This was supposed to go out before yesterday's post but the gremlins got me, as they did for Crystal Gate. Unfortunately I've been called into work and have to go NOW so can't fix that post until much later, but I will make it much more readable. Not sure what went wrong there, or it is the wrong draft perhaps grrrs and all that, but I will get to it ASAP.
I haven't written on here for a while because I am been insanely busy. As an author, I should be churning out 'stuff' 24/7 to keep my popularity going. As a person, well, cannot do it right now.
2013 has been filled with work and mental and physical exhaustion. Yes, I will admit to it. I am not superwoman. I have had ups and downs with minor health issues, which always seem to come back to stress. So it has been a journey of self-discovery; what I can tolerate and what not.
Grief remains adamant. When you lose a son nothing remains the same, When you lose a child and don't know what happened, not truly, then somehow it is worse. That not knowing can quietly drive a person nuts.
But I have found peace in other things. What I haven't been able to do is find the energy to write. Except, that urge always lingers in my brain.
I can't do the self-pub thing with all the social media that entails. I just can't. I also believe that authors should be paid for their work and if, it is properly edited and shiny, then don't let it go for free unless it is a promotion for another novel just coming out. Because most authors work their socks off to produce. While the advent of e-books has given so many that opportunity to get their work out there, it isn't always as diamond sharp as it could be.
Saying all of that, because I, personally, right now don't want to go the properly published route, that doesn't mean to say anyone shouldn't try first. Both self-published and main stream published have their advantages, and those guys who we have followed for years - where would be without mainstream publication? I will pay for a DGB (damned good book) because I love reading. I love quality, properly edited reading.
Now I have said all of that I am going to post a chapter or two of 'The Crystal Gate' on here. Why? Because if anyone can get some enjoyment out of it, I will be happy. I don't like stuff sitting on my hard drive doing absolutely nothing when, perhaps, folk will get some fun.
I want people to be critical. I want them to say what they like and dislike. because, we are all different. Let's have a bit of fun. Writers and readers, say how you feel and I promise not to be all 'uppity author' but listen.
I chose this one because it has always been a work in progress through my love of crystals, and the dh just bought me a wonderful crystal. Therefore I need to get this out there. At least my intuition is saying so.
So let's do it. The only thing I ask is to please comment so I know you are reading, otherwise, well, I won't know, will I? :)
Also, sometimes this format isn't as perfect as it could be, so bear with me.
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A short story to show where the title of this blog came from.

               
Like a subliminal message or a mote in someone’s eye, he launches from
the ocean; a pure dart so that water barely ripples, just streams from his
scaled hide in pearled bubbles and rippling beauty no one sees. He is a shadow
which passes and when people turn, no one is there.
                
His wings reflect light, his upturned snout breathes fire, his talons stretch to the air. His eyes are the color of obsidian, his scales formed of diamond and verdigris.
                
Up he goes, faster than minds can encompass. Through clouds, a streak of wind past a plane, a comet of light and dark. He punches through Earth’s atmosphere and opens his wings.
                
Thought, imagination, reality, these take him where he wishes to go. Not here, not there, but everywhere and somewhere, and maybe nowhere at all.
                
He knows this universe isn’t everything. One plane of existence? Ah no. It is just all that people understand because their minds refuse to encompass more—yet. They catch glimpses and name them angels and aliens, ghosts or spirits. Such creatures arrive in their dreams or their meditations, but people never truly believe. They are too
afraid.
                
No one has to go up or out to reach another world. They have to go in.
                
Who is he, this pure dart of magic?
                
Must he have a name? If there is one to be found it is Imaginarium. The place people go to when their minds have no other answers. 
                
Is he real?
                
Of course he is. Thought is real and do people not always ask where ideas come from? But he is more than thought. He chooses to spread his wings, to search for those answers people want. And for that he travels far and wide.
                
Imaginarium rules the skies, the earth, the stars, the sea. He sees all and may be anything you wish, and if you ask the right questions, he might reveal all. He is king or god, spirit or man.

