Saturday, February 20, 2010

An Invitation - Tear Up My Opening

Here's the opening to my novella, The Sevenfold Spell. Feel free to read and if you'd like, to critique. If you've read my stuff before, this is more in the style of Forging a Legend than A Spy and a Lady. It's a retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story, through the eyes of a spinster who had her spinning wheel taken away and burned.

A pair of booted feet stopped before me. I refused to look up. One of them kicked forward, thumping against my thin shins. It smarted, but I knew it could have hurt a lot worse.

"Get up."

"Don't move," Mama said. So I didn't, except to look up at the harried constable. He frowned down at us -- a troubled frown, but not an angry one. He was portly and balding. He didn't look like an evil man, but like a good man who had been sent out to do an evil task.

A task that we resisted as we sat together in the doorway of our shop, defending our livelihood with our bodies.

The constable sighed. "Come now," he said. "I don't like this any more than you do."

"You'll have to move us," Mama said.

The constable looked over his shoulder. The fairy hovered there. She was tiny -- no larger than my hand -- with shimmery pale green leggings and tunic. Her beauty almost held one's gaze prisoner, so that was difficult to look away from her.

"Can you move them?" he asked her.

"I am not here to do your job, Constable," the fairy replied, "only to see that you do it honestly."

The constable's sigh was exasperated now. He gestured to his men. "Move them."

Mother and I were both slight. Moving us took no great effort. Suddenly, as I sprawled in the dirt of the street, our defiant gesture seemed pathetic.

Mother screamed and raised a holy fuss. She went charging back into our shop after the constable's men. I ran in after her. She flailed on their backs as they picked up the spinning wheel and carried it out.

"My daughter," she said at one point, grabbing me. "Look at her. Do you think her face will ever get her a husband? That spinning wheel is her future."

"You will be well-paid," the constable said, "as soon as it's destroyed."

They brought out the spinning wheel and flung it into the back of the wagon. Mama winced as it crashed amid the wreckage of the other spinning wheels. They had no regard for its fragile structure, its delicate beauty. They had no care that our lives depended upon that simple wooden structure.

The fairy darted out of our shop and hovered near us. She aimed her wand at our spinning wheel and a burst of colors flew out. The colors hit the spinning wheel and buzzed around it like angry bees. When the colors dissipated, the spinning wheel collapsed into all its various parts, no longer distinguishable from its neighbors.

My mother raised her arm as if to swat the fairy. I grabbed her arm.

"Remember Widow Harla!" I hissed. Widow Harla had attacked the fairy with her broom, and she had felt the fairy's retaliatory spell. She was still unable to speak.

I felt the tension in Mama's arm relax.

The constable offered my mother a chinking pouch. Mama ignored it as she held herself erect. I could tell she was determined to show no weakness. With a glance at the fairy, he tossed it at our feet. I shifted so I stood on the pouch strings. The guards climbed onto the back of the wagon while the constable and the official got in on either side of the driver, and they rumbled off down the street, the fairy flitting after them.

A few of our neighbors looked at us in pity, but also with a bit of dread. They knew that if we were to fall on hard times, they would be obliged to show us Christian charity.

It all made no sense to me. I knew there was a curse involved, but it seemed pointless to attempt to get around it by banning spinning wheels. Fairies were not so stupid as to make their spells so easily circumvented. Why bring misery to families such as ours by taking away our only means of income?

I bent down and picked up the pouch. "What will we do now?" I asked.

Mama took the pouch and hefted it. "We'll buy a loom. If we cannot spin, we will weave."

That night, the light and smoke from the bonfire of burning spinning wheels blotted out the stars.

Feedback? Comments here are welcome, or privately at tia dot nevitt at gmail dot com.

Guest Post at Guide to Literary Agents!

A while back, I wrote a column for the "7 Things I've Learned So Far" series over at Guide to Literary Agents, and they posted it yesterday. Go check it out!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Forging a Legend Domain Parked

My Forging a Legend website now goes to a domain parking service until I figure out what I want to do with it. I own it for another year and a few days.

It was freaky. I woke up at 4:30 in the morning with this one thought: I must transfer my domain before I lose it. I had just over a week left before it expired.

Here's the story. I first created the domain in 2006 or so with Microsoft's OfficeLive, an initiative of theirs that they have since started sundowning. As part of that process, I received an email about half a year ago saying that I'd have to pay for my domain after February something. The email assured me that I'd receive another email 45 days before the domain expired.

Guess what? I never received the email.

The whole transfer system was quite shoddy on the part of Microsoft. After much searching, I finally figured out that I had to go to MelbourneIT's website to transfer the domain. As in Melbourne, Australia. So I did, but the correct thing you had to click on the MelbourneIT site was completely obscure. Finally, I happened upon something and got in and entered the right codes to initiate the transfer. Then, the whole thing was delayed by five days unless I clicked something else. But there was nothing at the MelbourneIT site to indicate what that something was. Then, I had to go to work.

In the intervening 12 hours between then and a little while ago, an email finally made its way from MelbourneIT to my email account saying that I had a domain transfer pending. I quickly clicked Accept Transfer and within five minutes, Daydream Domains had the domain parked.

Daydream Domains, by the way, is wonderful. I learned about it through Lisa Shearin's website, where she had similar things to say.

Now, what do I do with it? Do I have it redirect to my domain, or do I rebuild it, using all the content that I saved in a Word document (and is still available on the Microsoft site)? Ever since I completed this latest rewrite, I've been quite excited about it, and I kinda want to redo the website now that I have absolute control over how it will look. However, judging how long it took me to set up, it might take until the summer for me to have it ready. So, I might just send it to


Friday, February 5, 2010

Quiet but Productive Month

I've been slacking on my posting lately. Sorry!

Regarding my short stories: I've only missed one weekend submission so far. I thought I'd miss last weekend, but a rejection came in on Sunday and I was able to send it out again immediately.

I need to finish up "Riven" and send it to my first choice magazine this weekend. I'm hoping I'll be able to do that. We are planning a lazy weekend, and the miserable weather outside should help.

(You know you are a writer when you welcome rotten weather!)

Regarding novels: East of Yesterday continues to churn around in my mind. Now that Brad the Terrible is accompanying Mike and Ashley, the conflict has really picked up. I have a scene where he holds up a convenience store (entirely to Mike and Ashley's surprise) and flings a bunch of 20s in the air once they are on the road again. And the 20s become worthless the instant they start traveling back in time again, so they have been sitting in the car, forgotten.

Until they meet the gypsies.

Since this is primarily a road trip novel, I figure that gypsies will fit in nicely here. Especially since they're time traveling gypsies, and they have a lot of things for sale . . . from every era. And they take currency from any era too! Too bad Mike and Ash don't run into them until they're almost at their destination.

I've also decided that there will only be one love story . . . Mike's. I just can't make Ashley's work. Maybe she hasn't met the right guy yet. We'll have to see if he turns up as I write.