Thursday, April 29, 2010



This thing all things devours:
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats high mountain down.

Answer:  Time        - The Hobbit

Sorry I have been away, but I haven't been able to login. I have decided that this blog will become a weekly posting, because as the topic title suggests, time is an issue. I may post more, but I want to try and be diligent in posting at least once a week.

Time is my bane right now, or rather my perception of it. If I feel as if I do not have enough time in any one sitting to complete a thought of a particular scene, I do not even begin.

I know the reality of the situation is quite different, but how does one convince your mind of this. I believe we carry this thinking through to other areas of our lives. How many times have we failed to start something only because we felt the window of availability simply was not there. And no one really likes to leave a task half done.

I am going to try something radical for myself. I am going to write with the assumption that my scene will only be half done when I get up from my chair and turn my attention to other matters of life.

Be well my friends!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Muse

In Greek Mythology, a Muse was any of the nine daughters of Zeus & Mnemosyne. Each one a guardian of a different art or science. Their names are Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyhymnia, Terpsichore, Thalia, and Urania. I am not sure which is the guardian for a novelist, but I will take whoever wants the job. I need all the help I can get.

A Muse can also be any guiding spirit or source of inspiration. For my first book, believe it or not, my Muse were two tattoo’s I had gotten on my arms to represent my son and daughter. They were a Dragon and a Faerie, and as soon as I decided on those images, it was like the flood gates were opened and the story poured forth.

People will say that’s just being superstitious, but I believe in it. I’m still waiting for the Muse on my current book. I will try and seek it out, but I know in the end, it will be my Muse that finds me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Places to Write

Some people need total or close to total silence in order to write. Location doesn’t really matter as long as it is quiet.

I am the opposite. For me location is everything. I can write on a crowded train or with music playing and not have a problem. But the setting has to be right to put me in the proper frame of mind.

Most of my writing takes place on my train ride home from work. The view of the Hudson River on one side and the Highlands on the other just makes me feel like I am in the world of my book.

Other favorite places are any of the historic mansions in the Hudson Valley. Those sweeping lawns and sprawling branches of the big trees just makes me want to reach for my laptop and start typing. Although at the mansions I’m not really there to write but rather spending time with my family. But I write in my head, which amounts to the same thing.

If anyone knows of some good places to write let me know. I’m always on the lookout for new settings.

Monday, April 12, 2010


I have decided I will try and write in this blog weekdays only. I might do an occasional weekend post, but I don’t want it to be something I hold myself to.

That being said, I want to talk about landscape art. This form of expression, after fantasy art, has done so much for my writing experience. I have always been a big fan of the Hudson River School of Artists, Frederic Church being one of my favorites.

These guys didn’t just paint the scene before their eyes; hills, trees and such. They painted the atmosphere as well; mist, rainbows, sunlight, haze and humidity. Things I like to call the living breath of the world.

When I write a scene, I try to put these elements into my locations in the hope of making it more real to the reader. I don’t know if I always succeed, but I feel my writing is better because of it. Here is one small example from my book “The Dragon and the Faerie”:

“Let’s go into the grotto where it is cooler,” Pan said. They walked the garden paths into the grotto. Donella was awestruck by the natural beauty of it. The rock was a white limestone. The roof of the grotto had several holes in it to allow sunlight to stream through. Decorative columns lined both sides of the walls and the back. The size of the space was immense. There were several reflecting pools with green plant life on tiered rocks throughout. There were two small waterfalls on either side that came out of the rock and spilled into a trough that ran through the grotto and irrigated the gardens beyond, and then disappeared into a subterranean stream that eventually emptied into the river they crossed.

One particular pool caught Donella’s eye and she walked over to it. It was rectangular and a stream of water came out of the rock to empty into a statue of a dragon’s head. The mouth was open in a silent roar as the water poured into a stone bowl below to fill up and overflow its sides. In the bowl was a white flower floating in stark contrast to the dark water. Donella found it curious that the flower stayed directly in the center of the bowl, neither moving from rim to rim nor spilling over the side. She thought of asking Pan about this but decided against. She found the mystery of it very appealing and she didn’t want to spoil it.

Until next time my friends! Peace!


Friday, April 9, 2010

Short Scenes

I originally posted this on FB for some good friends of mine and I thought it would be good to have it here as well. It is a cool little scene. I hope you like it.
There is an online writers group I belong to called the Writer's Dock Party (WDP), made up of writer's, producers, playwrights, poets, etc..
One of the threads was to write a scene that has the elements of a dance with the WDP as the location and also incorporating the next writer so they can carry it on. I've pasted the person who tapped me and my scene as well. Another rule was we had to write it in 20 minutes. It was a lot of fun:

Danielle Jeffery wrote:
No one can see me. I am standing back in the shadows hoping that one of the dashing young men would look my way.

It is a perfect night. I have never seen the moon shine so brightly.

The Writer's Dock Party is the hottest ticket in town, and I should be happy to be here, but I am miserable as I watch all the other beautiful women dance.

Someone might ask me to dance if I stood closer to the dance floor. But I am afraid to move. What if I trip? What if I bump someone? No, I will stay here in the shadows. I will be a miserable wallflower, invisible to the rest of the...

"Excuse me."

I jumped and looked towards the source of the voice.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't mean to startle you."

I wanted to tell him that it was alright, but I couldn't find my voice. The lights from the dance floor made his eyes sparkle. He was tall and handsome, and he was talking to ME. What did he want?

He cleared his throat and said, "I've been watching you from the bar, and I was hoping you would come over so I could buy you a drink." He chuckled nervously, as I stared at him. As one song ended and another began, the man smiled and asked me, "May I have this dance?"