 
#
 
                
Tali pauses, listening for what she knows cannot be there. She lost him, you see, her lover. It wasn’t her fault. In some ways she wishes it was, because then she would have a reason for his absence. He’s gone and will never come back. Passed over to the ‘other side’. Yet still she listens for the sound of his breathing as she sleeps. His death is so fresh she can smell his scent on the sheets and the pillows. Pick hairs from his brush and hear his laughter. She won’t part with anything. Not his stinky socks or the last message on her phone. She remembers that last morning and the words that were spoken. Her lips tingle with that final lingering kiss.
                
Her fingers creep to her lips, and the tears fall yet again. He cannot be gone because he was her soulmate. She is nothing without him; she’ll do anything to get him back. She would sell her soul if she had to. If that is what it takes.
                
She stares at his picture on the wall, willing him to come to her. His presence fills her, sets her heart aching. If she closes her eyes she can see him just as clearly. And if he is gone to the ‘other side’, why can’t he come back to her? Tell her what happened; why he had to go? Because there is a reason for everything, isn’t there. No such thing as coincidence. There has to be answers!
                
Was he that candle that burned too bright? Was he too good for this world? Is that why?

 
#
 
                
She goes to the place where he disappeared--a fast flowing river where no one saw him slip. She doesn’t know exactly where it happened. No one does, but she stands on the riverbank watching the mesmerizing ripples, listening to the sounds of the water as it rushes over river rocks, and the trees dancing overhead in a gentle breeze, their leaves whispering secrets only they can tell.
                
It would be so easy to follow him. To let herself be pulled along by the current and down to the watery depths. For moments she dreams of floating beside him.
                
“And then what would happen? Would it be what he’d want?”
                
With a gasp, Tali turns. A man stands in the shadows of the trees lining the river bank. He wears a hat similar to a fedora so that his face lies in shadow. He is tall and lean, with something of the predator in his stance. Tali’s heart clenches at that animal-ready
tenseness.
                
“What do you know about it?” she snaps, while her spine prickles with strangeness. Because she senses an otherness here. It fills the air surrounding him. As though this world was never enough.
                
It is early morning. A time she chose for the least amount of people. Which in retrospect, despite her suicidal thoughts, might have been foolish, because there is a difference when someone comes to take your choices away. She moves closer to a tree as he answers her, one hand on the rough bark of a birch to anchor her to reality.
                
“I know that life doesn’t stop simply because the body dies.”
                
Tali stares at him, trying to see beneath the hat. Such a strange creature. He has long dark hair and wears a leather overcoat that nearly touches the ground. Odd apparel for a walk by the river.

  “Then why hasn’t he come back to me?”

  And an odd conversation to be having with a complete stranger.

He lifts a long-fingered hand. There are rings on some of his fingers. Morning sunlight glints off the gold so that her eyes are drawn, and when she looks up again somehow he has moved right next to her. Her heart, already beating too quickly, pounds with
fear. He possesses a musky, animal smell, or perhaps that is his coat. She doesn’t know and shouldn’t care about such minor details, yet nothing is normal about this man.

“Because one can never go back,” he says. “Oh, we might try, but changing time was never an option.”

Tali’s lips tremble. She doesn’t want to hear the truth. Tears splash to the ground. When he leans forward and traces a tear with one long finger she is locked in grief yet again. Locked so tightly she does not move.

“You will meet him again in another place, another time.”

“That isn’t what I want,” she whispers. “I want him now.”

 He enfolds her within that great leather coat. She should be terrified and while her heart continues to race, it is no longer in fear but in anticipation. Will she meet her lost lover no matter what this man says?

But he doesn’t take her back. Not back to that time where she might have said, “No, don’t go.” He takes her up and up so that she thinks she must be going to Heaven. Despite his coat she feels the burn of the wind on her cheeks and the force of it against her eyes, so that she closes them. If he means to kill her then she has made her choice.

It isn’t death he offers. They stand on a mountaintop. She has no idea how he brought her here, it happened so fast. She looks at the snowcapped peaks of other megaliths, at the stark, magnificent beauty of a place others rarely see. 

“This is your world,” he says to the un-asked questions spiraling though her mind. “This is strength and beauty. It is permanence and ambiguity. One day even the mountains shall erode but something else will take their place. Nothing stands still, nothing remains the same. Nothing remains as we wish it. We all want answers, but is it wise to have them?”

