Pick Your Poison

We the people
 
Pick your poison
Fast acting
Slow
Slow acting
Fast

Of the United States

3 million
Fraudulent
Lies or facts
Alternative facts

In order to build
A more perfect union

What’s the alternative
Fires burning with hate
Voting rights suppressed
Tyranny

 
Establish justice
Insure domestic tranquility

 
Don’t tell me to leave
When I say this is not my America
 

provide for the common defense
promote the general welfare

Listen to words
of hope
not fear
I don’t mean I don’t belong here
I mean that protest is a right
Immigrants are welcome
I believe in unity not division
I reject suppression
Of the media
Of the news
Of voters
Of dreamers
Of Americans
Of tolerance
Of freedom

Secure the Blessings of Liberty
to ourselves and our Posterity
 
My America is welcoming
To nasty women
To quiet women
To those looking for a home
To those whose first language isn’t English
To men
To the non-binary
Your sexuality is your right
So is marriage
 
Perfection is unattainable
Together we stand
Mending divisions of injustice
A history of inequality
 
We
Build bridges
to create hope
And walls
to hide bodies
Torn apart by hate and fear
 
Atrocities

I will take my privilege and build a ladder
My religion and register as Muslim
I will open my house in asylum
My heart will hold hope
Until it is the only safe place left
I will cry out
when your rights
Are
abridged
threatened
destroyed
 
Not just mine

It isn’t just white or black
Or Christian
or Islam

It is together

The melting pot dream
Where a hijab is as welcome
As a cross
a star
a wheel
or nothing at all
 

That is my America
The dream
I still hold
even
as
Pen meets paper
And open borders disappear
 

As lies become alternative facts
Friends become unwelcome
As rights become privilege
Divisions become craters
 
my America is
Built on hope
Built on the bravery of the founders
Maintained by the sacrifice of uniform
Built for freedom
 
We are not perfect
Perfection is unattainable
But
We
Can
Do
Better
 
Pick your poison
 
 
 
 

A momentous moment…

<3 I learned from the best!

Yesterday was an amazing and empowering day. It is a memory I will cherish for the rest of my life. I can say I was there. I not only witnessed, I participated. I stood with friends, family, and strangers. I stood for something. I marched for something.

In Washington, DC, 500,000 people of all genders, from all walks of life, all races, and all sexual orientations, gathered, chanted, held signs, and came together to fight for the future of our women, our country, and our world. Each person held a slightly different belief of what our country should look like, and that’s okay because that’s what makes America great. At the core of the march was a desire for equality, a belief in science, a belief in climate change, worry about Trump’s closeness with Russia, concern about immigration, and worries about his overall lack of transparency, ethics, misogyny, thin-skin, and proposed appointees. And, of course, the racism prevalent in our country.

Together, we overwhelmed Washington, DC. Looking down street inclines and around monuments all I saw were people gathering and marching. It gave me chills. It still does. There was laughter and every person regardless of how they looked, sounded, or what they wore, was immediately seen as an ally. Most of the cars trying to make their way through streets overwhelmed by people honked not out of agitation or aggression but in support. They waved, smiled, and waited. They understood they were sitting in the middle of a movement.

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Those who participated stood, marched, linked arms, cried, and laughed. Because, when you fight for something there is comradery. Somehow, that laughter and joy was missing the day before when my mother walked along the streets on Inauguration Day. She mentioned everyone seemed angry, there was no waiting for the metro, there weren’t the crowds Donald Trump tweeted were there. It was predominately unhappy and bitter.

That bitterness continued today when around 7am Trump tweeted about the March.

“Watched protests yesterday but was under the impression that we just had an election! Why didn’t these people vote? Celebs hurt cause badly”  

It shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the purpose of the march. We are watching. We are partnering with Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, organizations fighting for LGBTQIA rights, and the many organizations fighting against climate change, for our planet, and equality. We are watching. We are fighting for something. And, yes, we voted. Contrary to his own tweets and beliefs, he lost the popular vote.

