Latte, Tel Aviv March 2011, Somewhere in the market. 
Editing away…..

Latte, Tel Aviv March 2011, Somewhere in the market. 

Editing away…..

Magnolia Tree, Bemmel, Netherlands, April 2011.
Lucky shot. Something for the start of summer here. Love these big bloomy trees. Sometimes its just eye candy here. 

Magnolia Tree, Bemmel, Netherlands, April 2011.

Lucky shot. Something for the start of summer here. Love these big bloomy trees. Sometimes its just eye candy here. 

Chicago, May 2012.
Walked by and HAD to stop. Location. Location. The perfectly done lawn, the spiky fence. the stillness. Location reference photo. Its a thing. Amuse me. My world-building is done on the fly, an ever evolving thing. 
Maybe some of the Sources live here. Maybe its the original House where Sascha was turned. Hrm. That’s likely. Yep. 

Chicago, May 2012.

Walked by and HAD to stop. Location. Location. The perfectly done lawn, the spiky fence. the stillness. Location reference photo. Its a thing. Amuse me. My world-building is done on the fly, an ever evolving thing. 

Maybe some of the Sources live here. Maybe its the original House where Sascha was turned. Hrm. That’s likely. Yep. 

Keukenhof Purple Tulips, Netherlands, April 2011.
I’d never seen purple tulips like this till Keukenhof. If you ever have the slightest opportunity, it’s worth the trip. A blooming spectacle, for just a couple short months a year, shorter every year I’m told as the temps rise, and the tulips are prone to bowing their heads in the heat. 
A recurring detail in the books is each clan/sub clan has their own color/symbol identifier, and when i found the purple flowers in my rafts of travel pictures, I realize I probably will sit down and draw some of these out and turn them in to jewelery pieces yet, so that I have a sketchbook of ideas to start with at the bench in september. 

Keukenhof Purple Tulips, Netherlands, April 2011.

I’d never seen purple tulips like this till Keukenhof. If you ever have the slightest opportunity, it’s worth the trip. A blooming spectacle, for just a couple short months a year, shorter every year I’m told as the temps rise, and the tulips are prone to bowing their heads in the heat. 

A recurring detail in the books is each clan/sub clan has their own color/symbol identifier, and when i found the purple flowers in my rafts of travel pictures, I realize I probably will sit down and draw some of these out and turn them in to jewelery pieces yet, so that I have a sketchbook of ideas to start with at the bench in september. 

I’m just leaving this here to marvel at my phone’s camera capability. 
It hasn’t ANYTHING to do with the writing. Just enjoy. 

I’m just leaving this here to marvel at my phone’s camera capability. 

It hasn’t ANYTHING to do with the writing. Just enjoy. 

Jellyfish, ( accurately, a Sea nettle, this critter).
A madcap jaunt to Chicago, another pair of flights, more hotel rooms, more navigation of strange places even if you speak the language, your brain has to be on pointe in new cities.
Some new pix, new insights into my creative work, some much needed mutual ego boosting with creative folks, and a fantastic wedding and a day with a small boy and his mom at the Aquarium in Chicago. 
I did get some writing done, and once I recover from a return of the ick and travel lurgy that hit ( odd for such a SHORT flight), I’ll be back in fighting form. 
Meanwhile, the brain floats happy as a Jelly, recharged and ready. Alas, the body is just thumped. 

Jellyfish, ( accurately, a Sea nettle, this critter).

A madcap jaunt to Chicago, another pair of flights, more hotel rooms, more navigation of strange places even if you speak the language, your brain has to be on pointe in new cities.

Some new pix, new insights into my creative work, some much needed mutual ego boosting with creative folks, and a fantastic wedding and a day with a small boy and his mom at the Aquarium in Chicago. 

I did get some writing done, and once I recover from a return of the ick and travel lurgy that hit ( odd for such a SHORT flight), I’ll be back in fighting form. 

Meanwhile, the brain floats happy as a Jelly, recharged and ready. Alas, the body is just thumped. 

Shanghai, October 2011: The picture doesn’t quite capture the true “teeming” of the fish. I was a little wary of the beasties. 
Off to visit friends in far lands and attend a weddin ceremony. A brief proper holiday before my summer of work really kicks in. Hoping to get some writing time in here and there. Might even do one or two “story in ten sentences”, more so if someone sends me an interesting picture. I dares ya. 
Still. packed, ready to rock. Travel is good for my brain. Its good for the soul. And I have to get up at eek o clock in the morning so no late night tonight. All the little details that needed to get wrapped up pre trip miraculously all came together today, fortuitous indeed. 
I’m hoping to make some progress on writing and editing the novella, and plotting book 2. Any progress, really. At least come home with a re-energized head. 

Shanghai, October 2011: The picture doesn’t quite capture the true “teeming” of the fish. I was a little wary of the beasties. 

Off to visit friends in far lands and attend a weddin ceremony. A brief proper holiday before my summer of work really kicks in. Hoping to get some writing time in here and there. Might even do one or two “story in ten sentences”, more so if someone sends me an interesting picture. I dares ya. 

Still. packed, ready to rock. Travel is good for my brain. Its good for the soul. And I have to get up at eek o clock in the morning so no late night tonight. All the little details that needed to get wrapped up pre trip miraculously all came together today, fortuitous indeed. 

I’m hoping to make some progress on writing and editing the novella, and plotting book 2. Any progress, really. At least come home with a re-energized head. 