“I need to know why he went.”

“And what if he tells you he couldn’t take life anymore? What if he truly didn’t love
you?”

“I wouldn’t believe that.”

“What if he tells you he was murdered?”

“Then I would find his murderers and take my revenge.”

“What if he tells you he slipped?”

“Then I will call him an idiot for being so stupid, but I’d still love him.”

“So you have already formed  the answers you wish. But what if it isn’t the answer he
gives?”

Tali wraps her arms around her body. It is as cold on this mountaintop as her heart. “I don’t know, but who are you to ask these questions?”

 He smiles, lifting his face, and for the first time she sees him. She would not call him handsome but intriguing. The angles of his face are sharp as knives. She had thought, once they were flying, that perhaps he might be an angel.

“What do you wish me to be?”

She draws in a sharp breath. “I—I want you to be my answers,” she says, “but you are asking me the questions.”

“Because in the end, the answers belong to us.”


“I don’t understand.”

“You want to know what I am, but knowing it changes nothing. The same as knowing how your lover died. It will change nothing for you, because it is you who are here.”

She stares across the vista. “It changes everything. Without him I am nobody.”

“Then why did he choose you?”

“Don’t,” she says. For he chose her for her strength.

He laughs at her and she knows why. She has the answers she wants and she needs no one to tell her. The truth is, there aren’t always labels even when we most desire them. There isn’t always logic where logic should exist. She takes three steps to the edge of the peak and stands there in the ice-wind. Her body is already numb from the cold, but her heart is no longer frozen. She turns to face him. “What you are really
  talking about is choices. I choose to believe that he didn’t mean to go.  You said that life doesn’t stop simply because the body dies. Therefore I choose to join him.”

And she jumps.

She knows, because of what he has said and what he has already done, that this isn’t just a man. So she refuses suicide; she chooses another kind of life. She uses her imagination, not fearing as her body tumbles free, because her mind shows her other
  possibilities.
 
#

 
Imaginarium dives, wings out-stretched, obsidian eyes focused. He can be what she wishes; her lover, her friend, her imagination. He chooses. Her spirit soars with his, because she has chosen, too, this strong, strong spirit which refuses death.

Perhaps he is an angel; perhaps he is death; perhaps he is god, because he can be whatever he wishes. And he becomes the dragon within. He chooses to take Tali with him on that path. He is not her lover. He is possibilities and she can soar with him.
Or she can find another path.

 He
waits.


Even Imagination can get
lonely.


 
                


 
 
I didn't mean to come here, but apparently LJ wants me to write something.
Philosophising a bit. I am still 'working' on the great move, but we have
already decided that if it doesn't happen there is this and that and the other
to be done. It is a difficult one. Memories can be pretty ferocious. Forex I am
in the yard right now looking at a trash can. The trash can has rather large
holes in it. Hmms, the sons one day decided to paintball it. But would we move
it? of course not. And while the memory remains in the mind, the object of it
will not. There are many things I have already parted with, because, 'things'
don't hold the memories as such, but, still, it is hard to let them go. But they
would pile up like a pyramid. What do I seriously do with army shirts and socks
and a dress coat? I have no idea, but to let it go out of the door to someone
who won't care? That is a different matter. So you get left with this conundrum
that you don't 'need' objects.
In some ways it is like when Mak passed last
week. Do you want a paw print, do you want his ashes etc. I said, no, I just
want his leash. The same one which went through four other wolfhounds. I don't
*need* ashes or pawprints. Not to say I wouldn't have appreciated them but...
the best memory I have is a photo of Rich and Mak together. That is all I
need.
Spiritual folk have all said I need to let Rich go. I kinda laugh at
that. You don't let a child go. You hold him in your heart forever. Especially
when there are still those wretched questions. I ask, what do they mean exactly
and they can never tell me. Like I won't let my mum go, or Buster, or Everest,
or Bridie, or Faolan, or Tigger, or my dad. No, you never let them *go*. Because
you hold them in your heart and soul.
I refuse not to wear Rich's dogtags. I
refuse to take a picture down, but really, those things don't matter when you
think of them. But in some ways they do. Memory is a fickle thing and I *refuse*
to let any of those I have 'lost' leave my memory. They are all important and
will remain so. There isn't an hour I don't think of Rich in some shape or form.
Not obsessed, just, he won't leave me either. I think of that daft Canadian
horse I had so briefly, with love and exasperation. The cats, the dogs, the
people. I don't separate them in my mind. Not the same kinds of grief. I noticed
that with Mak. He (kindly) let us know when it was time and it was so different.
Hurtful, of course. There were many tears, but it wasn't the same as that
snatching away of a life too young, but an acceptance of, I am tired, I've had
enough. Much as my mum when she passed with cancer. She'd simply had enough. Or
my dad or G's dad. They'd reached their span. My mum was far too young but I
remember her saying, I am so tired of pain. I've had enough.
it is why,when I
try to explain to people, Rich was so different. I can't get my head around this
thing where our lives are mapped out and we have choices, because I don't
believe he had a choice. I could be innocent/naive/daft, but I don't think I am.
He never meant to go and the resonance of that lingers. It echoes ever day where
other grief's fade so much more quickly. And folk will say, well, he was your
child, of course. Yes. But I am tired of pain. The pain of that hurt. And Rich
and I were clones of a sort. We looked alike, we thought alike, and while I
hadn't had to scrape up the body parts of comrades, I know exactly what that
would do to me. I know nightmares of guilt and pain, and still I know that he
would no more than me have jumped. So that pain, is a different kind all
together.
 