Like a cramp during a period, a few hours later another tweet came: “Peaceful protests are a hallmark of our democracy. Even if I don’t always agree, I recognize the rights of people to express their views.”

Do I doubt he believes or even wrote this? Absolutely. I am not the only one for as I scroll through the comments many others agree. This is a man for whom we were told to look at his heart and not his words. So if his actions are his heart I need only look at his appointees and actions to understand what he believes in.

Here are a few of my observations: My body is there to be assaulted. Immigrants are not welcome. Education should be privatized. Nepotism is okay. I don’t have the right to my own body. LGBTQIA individuals don’t deserve equality. Open and uncensored news and reporting  threatens you and your administration. Journalism is fake news. Lying to the American public is condoned.

I know he’s upset that millions across the world gathered and marched. He’s upset that by winning he still isn’t popular, that many stand against his agenda and his actions. That he tweets and is immediately shut down by the millions of people who are watching and paying attention.

January 21, 2017 was a breathtaking day. I can only hope the momentum continues. Here are my closing thoughts for Donald J. Trump and his administration:

I will support you when you support us. I will stand beside you when you stand beside me, when my fundamental rights are more important than your twitter account, when you hold Russia accountable, when you hold yourself accountable, when I see your tax returns, when you put your assets in a blind trust, when you act like our president and not a bad reality TV host, when you appoint individuals who are qualified to run federal agencies, when you support immigration, when you stop talking about a wall, when you stand against torture, when you shut down racism, when the NRA no longer pulls your strings, when you stop being Putin’s puppet… when you stand for me. When you stand for America and her values.

For, we the people, are here. We are watching. We and history and judging you.

7th Sea — Swashing and Buckling through the Quick Start

It has been a few years since my last campaign in Theah ended. I look back on those times with great fondness. The game I ran using the 7th Sea system were full of perils, and not a few prison breaks. I combined pregen situations with original ideas and ideas stolen from other games I was in. The heroes were actually heroes, not psychopaths masquerading as good guys.

The system had issues, don’t hate me for saying it. Every system has issues. The magic was difficult to use, the skills were varied and convoluted. But, that just meant house ruling how something worked with a mind toward action and adventure.

So, then I heard about a kickstarter for a 2nd edition of 7th Sea. Start the hyperventilating. Then I learn the best part, John Wick was creating it. I hoped that meant that the system wouldn’t become a D20 ripoff. Boy was I right.

Last night, 3/6/16, a group of six of us gathered to play through the quickstart. We had one person who had never played before. It took a few minute to review the rule changes, to figure out how things worked, but rather quickly the players were dashing through burning, swinging off chandeliers (I have a personal rule that if a player asks if there’s a chandelier and it makes sense at all, you say yes!). Poor Uncle Boris’ picture was getting shot as a Castillian  captain used it for cover.  You can see below that we pulled out paper (not gridded), not needed but helped for giving a visual to the player of roughly where things are.

IMG_3405

There were debates over the rules. Some of the fighting skills were a little vague  (in a duel, how often can you used an advanced maneuver? Once per round or can you use each maneuver once per round?)… dice pools were insane on occasion. Ok, ok, I gave them a lot of hero points. I wanted villain points because we’re testing a system. I had to see how it worked! I didn’t expect someone to cash in for 8 extra dice during the pivotal duel at the end… the character was ultimately defeated but man did he put up a fight!

I like the raise system and would like to work through the dueling again. I’m curious on the health difference between players and NPCs. Of course, players get more dice and have the opportunity for dice to explode at high injury levels or high skill levels. I don’t recall whether dice can explode for the bad guys. I did like the suggestion to give players to a count of 5 to make fast decisions. It kept the pace moving and players responded positively to the mechanic (we did talk about it before hand and I clearly stated their options to them before I counted, this gave them a moment to react and process what I was asking).

