Posts Tagged ‘muse’

I am typing this while sitting in my sister’s kitchen. The male cat, Connor, has already been out, and back in, and back out, in the 30 min I have been here. The older female cat has already, spit out a pill across the floor, hidden and had to be dragged out, yowled and hissed, at me.
In other words – everything is right on track.

I’m having my first cup of coffee, gearing towards that elusive state called ‘awake’. Once I achieve this mystical realm, I’m going to see if my Muse will deign to bestow a few moments of her time and inspiration. I’d really like to write again.

I’m starting to feel the excitement build for the approaching Ad Astra Convention. Having the business cards being designed for me is certainly fanning the flames. I will be handing these out, to fellow attendees as a ticket to a free e-copy of my newest release, the anthology Blondes, Books, & Bourbon.

And, in case, I needed any further proof that I am being sucked back into the life of the SCA, I bought a glass bowl just because it was a nice blue colour and I believe I can use the glass to make ‘gems’ for jewelry. In the same resale shop, I also grabbed up a great piece of fabric, which, although small, could have been a head cover, or insert panel, or something for my wife to make into garb… it was, however, far too over prized for the small amount of cloth.



My life over the past couple months has been taken unexpected turns. It’s not all bad, I don’t even know if, in retrospect, any of it has been ‘bad’, actually.

I stopped writing, not so much by choice or even lack of motivation / creativity, but because of ‘real’ life interfering. I was too busy cutting wood to keep the house warm, and working on making the truck run to really have time to sit and write. When I did find time, I was too worn out to actually do so.

Then my wife said that we were going to be active again in the Society for Creative Anachronism. I wasn’t necessarily being bitten my the bug to do so, though I had been on and off for the past decade. I didn’t complain because is was clearly a good thing for her. I knew, once we started playing, I’d be swept up in the life and that has proved true.

When this decision was made, I was already getting to the point where less time was being taken up by wood cutting, due to warmer weather. I had more free time, but wasn’t quite in the zone to write. Instead, I threw my creative energy into what I used to do last time we played SCA – jewelry making. By jewelry making, I mean carving / shaping bronze, and brass, bone and wood, into ornaments, decorated my hand shaped glass ‘gems’ all in the style of 1500’s venetian period. It is an exacting, creatively challenging, hobby that is very rewarding.Maiden's Heart #1full copy

So, in one way, I’m glad I wasn’t writing when this life change happened, because I would have found it harder to adjust and slip back into the life. I have plan on stopping writing. I honestly don’t think I could, even with the ‘new’ distraction. In point of fact, my mind is percolating, starting to work on a short story I started months back. working a short story is a good way to get back into the rhythm, I find. From there, delving back into the novel will be easier to accomplish.

When will this start? Saturday. How can I know? Because tomorrow, I go to Windsor for my twice annual cat sitting job which is always a writing retreat – a stimulus for getting the words out and onto the screen. I’m looking forward to it, the zen of writing, the enjoyment of submersing myself into another world. I am also packing the equipment needed to work on jewelry, so that I can have both creative outlets available to me. I will have the time, and the desire, and plan on indulging.

If I have any doubt about getting back to writing – or the value of completing another short story – all I have to do is look at the reviews coming in for my second released book, Blondes, Books, & Bourbon. The anthology has been getting some very encouraging things said about it :

anthology 5* – “I loved this book even more than Mr. Ridley’s previous one, Tomorrow Wendell, which BTW is also about Jonathan Alvey and is super awesome! I absolutely loved all the stories and will re-read them very soon (yes, it’s that good!) All the stories are unique and adventurous… Mr. Ridley has created something more than just a likeable character, he’s created a character sensation. Jonathan Alvey is an extremely well developed and an amazingly crafted character”

5* – “Ridley opened this anthology with an interview that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up and an even bigger reaction in your brain to continue on reading.
If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Tomorrow Wendell, you’ll still enjoy this collection and get to know Jonathan Alvey, as well as a few other recurring characters”

5* – “Ok so I want to start out by saying I have a strong dislike for short stories in general. But I really enjoyed the time I spent with each one of these. Alvey is an awesome main protagonist that is easy to get along with and root for… I never felt lost reading these stories, and I was never just wanting to get onto the next one either. I can honestly say I like each and every one of them. Even if you haven’t read Tomorrow Wendell you’ll have no problem keeping up or getting to know Alvey…If you like magic and the supernatural in your stories, then Blondes, Books, and Bourbon: A White Dragon Black Anthology is for you. If you’ve never really tried out a detective story, then this is the one I would recommend finding out with. Great writing, amazing characters and fun yet creepy new monsters you don’t normally run into.”

5* – “This is an amazing read, although short stories, all the stories are linked through Mr. Jonathan Alvey and this is a unique collection that reads like an amazing novel. The reader follows Private investigator Alvey as he takes on paranormal cases. I won’t go into each one but just know they are interesting and compelling cases that will have the reader glued to this amazing anthology… This is an amazing book and the author has done a wonderful job creating a special story. Believe me this is a do not miss story!”

