Grace's Mosaic Moments


Saturday, May 14, 2022

The Fight to Write

Now available on Smashwords as well as Amazon

In this SciFi Fantasy tale of Adventure and Romance, a reluctant sorcerer makes a marriage of convenience and becomes a vital part of the rebellion against an evil empire. (Blue Moon Rising series, Book 2)

For a 20% free read on Smashwords, click here.

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As my long-time readers know, after eleven years of posts on Writing & Editing (with a number of "rants" thrown in for good measure), and after the publication of Making Magic With Words, an indexed compilation of all these posts, I "retired" Grace's Mosaic Moments to a world with far more varied mosaics—from recipes to photos (and masks - oh horrors, may we not go through that again!), plus any other topic that intrigued me at the moment. This week, however, I'm adding to the Writing & Editing posts with some serious thoughts on that ever-challenging problem: Writing can be fun, but it's really hard work!

 

THE FIGHT TO WRITE

Writer's Block, a Fallow Period, Burn-out, Stress, Exhaustion—whatever we call it, almost every author has experienced it at one time or another. Sometimes, we just can't think up a good plot . . . or maybe our characters have gone blah. For others, it's "Sit down at the keyboard and nothing but Total Blank." Or maybe things are so bad, you can't even walk through the office door. (I managed with a "boot" on my foot and a fancy "walker" to help me get around, but a broken bone can't be compared to a broken life, which has happened to all too many during these horrific years of Covid.)

So what's to do?

As much as I love to write, there's no doubt Writing is tough! Never, ever think it's easy. And whether you've simply lost your nimble fingers or lost your nimble brain, as far as I know there's only one way to get through it:  Keep slogging away. Keep writing, no matter how bad it is, or how bad you think it is. And no, this is not an original thought. To the best of my recollection, I believe Nora Roberts said it more than twenty years ago. And very likely umpteen other authors before her.

Using myself as an example . . .

Yesterday morning I hit what for me was a new editing low. FOUR inserts on one page. Yes, I'm a great one for adding details to a first draft, but I don't ever recall adding four one- to two-paragraph inserts on a single page. Sigh.

Then I asked myself, "So what? You got the idea down well enough that the draft could be expanded into something more colorful, more intriguing to the reader. The final result reads pretty well, and you're only on the initial Chapter Edit, with umpteen more edits to come.

My advice to others is the same as to myself:

Get something down on the page. Even if you delete half (or more) of what you wrote, you've accomplished something. And at the end of your edit, you'll have something better. Maybe it will only be ten percent better, but it's a step in the right direction. You now have words on a page. Maybe words on two or three pages.

Let's face it:  Writing follows the classic rule of 0 + 0 = 0. 

If you sit in front of your computer without moving your fingers - or if you don't set foot through your office door, that's what you've got:  ZERO!

But if you write a few words, extend that to a sentence, a short paragraph, you have a concrete something to work with. Yes, you may end up asking yourself:  What did I mean by that? Can I make sense out of it? Should I try a different angle? Maybe even a different Point of View? And if it still doesn't make sense . . .

Perhaps Fiction is beyond you at the moment. There's an old expression that applies here:  Take the bit between your teeth and go for it! Write about anything. Maybe  about something wonderful that happened in your past. What about those anguished faces in Ukraine? (No matter how bad things are with you, they likely have it worse.) What about your cat, your dog, your pet snake? The teenager who's driving you out of your mind? The kind neighbor who brought up your trash barrel, the so-and-so who honked at you when the light had barely turned green? Anything is better than a blank page. You just have to grease the creative wheels and get them turning again. But whatever you do, do not let those creatives brain cells atrophy! (And who knows? - in addition to getting your creative juices flowing again, you just might be able to incorporate your non-fiction scene into your next book!).

In my case, despite having to cope with an unbelievable series of disasters this month, I sit down, I write, and I face up to the edits, even if it's four inserts on one page. Today, for the first time in a couple of weeks, I could feel the old brain creaking back to life. There are a lot of edits to come, but then, there always are. Yet for the first time this month, I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

So never forget—if someone who remembers Pearl Harbor can still put words on a page, SO CAN YOU!

~ * ~

   For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author Page  click here.

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

 



 



 

 

 

 

 

Sunday, May 8, 2022

Questions Out of the Blue

 A remarkable photo by Earthly Mission - found on Facebook

The formation of a rainbow

  

A few weeks ago, as I was doing the final formatting for The Crucible Kingdom, a whole bunch of questions popped into my head about the Blue Moon Rising series. I scribbled them down and promised myself I would use them at a later date. And this week, which has been far from one of my best, seems like a good time to dig through my stacks of "stuff" and find those questions. 