 
It seems as though it is world news that Calgary flooded. And it did, Many people are now suffering the loss of their most precious memories. I can't imagine and don't want to. If I lost Rich's stuff and memories of parents I would be devastated also.
But, from experience, although items are precious, they aren't the memories we hold in our hearts, so if you do lose photos and mementos, no, it isn't the end of the world. As it says of Rich's stone and I quote often, "To Live in the hearts of others, is never to die". And while it hurts to lose those items, they are just that *things*, which will never replace your memories. The rest? Pah, it is just stuff. it hurts because you paid for it, but you have your life and that is the most precious thing ever. *Stuff*. I've moved countries and given or dumped loads of stuff. You feel a pang for so many moments and then - poof - it is gone, and instead you get a wonderful sense of freedom.
The reason I've been absent lately is because we are contemplating moving house. So, yes, I get the *stuff* business. As I am supposed to make my house into a show home, I am forced to discard or pack numerous items. I go through it and ask, have I touched this in a year, six months - several years. Things I have hung onto for - what reason? It is liberating, believe me.
I just read a devastating news report where a guy and his gal were camping and they got washed away. he lost her. Nothing else mattered. Fortunately there were very few deaths in this flooding. At least human ones. I tend to worry more about the animals, not because I am cold-hearted but simply because we have the amenities to escape and many animals don't. I WOULD NOT leave mine. Capitals because that is the way I am. I would swim with the horse towing an irish wolfhound behind with a cat on the horse's back before I left any - just sayin'. Because the family would have the smarts (one hopes) to get to safety. And they would be waiting for me on high ground. We'd survive, not relying on modern society to help us. because that is the way we are.
We have been fortunate. We have a sump pump which has worked and we haven't lost anything, but I am not complacent. I lost a son to a raging river, and you never forget that. I lost something more precious than any *things* or *stuff*, and most of Calgary, High River, Can more and other places which have flooded have been exactly the same spirit. Stuff doesn't matter, not where lives are concerned. You have your life, you go on.
On a final note. Don't denigrate Calgary Stampede for the show must go on. Applaud them, because when people are down they need something to lift their spirits, and while people have been simply amazing with help and charity, the stampede said, let the show go on and they didn't ask for help, they've done it themselves, because, when it comes around, that is Albertan spirit. Their electronics are waterlogged, their whole ground is covered in silt, but the spirits of Calgary is there and I agree with them - the show must
 
