Monthly Archives: October 2012

There’s a first time for everything

Oh, help. I’ve signed up to participate in NaNoWriMo. For the first time ever. And I have NO IDEA what I’m doing. Well, other than writing like crazy for the next 30 days.

Anyone else out there participating? Do you want to be my “buddy?” Or tell me what that even means? Or how it works? Because I’m completely clueless.

Here’s the “bio” I posted over there, in which I confess that I’m breaking the rules right off the bat. Which I’m sure surprises exactly no one:

I’ve temporarily set aside the umpteenth draft of the thriller I’m writing to try my hand at steamy romance in the form of short stories and novellas. My goal is to write 50K+ words in November, which will finish the novella-in-progress and also complete a rough draft of the next two projects I’ve outlined. Yeah, I know it’s breaking “the rules” to work on a project already begun, but I don’t really care about that. I won’t be reporting words written prior to November 1st.

My goal is not to “win” according to the standard definition of finishing a 50K novel, but to get a ton of words on the page without stopping to edit or get all angsty over whether they’re good enough. Even if those words belong to different stories. Really hoping some public accountability will help with that. Feel free to (virtually) beat me up if I’m not making progress.

I’m “KD James” over there and here’s the link to my profile:

Wish me luck. I have a feeling I’m going to need it.


Filed under goals, writing

Happy Halloween

It has become a bit of a tradition to re-post this on Halloween — although I DID spare you all last year (you’re welcome) — so here it is again. Because apparently I’m lazy in October and don’t feel motivated to write blogs posts. Or maybe I’m preoccupied with writing fiction. Or something. Only this year there are fresh new pumpkin carvings from my sister, Annie Gray. Enjoy your Halloween!

This is what my sister, Annie, does to pumpkins this time of year [2008]:

come dance with me
Yes, she carved each and every one of them. Amazingly talented, is my sister.

UPDATE: Ooooh, she just emailed me this year’s [2009] efforts:


And here are the ones from this year [2012]:

Being much less adept with a knife, I think of Halloween as the annoyingly predictable day when the neighborhood kids come to ring my doorbell, sending The Wonder Dog into frenzied fits of insanity and the cat into traumatized seclusion, interrupting my solitude with their insincere and unconvincing cries of “trick or treat!” Of course, there are the practical souls who stand there silently, petulant, stubbornly holding out their buckets and pillowcases, recipients of a largesse earned by mere entitlement rather than effort or threat of force, their young faces costumed in ghoulish aspects of expectant greed.

No, this is not my favourite holiday. How could you tell?

But today is also Samhain, the dark twin of Beltane, sometimes known as All Hallow’s Eve — a night when it is said that the veil between the worlds of the living and of the dead is at its thinnest. Some say it is a night of unimaginable power. A night cloaked in mystery and pagan ritual, shrouded by superstition and fear. A night when the spirits of the dead roam freely among us, causing mischief and harm, unappeased by meager offerings and reined in only by the approach of dawn. Tales are told of incautious souls unwary enough to be lured by curiosity to the other side, and of those unfortunate few who do not make it back before night gives way to light.

As an antidote to the crass commercialism of the modern holiday, and just generally to cheer myself up, I tried to find a poem I could post here that would convey the dark eerie spookiness of the old pagan beliefs — that the threshold between the living and the dead is easily crossed on this night — but couldn’t find any that quite fit the right mood. So I wrote my own. I hope it’s as much fun to read as it was to write. May your Hallow E’en be a night of safe travels, one disturbed only by visitations of benign spirits.

come dance with me

they come in the darkest of night
to be
afoot in the absence of light
and see
the souls who have given the right
to me
to waltz upon their graves

they come now to witness the dance
and see
how fortune has done more than glance
at me
and evil has won the last chance
to be
the footprints on the graves

and oh how they quiver with fear
of me
and how their own lives they hold dear
and flee
though fate never has been more clear
to see
’tis written on the graves

the game has already been won
you see
and night will give way to the sun
and be
the lament of words left unsung
to me
the keeper of the graves

they say ’tis sheer madness this night
to be
awash in the absence of light
and see
them link hands this unhallowed night
with me
and dance upon their graves


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Note from me:  Most of you following along over here are avid readers and probably have been since childhood. If you have a minute or two, please read this blog post (reblogged from David Gaughran) about an initiative to help needy schools fill the gaps in their underfunded library shelves. And help out if you are able?
Also, I’ve never “reblogged” anything before now, actually didn’t even know you could do that, so I hope I don’t break something. Or, you know, summon demons.


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