Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Quoting Secrets

Secrets of the Sages by IE Castellano

Seven Sages
Seven Seals
Seven Secrets
Soon Sinister Steals
--The Pixie Priestess

A gathering of quotes from the upcoming epic fantasy, Secrets of the Sages.  Book 3 of the World In-between Series.

“Our destiny is the product of what we chose to do with our innate abilities.”

“I’ve pinned my husband to the wall in under five seconds.  And that was with only one crossbow.”

“This world is full of things we have forgotten, things we do not understand and things well out of our control.”

“I’m afraid the walls have ears.”

“I believe that people have the right to defend themselves, their families and their villages.  If someone chooses to fight for the opposition, then so be it.  People must do what they feel is right in their hearts.  Those who make that choice do not need to learn from us.  If the Empire must teach a person self-defense, then that is because there is an opposition.”

“Your brothers can learn how to behave themselves in the Emperor’s presence.”

“Your job is to protect the Empire.  I am only one man.”

“The Empire is in a state of flux, Lieutenant.  Sometimes we must change in order to stay the same.”

Berty awoke with the feeling that he was being watched.  He hated that feeling.

“You’d rather torture yourself in other ways?”

“You make it sound as if there are only two options.  I’m sure there are plenty ways to die in a place like this.”

The Dwarf drew silent as he watched Berty pass with the last Empress draped in his arms.

The twinkles disappeared quickly like the short blink of summer lightning bugs before they blended in with the grass.

“I am emptying the ocean with a thimble.”

Silvia’s smile was the sunshine in the morning rain.

“I don’t know who annoys me more, lawyers or government officials.”

He could see fear and uncertainty dwelling in her pools of brown.

Nothing inside could help fill the emptiness deep in his heart.

“She has to learn to balance.  For the rest of her life, hers will be a world in-between here and there.”

“What’s not to like about magic?”

“I have no idea what I’m doing and my tie is going to choke me when I least expect it.”

“Perhaps, it is not too late to right the wrongs of my foremothers.”

“All I can think about is how dare someone do that to my little brother.  I want to rip the person limb from limb.  Merely going to jail doesn’t seem to be enough.”

Following Hatcher, they passed gruesomely tall, brutally ugly, club wielding variations of the Trolls Berty came to know.  Their quick glare gave Berty fearsome shivers.

On a molecular level, magic and science were probably indistinguishable.  Magic was the manipulation of energy—it could not be created or destroyed.  It just changed shape.

“Everything else is out of my control.  And I’m okay with that.  Let the fates lie where they may.”

“When we promised Hope an adventure with her uncle, this is not exactly what I had in mind.”

Secrets of the Sages is available for Pre-order on Kobo and Google Play.  Available everywhere May 7th.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

A Writer's Outing

On Saturday, I participated in a Writer's Salon.  A topic is chosen beforehand and we set out writing about the subject. At the Salon, we read our musings, then we discuss.

Our topic was Creativity and Substance Abuse Being Synonymous.  We were to write about 500 to 600 words.

Six of us read.  One was a poem.  Another was a play where the writer coerced other writers to be actors.  One other wrote a short story about muses and the remaining two wrote about personal experiences (not always their own).  It was a fun afternoon of musings, discussion and food.

When I thought about Hemingway's quote, "Write drunk, edit sober," I wrote the following:

(By the way, I don't condone drinking and writing.  Only drinking after writing, if you must.)

The Secret of my Success
IE Castellano

What is the secret of my success as a writer?  I get asked this question in many interviews, especially after I say that I do not suffer from writer’s block.  More accurately, I should say that I do not suffer from writer’s block anymore.

I barely remember my last bout of writer’s block.  I sat there, staring.  No words would come.  The blank screen mocked me.  “What a useless lump you are; can’t even eke a word onto the page.  Ooh, here sits a writer.  Can’t believe you actually call yourself that.”

The longer I sat, the less the words wanted to flow from my fingertips.  I had to move around.  I had to do something else, just for a while.  My ears discerned the word “loser” as I walked away from my desk.

Everywhere I looked, my sanctuary glared at me.  The jeers echoed off the walls.  Grabbing for my coat, I tried to avoid the laughter attacking me from all angles.

I escaped my compression.  The sidewalk became my savior.  Silence filled my head while my feet pounded rhythmically.

Derogatory names haunted me every time a person passed.  Pairs of eyes dismissed me like the lowliest of peasants.

I slipped through a door.  A dim coziness welcomed me.  No one gawked at my flawed person.  Not even the man polishing glasses behind the bar.

Finding a solitary stool, I rested my weary, broken spirit.  The man approached without judgment, wanting to know what I would have.  My eyes searched the bottles behind him.

A red coat with a tall, fuzzy, black hat spoke to me.  “Drink me.”  My ancestors probably would have waited to see the whites of his eyes.

The man sat the glass of clear liquid on the highly polished wood.  My first gulp burned the ghosts of my blank pages out of my throat and nasal passages.  The following sips sang of woodsy juniper.

With confidence pumping through my veins, I returned to my all-knowing, cocky computer.  It snorted as my hands reached for the black keyboard.  My fingers tickled the keys with the grace of a classical composer.  Words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, scenes, books all flowed from my fingertips.  There was no stopping my creativity.

A couple of blocks away from my solitary watering hole, I found my muse sitting on a shelf at the store.  I took him home with me.  Any time of the day or night, he could inspire me to write my masterpieces.

My red-coated friend watched over me as I typed.  His whispers of encouragement drowned out the naysaying from my computer.  Like magic, words flowed from my fingertips.  Elation filled me.

I’m a little tea pot, short and stout.  Here is my handle.  Here is my spout.  When I get all steamed up….

I did experiment, over the years, with other things.  Writers always try to find other sources of inspiration, other springs from which we can drink.  Nothing ever worked as well for me.  Some writers swear by this or that.  I find myself choosing the comfort of my first muse.  To each his own, as they say.  We all find our own secrets that get us through the blank pages.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Making the Cut

Writing my story

I love writing to the rhythm of a spring rain.  Sitting in my bedroom, the pitter-patter of raindrops on the roof place a spell over my pen.  To the April music, I finished my ghostly short story for Moon Shadows, a +Laurel Highlands Publishing Halloween anthology.

The Hunt clocked roughly a thousand words heavy of the 5,000 word upper limit.  It was time to cull my pretties.

When I write, I fall in love with each and every word.  I choose them carefully.  I string them together with precision.  How can I possibly eliminate one word, let alone whole lines or *gasp* entire scenes?


Although pressing the delete key pains me, sentences shortened.  Mind you, tightening of the story would happen during editing anyway.  However, a few words here and there do not lighten the word load.

I pruned two scenes.  As lovely as they were, they had to go.  The deleted scenes setup for a sequel to the Hunt, but they were not essential to plot advancement.  I will use those scenes as flashbacks in the sequel.

By the end of the Hunt, I slashed well over five hundred words.  It reads like a lean, mean hunting machine.

Shaving a story is more than stabbing in the dark.  Annihilation is deliberate.  Just as there is a rhythm to writing, there is a rhythm to the slaughter called editing.  How will you make the cut?