5* – “Alvey is a fantastic homage to the hardboiled detective fiction of old with a fresh insertion of the mystical and arcane. Conjuring images of rot-gut bourbon, duplicitous dames and dangerous foes, Ridley manages to channel some of the best traditions left over from the old school of detective fiction… Full of intrigue, danger and bleak humour – the stories in Blondes, Books and Bourbon not only expand on the world Ridley introduced us to in his debut novel Tomorrow Wendell, but rather supersede it.”

I have managed the last two days to get in decent morning writing sessions. Redemption’s Child progresses and I’ve reach the first real ‘excitement’ scene. I hope that from this point on the tension, and action just keep escalating. This novel promises to be both very entertaining to me to write, and yet challenging as well.

As I see it, the breathing spaces in the story should come further, and further, apart and be shorter, and shorter, each time. A rising pace through out the novel, that – hopefully – had the reader flicking the pages towards the climax with greater enthusiasm and need.

A story can’t be all action, without some pauses, it simply becomes too much – almost boring – I plan to keep this  in mind as I go. There is also an emotional aspect, regarding what my protagonist is going through, as the story progresses, that needs to be shown. This will help both give small breaks in the action while giving more impact and tension during the action scenes.

I’m worried about my portrayal of the child that Jonathan is watching over. I don’t have much exposure to children in my life, and thus don’t have real world experience to draw on. I do expect  that anything which rings too false or contrary, will be brought to my attention by my beta-reader as she does have such experiences to compare to.

For now, as always, I write. I write without judging or worrying. I write the tale as it is shared with me by my Muse – all other aspects will be dealt with when the novel is edited.

For the last few years my writing life has been firmly planted in the world of Jonathan Alvey. A reality close to this one, but with addition of magic and monsters that a portion of the population knows about. This world is where my brain exists. From novels to short stories, if I’m writing–or even just contemplating possibilities–it is in Alvey world.

This wasn’t always true. Years ago my brain was firmly set in another world. Still urban fantasy, but more along the lines of Charles de Lint than … well, I’ve been told Jim Butcher. I wrote two and a half novels and a number of short stories in this other world. I loved that world, it was fun in it’s own right.

And while I was still dancing with the fairies of that world, a darker, weirder, place got birthed in my brain. A world of the dead, of ash and bone, and – yes – magic. I started a novel based in this world, and had whispers of short stories floating in my mind.

All of this got put aside once I finished that first short story with Jonathan Alvey. With the birth of the White Dragon Black world, all others were laid to a long rest–until recently.

Just over the last couple months, that darker world has stirred. The land of the dead is calling to me and I’m not sure what to do.

Not including ‘Redemption’s Child’, which I have just begun, I still have five more novels set in the WDB to write. I assume there will also be the two, or three, short stories per year as well. I don’t want to leave this world. There is in me a fear that if I step away, I will somehow lose this strong connection, this deep understanding of Alvey, and my ability to channel his world.

And yet…

And yet, I have a strong urge to write a short story set in the that other darker land. I want to feel the ash on the wind and my fingers along the bones.

Do I risk living in one world to taste another again? Do I find out just how good a writer I am? Do I walk that side alley or keep on this wide street? Do I challenge my brain or remain content in my accomplishments.

I honestly don’t know. My Muse may be the final arbitrator in this internal struggle. Maybe, in the end, I won’t have a choice.

I think this beginning to the sixth White Dragon Black novel will need to be heavily edited. The game of slowly give them most of the information they need if they haven’t read any other of the series, while keeping it fresh for the returning fans tends to complicate things.

Sure I could just go with the theory that any readers I’m going to have I’m going t have by this point but I really hate find a series that sounds good only to realize the only book i can find is number five and I need the other four to have a clue — and so don’t read that book or any of the series at all.

At any rate, it seems that this ‘opening’ has gone on too long to be viable, at least that id my gut instinct. But, as I hold firm to the philosophy of  ‘just get it down’ I’m not going to do much about it, or worry how it’s playing out. I’ll try to keep in mind, as I move forward, to pick up the pace a bit but I write what my Muse gives me.

I’m also just going to go with it, despite meaning lots of editing later, because I really plan on just enjoying getting this one out. The plot, should allow for me to stride foolishly forward, and just roll with the punches. It feels like the sort of story that you simple let tumble out of you and laugh in half terror like you are on a roller-coaster.

As for the work that might come of that later, well it will be much later (years in fact) and I managed to get through all the reworking that ‘Binding & Spines’ needed, which included a complete scramble and re-mashing of the first five, or so, chapters. The end result, I believe, worked out quite well and so, trusting my ability to edit as well as write… let the merry winds of creativity blow full my sails.