As I have remarked many times, although I HUGELY appreciate the readers of my many Regency books - Historical, Gothic, and Traditional, I'd also like to steer more people toward my SciFi Fantasy books. (I so enjoy incorporating elements of the Regency "feel" into stories set a thousand or so years in the future.) 

Grace note:   The questions below are not in any particular order in the storyline. And, yes, there are some spoilers, but hopefully nothing serious.

 

THE BLUE MOON RISING SERIES

 1.  How did the Princess Royal of the pacifist planet Psyclid end up as a cadet in the Space Academy of the military-minded Regulon Empire?

2.  How did a werewolf end up married to a sorcerer's cast-off mistress?

3.  How did a fey young sorcerer who can't talk end up with two wives?

4.  How did the heir to the Regulon Empire end up as Ambassador Plenipotentiary for the rebel government?

5.  How did the King of Psyclid's four children—and their spouses—bring down the Regulon Empire?

6.  How did mind triumph over matter in the rebels' fight against the Empire?

7.  How did a young man who can't talk go from "hopeless" to hero?

8.  What caused a Regulon huntership captain to launch a rebellion against his own monarch?

9.  How did Psyclid's Sorcerer Prime end up married to his mistress's sister?

~ * ~

The answers to these questions—and a lot more—can be found in the Blue Moon Rising series.  All are currently available on Amazon Kindle. Rebel Princess is available on Smashwords and its many affiliate vendors, such as B&N's Nook. The remaining three books will follow shortly. Next will be Sorcerer's Bride.

 


The Blue Moon Rising series

Rebel Princess
Sorcerer's Bride
The Bastard Prince
Royal Rebellion

 The Crucible Kingdom (spin-off)

 

For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Stranger Than Fiction


Strolling out of Lake Jessup this week

That's about 15 miles north of where I live.

 

Background to "Stranger Than Fiction":

This week's Mosaic Moments is one of those stories that proves "Truth is Stranger Than Fiction." The events recorded below were relayed to me in two phone calls from my son who lives "up north." Although I have changed names for anonymity, these events actually happened over the past two weeks. 

FYI:

1. My son is Property Manager for c. 160 apartments in c. 40 buildings in 2 different towns. He employs a rather large number of handymen. We'll call the one in this story "Bill." Bill has been working for my son for many years.

2. Bill does NOT live in one of the apartments managed by my son.

3. The suburban police department involved will be called "S." 

4. The bad guy we'll call "the Fraudster."

5. Bill has recently been diagnosed with cancer.

 

A CAUTIONARY TALE

Some time ago, Bill allowed a man he knew to share his apartment. But one day recently, the unthinkable happened. Bill's "guest" claimed the apartment as his own, going so far as to call the police and declare Bill the intruder. The police separated the two men but ended up leaving the Fraudster in the apartment with Bill out on the street until the matter could be settled in court. Not surprisingly, Bill ended up in the hospital for six days and missed his court date.

The result:  Bill now has a restraining order against him and an arrest warrant. My son, going to bat for Bill, believes he has straightened out the problem of the missed court date, so Bill goes to visit a friend in the building where his apartment is, The two men go for a walk on a nearby nature trail as Bill recounts his tale of woe. At which point they are attacked by the Fraudster. Bill calls my son, who advises him to call the police, as whoever calls first is likely the one they'll believe.

Bill calls the S police, but the street patrol evidently hasn't gotten the message about the dropped arrest warrant. Instead of blaming the Fraudster for starting the fight, they arrest Bill, handcuffing him so tightly he loses mobility in his hands. (Interestingly, he insists they take him to the hospital to document his paralysis and they do just that.)

BUT meanwhile, it turns out that the higher echelons of the S police have been looking for Bill—not as an offender but as a WITNESS. So Bill ends up talking directly to the Chief of Police. (And this is where the story elevates to "if I put this in one of my books, no one would believe it.") It seems that during the time Bill and his supposed friend were living in the now-disputed apartment, the Fraudster—for the vast sum of $20—sold cocaine to another man in the building. Except the Fraudster didn't have any cocaine. What he sold was rat poison. The man died. Mr. Fraudster is unlikely to bother Bill again.

Bill is back in his apartment. He had his first chemo on Wednesday. And will shortly be moving into one of the apartments my son manages.We're all pulling for him to conquer the cancer challenge as well.