"I-I am not much of a dancer," I said, shyly.

He held his hand out to me and said. "Neither am I."

With all the boldness I could muster, I took his hand. "What is you name?"

"Roland Capalbo."

My Scene:

I took Danielle's delicate hand as I led her onto the dance floor. My head turned sharply to the left as I noticed the clock on the wall out of the corner of my eye. The church bells up the street from the WDP saloon started to sound. In my head I could already hear the train whistle that would carry me to my daily labours in the morning.

"My darling," I began. "I'm afraid we must continue this dance tomorrow. Will you wait for me?" I asked dreading her answer.

"I will," she replied with a winsome smile.

"Tomorrow then. But I should warn you. There is a faerie enamored of me, and she is extremely jealous. If we are not careful, blood may run into the sawdust beneath our feet. Until tomorrow..."

(I was tapped late at night and had to work the next day so I couldn't really start it.)

The next evening:

…The moon was unusually bright, making the objects below easily visible to the faerie riding the warm air currents, her wings barely moving as she glided down onto the porch of the public house of the bards, the WDP saloon. There was no one around, but laughter and music spilled out into the street from the bar’s noisy patrons.

The faerie stood in the shadow of the swinging doors and peered in. The bar stood on the opposite wall, with a balding red-faced man cleaning a glass behind it. Several scholars and scribes occupied the stools and were toasting some great success they had just achieved.

She scowled. Humans always had such a high opinion of themselves. But compared to faeries, their lives were just a vapor on the wind and blown away, time erasing any trace of who they were and whatever small accomplishments they may have achieved. The faerie scanned the room. Several oaken tables placed on a bed of sawdust formed a ring around a highly polished dance floor. The occupants seated at the tables were engaged in various gaming activities. But she did not come to play dice or cards. She was looking for a man, who had twice failed to show at the promised hour. She examined the dancers as each in turn spun in her direction. Then she saw him. Her eyes took on a feral look and the blood in her veins turned to ice as she witnessed his body pressed tightly against another female other than herself.

“Roland!” she shouted as she stepped through the swinging doors, the light fully illuminating her features.

The customers of the saloon turned as one toward the entrance to see a flaxen haired faerie. Her green eyes were blazing and her black wings were open and as rigid as iron pokers. She wore a soft leather skirt that ended at mid-thigh with a halter top covering her breasts to match, leaving her midriff bare. Buckskin slippers adorned her feet, with thin leather straps that crisscrossed up her perfectly muscled calf. Her eyes were slanted like a cat and she was taller than most men there. She kept pushing a stray lock of yellow hair behind her pointed ears as she studied the scene before her.

“Leah!” Roland cried holding Danielle closer to him.

Leah removed a small red stick, about the size of her palm, which had been attached to a strap that encircled her bicep. Pressing a hidden clasp the stick expanded into a six foot spear that was sharpened on both ends. She walked purposefully over to Danielle and pushed Roland behind her so that only a foot of space separated the two women.

She looked Danielle up and down, taking in her dark complexion and flawless skin as if trying to memorize every facet of her being. Danielle’s dress was cut low, and Leah could see her breasts rise and fall with her heavy breathing, worried this day might be her last. Leah tried to find some imperfection, something to make this human less in her eyes, but there was none. Bringing her eyes up to meet Danielle’s, a kinship was sparked between them, a sisterhood that all women of any race seemed to share.

Without even a flinch, or breaking eye contact, Leah thrust her spear behind her and up. The sound was a sickening crunch as it pierced Roland’s chest and came out his back. No cry was uttered. Not a sound from the bystanders of the bar. Blood ran freely down the spear and over Leah’s knuckles on its way to the floor.

Leah gave Danielle on last look as she muttered under her breath, “Human males are snakes, be wary of them.” She turned and braced her foot on Roland’s chest as she pushed him off her spear and let him slump to the floor.

She started to leave, but before reaching the swinging doors, Leah noticed a movement from one of the tables. She looked over and saw a man she recognized, who at the moment was trying for all he was worth not to be spotted. Leah smiled mischievously and walked over to him.

“Ed Crowe,” she said leveling the bloodied spear at his throat. “Let’s dance you and I.”

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thoughts Today

This is my first shot at doing a blog, so I believe it will take me awhile to really get use to it.

I'm still on the first chapter of my second book. I have family and friends eager to read it, but it has taking me sometime to really get the flow going. I try and write on the train ride home from work; however some days I feel just so tired that all I want to do is put my headphones on, listen to music and chill.
A part of me will feel guilty at this because I know people are waiting and I feel a certain responsibility to deliver on something I felt I promised. So for now I chug along, trying to write at least once a day. Two quotes come to mind in these situations:

"Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until the drops of blood form on your forehead." -Gene Fowler

(From JRR Tolkien's "The Return of the King)
Sam: Do you remember the Shire, Mr. Frodo? It'll be spring soon and the orchards will be in blossom, and the birds will be nesting in the hazel thicket. And the whistle in the summer barley in the Lower fields. And eating the first of the strawberries with cream. Do you remember the taste of strawberries?

Frodo: No, Sam. I can't recall the taste of food, nor the sound of water, nor the touch of grass. I'm naked in the dark. There's nothing--no veil between me and the wheel of fire. I can see him with my waking eyes.

Sam: Then let us be rid of it, once and for all. I can't carry the ring for you, but I can carry you! Comeon!

...The Frodo quote reminds me that even though you may feel naked in the dark, you need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

This is my start. Hopefully this blog will be all that I intend it to be.