques for points, or critique the work of others for points.  While that sounds fine, the communities were large, and it seems like the potential to have my work stolen was too much of a risk.  (I’m NOT suffering under any illusions that my work is good enough to steal, but I do think my ideas are interesting, and would rather not take that chance just the same, thankyouverymuch.)

So I raised my hand.  I asked the question that had been driving me absolutely crazy.  “Do you have any suggestions for how to find a good critique group?”

Immediately, 2 of the panelists suggested, and I have since checked it out.  It looks good.  However, what I was really excited about was a small piece of paper that a woman slipped me for another, private critique group.  HOLY SHIT!  Apparently this is how it’s done.  I felt like I had FINALLY been let in on the big secret club.

So I’m trying to finish a short story that I had mostly already finished to send it in.  I’m a little nervous for several reasons. 

A. Short stories are not my forte. 
B. It’s basically erotica.  In the context of the collection, it will just be one of many stories with different focuses, but as a stand-alone it’s just erotica. 
C. I really have trouble sending my work out for critique.  It happened quite a lot when I was more focused on visual arts.  I do get protective of my babies.  And I know I need to grow a thick skin, but it just takes some courage the first few times.

I’m really hoping that this works out, since I know that I will definitely need beta readers, editors, and just someone to tear my stuff apart so that I can finish with a product that I can be proud of.  It will also hold me accountable for getting so much writing done per week, and I need that challenge.

So, this is me, crossing my fingers and hoping that I’ll be taking this next step soon.  🙂


On the home front, did I mention that I got married at Dragon*Con?  It was a super-secret, stealth wedding, and we managed to pull it off without a hitch.  Well, there was a ‘hitch’, but, you know.. 

My Bear and I have been through SO much over the past 2 years.  We’ve had 2 parents pass away, 3 other family members pass away, health issues (he had a heart attack in May), and some pretty severe financial issues. 

It was SO nice to be able to have a wedding.  We truly didn’t think it would be possible.  And we had SUCH big plans for one too.  It was going to be whimsical Victorian, complete with tophats and octopi and a tattoo artist at the reception to tattoo our rings.

There’s no way that was going to happen.  So what’s the next best thing?  What makes a geek in love’s heart go pitter pat?  Getting married at Dragon*Con.  It was pretty fabulous.

We owe a lot of friends a huge debt of gratitude for helping us make it happen.  We’re very lucky to have so many amazing people around us.

Also, that’s my (really good) excuse for not finishing Camp NaNoWriMo in August.  I didn’t finish in June because of the aforementioned heart attack, and in August, I was planning a stealth wedding. 

November is MINE, however.  I’ve been writing every single day, no matter how crazy my work day.  Even if it’s 300 words, I’m doing it.  So hopefully November won’t be so chaotic.

Also, in preparation, THIS.

My Hero (notes)

I attended a very similar panel last year, but it’s funny how some of the information is exactly the same, and some panelists will have completely different takes on the same topic.

Panelists were:

Lynn Abbey
AJ Hartley
Gary Kim Hayes
Diana Peterfreund
Janny Wurts

-Protagonist is necessary, hero is optional.
-Hero tries to do the right thing, usually after doing the wrong thing several times.
-Protag is the character that learns, grows and changes the most by the end of the story.  (Neville vs. Harry in Harry Potter series)
-Protag doesn’t always have to be good, but they should be good at sometime.  Gives something to root for.  (Sons of Anarchy)
-Motivation is key- likeability is based on relationships moreso than actions.
-Gene Roddenberry made all heroes good and moral, and villians were bad and did bad things- no shades of grey.
-Grimdark- dark and gritty
-What makes a good character?  Strength, depth (how they handle failures, they don’t always succeed but how do they put themselves back together?), motivation and conflict (goal must be noble somehow and relatable), CORE (hero has something inside that can’t be broken, even if everything around them IS broken), choice (character must make a choice to do the right thing even if they’re otherwise weak), clever.
-Funny, bad circumstance, kind, good at what they do-there are ways to build sympathy, best if you have 2 or 3.
-Scarlett O’Hara- Does shitty things, but she is the only character with strength, her goal is to keep her family’s plantation.
-Make the reader want to know what the end of the character’s story is.
-There are also stories where the characters and plot are just a mechanism to move the reader through a really cool world- Wizard of Oz, Narnia, Harry Potter, etc.