* * * * *

Grace note:  This is a side of life very few of us see, although my son spends a remarkable amount of time acting as a social worker. (To the extent when one of his tenants was having a heart attack, he called my son instead of 911!) Fortunately, my son has the temperament for it, but Bill's case was one of his worst challenges before it finally came right.

 

WARNING!

 My son passes along this advice:

Be very careful about who you take into your home. The way the laws in many states are worded, you could find yourself out on the street until you can prove in court that you have a right to the roof over your head.

~ * ~

 

The Blue Moon Rising Series

 I made an interesting discovery when I uploaded The Crucible Kingdom to Smashwords and its affiliates this week. I had forgotten that Rebel Princess, the first book of the Blue Moon series, was originally published by Kindle Scout and featured on Kindle Unlimited. Consequently, none of the four books of the series were available anywhere else. I eventually took them off Kindle Unlimited but in the 90-day process of waiting for that to take effect, I evidently lost myself in whatever I was writing at the time and failed to make the Blue Moon books available to Smashwords, B&N's Nook, Kobo, Scribd, Apple & OverDrive. Aargh!

This week I began to remedy that problem. Rebel Princess (with a 20% free read) is now available on Smashwords and should be on the other venues shortly. The other three books are "coming soon." Below, cover and blurb for Book 1.

 


The Princess Royal of a pacifist planet, whose people have spent a thousand years developing their powers of the mind, stages a personal rebellion, joining the space academy of a planet that has spent a millennium developing its military might. This odd pairing goes well until her senior year when her new "friends" turn on her. Only the swift action of an honorable huntership captain saves her from rape and medical experimentation. As a very special prisoner of war, she spends four years in solitary confinement, where she dreams of her rescuer but has no idea she has inadvertently sparked a rebellion against the military planet's vast Empire.

When the princess-in-disguise is finally freed and tossed into the middle of the Rebellion, she discovers there is a stark contrast between her fantasy version of the man who rescued her and the flesh and blood starship captain leading the rebellion. She must cope with his followers who fear her psychic powers, a fey younger brother who speaks only through illusions, royal parents with a strict belief in non-violence, and a fiancé who happens to be a sorcerer. It would appear the hope of toppling the Empire is a dim light at the end of a long tunnel.

~ * ~

Reminder:  The Crucible Kingdom is a stand-alone spin-off of the Blue Moon Rising series, and includes the marked contrast between the dysfunctional young prince in Rebel Princess and what he has become more than a decade later.

 

 For a link to The Crucible Kingdom on Smashwords, click here.

For a link to The Crucible Kingdom on Amazon, click here.

~ * ~

   For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)

 



Saturday, April 23, 2022

Gallery & Giveaway

 The Crucible Kingdom will be a "Giveaway" 

at Goodreads from April 26 to May 8.

 * * * * *

Another of those priceless comments on the oddities of the English language. 


 
Palm Sunday

Our church's Youth Orchestra, plus a ringer from the Senior Choir, playing for the Palm Sunday procession. 

Arcus cloud over Kearney, Nebraska

by Robert McGinnis - found on Facebook


Susie went on her first dive of 2022 & scored a big megalodon tooth:



 

Our Riley looked stunning for Prom:






You can tell Mama was once a makeup artist.


 

Cassidy won three awards at the Air Force ROTC Awards ceremony this week. Below, with proud Mom & Pop:


 

The rules for the AMVETS award, which Cassidy won:



And for a soothing closing, a photo by Vonnie Alto . . .

Jacaranda trees


 ~ * ~

 For a link to The Crucible Kingdom on Smashwords, click here.

For a link to The Crucible Kingdom on Amazon, click here.

~ * ~

   For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)


Friday, April 15, 2022

The Crucible Kingdom

 

 

In this spin-off of the Blue Moon Rising series, the Crucible Kingdom, an obscure planet far, far away, is suffering from an ancient curse—periodic bouts of violent storms, earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and wildfire. To break the curse, a widowed duchess and a starship captain from the disintegrating Regulon Empire (which her ancestors fled centuries earlier) are forced to work together. Although the duchess grudgingly accepts that the captain is highly capable in emergencies, she scorns the idea that a hard-headed Reg who does not believe in sorcery can be helpful in ending a curse. And then the captain comes up with an idea no one thought of, setting off a quest that turns out to be as dangerous as the curse itself.

 For a link to The Crucible Kingdom on Smashwords, click here.

For a link to The Crucible Kingdom on Amazon, click here.

~ * ~

   For a link to Blair's website, click here.

 For a link to Blair's updated Facebook Author Page  click here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Grace (Blair Bancroft)