 
As anyone knows, moving house is a PIA. Especially the preparation, which entails cleaning everything within an inch of its life and... basement hell. But the worst thing is throwing out all those things you collected while living in a place for fifteen years. Those boxes you kept in case you had to take something back. Those things you kept just because they might come in useful 'one; day.
One of those things were toys. I've kept them for the grandkids but who knows if they will want to play with them. I've kept some but I had a chest full of lego and Kinnects and various other items I thought could go. I asked my neighbour across the road if her kids would be interested. It seems today that most kids have 'everything' and toys get thrown away or given to Value village or similar or the local kindergarten, but small lego bricks weren't really suitable. Also, to be partisan it is mostly boy stuff, although with lego you can pretty well do as you please even if it was originally a space shuttle. To my surprise she said yes. I am not sure she knew how much but T and I toted it across the road in several boxes.
However, the thing which made me smile? The children last night came over with two cards they'd meticulously penned in thanks. Beautifully decorated and thoughtful. And told me how much fun they'd had with the 'stuff' already. I had a huge smile on my face. I was so thrilled that someone else will get the pleasure of what my kids had.

In other more bookish thoughts. I have noticed that some of my reviews for "Games of Adversaries" say words like - I was surprised by the content - therefore I think I should come up with another blurb. I will attempt to write one over the next few days, but if anyone can sum up for me in a paragraph how 'they' saw the novel then I would be incredibly grateful. If I can get opinions first then it would help me to see what truly stood out. I will look through the reviews and go from there, but if you have any thoughts I would appreciate them.
 
 
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 Games  of Adversaries (Kindle
Edition)
June
13, 2013 
By P.  Kater
Format:Kindle
Edition

Games of Adversaries was quite a surprise for me. In the  beginning it seemed to jump from one type of reality to something so completely  different that I wondered if I had missed something. Not in the least though, as  reading on showed me.

This story deals with a coming together of cultures  so different that it's amazing. I don't want to spoil anything for you but that  is difficult. There are two main characters, one from each world, and they need  to work out a mutual problem, but before they are ready to do that they first  need to find a commonplace where they understand each other's background. This,  of course, goes with plenty of problems.

The story flows well, moves  along swiftly and yet brings enough information and
background to understand the  implications of most actions. I appreciated this
book very much.

 
 
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One of the other loves of my life, is my horse Merlin. He's a complicated fellow, as most horses are. He is quite typically herdbound, in that he hates to be away from his herd and goes into panic mode if he's in a pasture alone. That's pure instinct, because in a horse's mind that is danger. There are some horses this doesn't bother too much, but mine isn't one of them. He doesn't really like being ridden alone either, but he's brave enough to do it. This usually means long conversations on my part because he listens to every word I say.
I am quite horrified by how fat he's got this year. He doesn't normally, but then I haven't had much time to ride. I don't want him to founder so I thought I'd take him a bit further than usual today. His idea of rebelliousness when away from the herd is to toss his head. Annoying but relatively harmless. I just try to get his focus back on me and get him to pay attention. Not always easy since Merlin thinks himself superior at times. Goes back, I think to when he was a five minute stallion and while he's not particularly studdy or has a mean bone in his body, he can decide that what Merlin thinks is best. But today he happily plowed through extremely muddy ponds and around a huge plowed field. At bit ansty at the very far corner where he definitely couldn't see the herd, and he grumbled a bit at the teeny tiny hills where, OMG work! But he was pretty relaxed most of the way and while I want him to lose weight, because of his back prob I'm not going to push it. Had one short trot and that was it. The rest, a nice steady walk.

 
 