Vampires, Demons, and Werewolves–Oh My! (notes)

This was more an exploration of paranormal fiction and urban fantasy.  It wasn’t such an instructional panel, but I always take things away.  So the notes will be short.

Lucienne Diver
Debra Dixon
Nancy Knight
Jana Oliver
Samantha Sommersby
Jennifer St. Giles
Jeanne C. Stein


Bellbridge Books (team tattoo?)
-Jana Oliver- writes about Atlanta demons

-How do you differentiate yourself in the (flooded) urban fantasy market? -Compelling, unique protagonists, good if there’s something visual about the character that can go on the cover.  -Interesting side characters “snarky hell hound named Fang”.  -Show uniqueness in first 3 or 4 paragraphs (rusty pentagram hanging from Vine’s rearview mirror)


-Write the book you want to read, stop trying to write for the market, it can take 2 years to publish anyways.

-Jack Catchum (sp?)- creepy mood

3 dimensional characters, not all good or all bad- Give Vine a dark side?

-Necro City (Calaina Price?)

-Compelling world, even if it’s an existing place, point out the uniqueness.

-Think about ALL formats that books can be published in- Ebook, paper, audio, make it work for everything.

-Difference between horror and urban fantasy- Does your monster scare you or turn you on?  Also, lots of ass-kicking in urban fantasy.

Hourly Writing Seminar: Talk to Me (notes)

The hourly writing seminars are always a good bet at D*Con, but this was the only one that I could afford to attend.  I’ve been to a lot more previously, but at $10 each, they can add up quickly.  Still worth every penny:

Please keep in mind that my notes are all over the place. I mostly just write down things that apply to my own writing or where I am in my particular journey, as it were.

This seminar was given by Aaron Alston.

-Dialogue can contribute to characterization, or mood and tone.
-Character Voice Hook- can establish unique quality in speaker’s voice so reader can recognize voice later even if character isn’t identified through attribution.  Only use for one or two characters, since if it’s overdone, it will make the dialogue seem fake and overacted.  -Also effective is using a catch phrase or other CVH, and then suddenly leaving it out where a reader would expect it.  Almost more powerful in its omission.  Hook can be a conceit, punctuation, catch phrase, etc.
-Unattributed dialogue is much cleaner, you can imply attribution by pace or hook.
-“Performer Voice”- Invoke a picture of character in your mind to automatically channel their voice.  Can be based on celebrities, family members, coworkers, etc.  (Vesta= Paula Deen)
-Adjusting character voices- In editing and rewriting passes.  Adjust meticulousness/sloppiness in speech.  (Also, variations in speech patterns.  Someone who’s usually terse gets long winded- seems important somehow.  Think Silent Bob.)
-Exaggeration and hyperbole- Might be good for Travis.  (12 word rule- Sentences of about 12 words are perfect for absorption, variations on that will drive home different moods, etc.)
-Re: Dialects-The reader should read so that the words disappear.  They should be lost in visualization, and dialect can ruin that unless it’s done very carefully.  Use very minimally, maybe just one word, and use it occasionally.  (Maybe pagan phrases like ‘Blessed Be’ or ‘This turn’.)
-Clavell-Shogun- has dialogue that is very cumbersome at the beginning, but gets easier as the book goes along.  It’s about a person becoming used to a culture, so it was done well and intentionally.
-Words can be used for world-building (i.e. A beast of burden on an alien planet called an utan or something similar), just don’t overwhelm the reader with difficult words that they have to remember the meanings of.
-Keep in mind who the speaker is talking to.  People talk differently to children vs. authority figures, etc.
-Evoke reader participation, particularly by omission.  For example, “You don’t want to go down there…”  But with no reason why.
-Humor in dialogue-Offering unexpected responses, breaking the ‘social contract’ by not following normal social dialogue rules, etc.