Overall, we had a great time and are looking forward to the entire rule set. John Wick, I think it’s safe to say that you and your team made our Sunday night. #sailthe7thSea

 

 

 

Queries, Novels, and Sequels…

I’ve nearly finished my first novel. Two friends and looking it over for any remaining grammatical uncertainties or any story issues. For better or for worse I’ve finished a query letter and a synopsis. I have a “submission package” document ready to go. To wrap this novel up I just need to look through the edits once they’re sent back and start the query process. Over the last months I’ve taken some time off of writing stories and worked on the submission documents. Anyone who tells you writing a query or synopsis is easy is lying. Or, at least in my case they are. I found creating these documents really difficult.  The multiple POV issue didn’t help! Which stories and intrinsic? What can be left out? What are preconceptions a reader might have? So much to juggle and think about…. ugh.

A few weeks ago I started outlining the sequel.  I’m using Scrivener to outline this novel. That’s something I didn’t do for the first and in hindsight I regret.  That being said, I don’t know if I would have known how to outline a novel. I never did it for papers in school so I think I needed to work through the process. For my first novel I shot from the hip and had to rewrite and reorganize. I had to create an ending, to revamp the middle, to cut and rewrite thousands of words. I want this to be more focused. I want to do half my brainstorming up front. Then, I want to hide and to write. I want to return to Agrini and my lords and ladies. I want to watch characters fall in and out of love, to see the machinations of gods and goddesses, kings and paupers, come to fruition or fail. The Shadow of the Labyrinth (oooh! title perhaps?)  is going to cover this novel. Sebelina will be stronger than in the first novel, she will rise, get knocked down, and come back all the better.

And now, a bit about our antagonist Edric and his first taste of magic from his sorceress Shira:

Shira’s already pale skin shone white as pulse after pulse of red energy shimmered down the ribbons, circling her flesh, and then reaching out toward him. He gasped, his own pale flesh stained red from the scalding touch of magic burning its way up his arm. After long moments of agony, the pain faded and he began to feel stronger, better, more. He could think of no other word. He could scarcely think. He was more.

Anyone else struggle with query or synopsis? How about a title for your novel? Do you outline or shoot from the hip?

Transported

Every time I sit down to write I’m transported into a world that I’ve created. For those minutes (sometimes hours) I allow myself to be swept away be an imaginary character I’ve created. Along with the joy of spending time with these friends and enemies, is a sense of responsibility to find and tell their stories.

My current story is older YA. A person at a writing group asked if I ever considered writing an adult story. My mind strayed to the unfinished manuscript I have saved to my computer. That story is 100,000 words that never quite became a full story, which never built a grand arc of tension, and which will eventually require massive rewriting.

I told him I had and mentioned the other story. It’s adult fantasy with sinister villains, sword fights, sex, magic, and death.  At some point I’ll finish that story. But for now? Now, I’m enjoying the world of monsters and teenage angst.

What genre and age range do you write and why are you drawn to it? Answer in the comments!

Pushing through

So, I’m pushing through the tension section that’s leaving me nervous. I guess I can come back and refine it later. I also started an overall motives outline of the story to track the two different goals the protagonist will have. I realized that I needed to flesh out some supporting characters and figure out who they were and where the fell in the great scheme of things. I cut a subplot because I felt it detracted from the tension. I can always resurrect it but at this point I think it would only work if I cut the horror element of this story. That’s not something I’m currently willing to do. 

Tension and Contests

I might not have posted since October, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been writing. In February I entered a flash fiction writing contest. It’s the first contest I’ve ever entered and I’m nervously/excitedly waiting for feedback from the judges. Women on Writing (wow-womenonwriting.com) hosts quarterly contests, the entry fee is only $10 to cover their costs and prizes. You can also buy a critique of the story which is another $10. So, for a grand total of $20 I’ll get feedback on my story and it’s entered in a contest.

In other writing news, I put my rough draft fantasy novel on the shelf and I am expanding the flash fiction story into something longer. I’m not sure how that’s going to change the story but it has psychological thriller tension that I’m cautiously outlining. I’m nervous about getting too hopeful because I’ve had issues with tension throughout an entire story before. It seems to be going well so here’s hoping.

When you write tension how do you track it?  I’m working with outlines but I’ve heard about people using spreadsheets and sticky notes. What works for you?