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In lieu of Judith Tarr's article on BVC (book view café) about the League of Shattered Authors, a few things the lady said struck a chord or two.
A few years back I was a member of the OWW - Online writing workshop for science fiction and fantasy. That time was vibrant with expectancy. People had real hope of being traditionally published and were. Because most times people were honest in their critiques and enthusiastic about one another's work. We literally waited with bated breath for the next installment/chapter of our fellows' novels. Didn't matter if they were first draft or third. People like Carlos Cortes, Ilona Andrews, Elizabeth Bear, to name but a few. But, goddammit, we had fun! OWW was the first site I'd click on to to see if I had a fresh review, good or bad or indifferent. You longed and dreaded to get picked for the 'editors choice'. You strived for that recognition.
It began to change gradually with the advent of folk who, didn't truly want their work critiqued, they wanted 'five stars' to get noticed, never mind the quality. Which is a reflection of today's Amazon market. In some cases honesty has gone out the window because of 'marketing'.
In BVCs case a band of writers got together and created their own site and own company. They stuck together. Some good names there like Sherwood Smith, Judith Tarr, Katherine Kerr, Linda Nagata etc. People who are wonderful writers, who because of number crunchers can't always make a go of it in 'traditional'.
Practically, of course numbers make money, and publishing is a business like any other. But not all writers want to be in the spotlight. Not all writers want to stand from the crowd and wave their banners. 
There is a great camaraderie between writers. They write because there is something within them that must be written, and really they don't care about the format as long as they are read. We all like to make money, of course! But mostly that is so we can stay home and write instead of having to have super powers to work, run a home and family as well as write. Very, very few can give up the day job, believe me. But we still do it. We wake up early or sleep late. We snatch moments between mowing the lawn and changing diapers. We balance what is within our heads and the very real characters there and those we love who truly are real. And unless you write yourself, very few understand. I'm not sure I always do. Ego rarely comes into it except, naturally, I adore it when people enjoy what I write.
So we do it and we jump through all these blessed hoops to get our work out there as the whole publishing industry changes around us. And we still do it. While we are not exactly in the same league as 'Band of Brothers', we stick together through thick and thin. I can name six people without even thinking - Elizabeth Hull (CN Lesley), Crash Froelich, Jeanne Haskin, Michael Merriam, Patty Jansen, Linda Steele, Moi, who still write, who are published, even if it is not 'traditional' and we still support one another even if it is with a simple 'like', and those are but a few of the wonderful people I have met through writing. A community for sure.
Some days we feel like we are banging our heads against the proverbial wall, but we still do it, and no doubt we will do it as long as we can. Because really there isn't much choice.

 
 
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So thrilled with this review.

K.L. Schwengel
's review         
Jun 02, 13                     


               4 of 5 stars           
              Read in May, 2013           

            
           I admit, when I first started reading Games of Adversaries, a
sci-fi/fantasy blend, I thought, "Uh-oh, Aliens vs Cowboys." Trust me, that
movie has nothing on this book.

Curnow does a superb job of storytelling as she explores a culture clash so immense there were times I wondered how she was going to overcome the gaps. One culture is advanced enough to move among the stars. The other so medieval that food and water are their primary concerns.  Well, that and dealing with the threat of an unknown enemy possessing powers the like of which they've never seen and have no way to fight against.

The author moves seamlessly between voices, drawing her characters and their
cultures with vivid, distinct, and fearless brush strokes. She pulls no punches,
doesn't sugar-coat the imperfections of either group, and keeps tugging you
along to the conclusion.

I only have one small gripe, which in no way detracted from my enjoyment of the book as a whole, but did cause it to lose a star: I felt the main character was a bit too accepting of some things.

Overall this is a fantastic read that I devoured in one day.
Whether you stand in the SF camp or the Fantasy camp, I'd suggest giving this
book a chance. The blend is handled with skill and I don't think you'll be disappointed.

 
 
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How can you not have a great weekend when a fellow writer comes to visit? Talking about books, especially your own, is always a pleasure. Thrashing out mile-wide plot holes, which include discovering just where lead comes from is all the greatest of fun. As well as discussing books in general and the quality thereof and what makes one sparkle above the rest.
Then, the relevance of the picture. I've had an obsession with shiny rocks ever since I wrote "The Crystal Gate" and had to research and have slowly been building up a collection. Fortunately we have two wonderful crystal stores in the area, so I took friend Elizabeth to one, where we could ooh and aah over all the shinies. I knew there was a 'spiritual' farmer's market on today but didn't think we would have time to go. As happens we did, and dragged the men along, too. I wanted to go as well because there was an author there promoting her book and I wanted to see if it would be worth me doing something similar. I think it would and I'd enjoy the ambience anyway with all those shinies around me. I might just ask since the crystal store owner is having these markets throughout the summer. Perhaps I can persuade Elizabeth to come too?
Certainly gave me some inspiration, as did Elizabeth's visit. I have been too tired lately to really get down to writing but now I am not losing so much blood and I am getting used to the working hours, although they are still too long at times, perhaps I can get back into the swing of things.