Xian, China, Terra Cotta Warriors. 
Prepping for another small adventure, and I don’t anticipate much tumblrwriting, so I thought it’d be a good time to post a quick intro to the characters and work in progress. For all three of my followers. ooh. 
I don’t have large casts in the books, I just can’t keep track, and even if they’re small ( no GRRMartin am I), I’ve been guilty of forgetting characters in the scene or they wander off. 
From book one:( Shattering the Grey, referring to the gray wall that holds Sascha back from harming his mortals, but he has to, to save them. No similarity to hideous current novels was intended whatsoever. I hate titling, more than I hate the similarity. So I’m stuck).
Sascha, the main protag, a vampire with his human ethics, morals, and a past that’s catching up to him. Not much of the angst. No angst. 
James is his current mortal chewtoy, going on a few years, a lovely little torrid affair, James has a night job in a bar band. Was supposed to be a background character. Kind of barged in on the scene.
Rachel, a co worker of James’s, and a housemate with Sascha and James. She knows what Sascha is, but isn’t interested in being a source. Sascha’s pretty much ok with this. 
Asher: another walk on character that developed, and he’s got his little immortal heart set on Rachel. 
From Sascha’s past, there’s his creator, Evelyn, a former lover, Stefan, Isabel, a mortal source he tries to save, and fails, and the usual assortment of walk ons. 
Book two: they’re all back, plus a few mortals who move in as Sources/lovers, companions, co workers. Still in the plotting pre writing phase, hoping to start it shortly. 
Lily : James, Asher, Julia, a source, Isabel makes an appearance, Anna, a fellow doctor alongside Sascha, Daniel and Andra, who are sources like Julia. But mostly the novel focusses on the trio and their affair. 
What after that? Probably just keep writing……

Xian, China, Terra Cotta Warriors. 

Prepping for another small adventure, and I don’t anticipate much tumblrwriting, so I thought it’d be a good time to post a quick intro to the characters and work in progress. For all three of my followers. ooh. 

I don’t have large casts in the books, I just can’t keep track, and even if they’re small ( no GRRMartin am I), I’ve been guilty of forgetting characters in the scene or they wander off. 

From book one:( Shattering the Grey, referring to the gray wall that holds Sascha back from harming his mortals, but he has to, to save them. No similarity to hideous current novels was intended whatsoever. I hate titling, more than I hate the similarity. So I’m stuck).

  • Sascha, the main protag, a vampire with his human ethics, morals, and a past that’s catching up to him. Not much of the angst. No angst. 
  • James is his current mortal chewtoy, going on a few years, a lovely little torrid affair, James has a night job in a bar band. Was supposed to be a background character. Kind of barged in on the scene.
  • Rachel, a co worker of James’s, and a housemate with Sascha and James. She knows what Sascha is, but isn’t interested in being a source. Sascha’s pretty much ok with this. 
  • Asher: another walk on character that developed, and he’s got his little immortal heart set on Rachel. 

From Sascha’s past, there’s his creator, Evelyn, a former lover, Stefan, Isabel, a mortal source he tries to save, and fails, and the usual assortment of walk ons. 

Book two: they’re all back, plus a few mortals who move in as Sources/lovers, companions, co workers. Still in the plotting pre writing phase, hoping to start it shortly. 

Lily : James, Asher, Julia, a source, Isabel makes an appearance, Anna, a fellow doctor alongside Sascha, Daniel and Andra, who are sources like Julia. But mostly the novel focusses on the trio and their affair. 

What after that? Probably just keep writing……

"Hey, Bob, close your office blinds." "Why?" "NEVER MIND! JUST CLOSE EM!" "What’s that squelching noise?" "Oh dear gods, get the salt! get the salt!" "Oh the humanity!" (i can’t claim it as a tale, as this was our riffing, as giant snails take over shanghai. )

"Hey, Bob, close your office blinds." "Why?" "NEVER MIND! JUST CLOSE EM!" "What’s that squelching noise?" "Oh dear gods, get the salt! get the salt!" "Oh the humanity!" (i can’t claim it as a tale, as this was our riffing, as giant snails take over shanghai. )

Haarlem, Netherlands, Teyler Museum, April 2011.
He sat at the cafe table, the daylight inching away from the table, slipping out the door. It had places to go. So did he. A flutter of anticipation and fear in his gut, he longed for the bite. The brief snap of pain as teeth broke skin, the pull of his blood. A lick of the tongue on blood tinted lips, a smile, a flush in the cheeks, both mortal and immortal. 
"You’ve been working too long again." A flash of sharp teeth.
"I know. I know. Deadlines. How can you tell?"
"You taste like espresso." 

Haarlem, Netherlands, Teyler Museum, April 2011.

He sat at the cafe table, the daylight inching away from the table, slipping out the door. It had places to go. So did he. A flutter of anticipation and fear in his gut, he longed for the bite. The brief snap of pain as teeth broke skin, the pull of his blood. A lick of the tongue on blood tinted lips, a smile, a flush in the cheeks, both mortal and immortal. 

"You’ve been working too long again." A flash of sharp teeth.

"I know. I know. Deadlines. How can you tell?"

"You taste like espresso." 

Spiky ironwork, V&A, London, April 2011 
Another detail that will surely turn up in the books, maybe only because it looks so deliciously sinister. The gorgeous ironwork, ( I can’t help I’m a sucker for metalwork, its my THING), and the scrolls and flowers, it can’t decide to be aggressive lines or gentle curves. 
My writing inspires my metal work, my metal work in turn inspires writing to some degree. The focus, I realize hours after ending first yr, is feeding on each other, as I got more focussed on the books, the more focus at the bench and around it went. 
I snapped lots of pictures of wee items to weave into details in the book, keys, boxes, lockets. I love the V&A, and I have only trawled a fraction of it, so I’ll simply make as many trips as need be, to take it in. 
Tonight on the menu: start doing a late final pass on the first book, and some writing on the Lily novel, and some assorted little emails for others. Music’s on, settled at the desk, ready to go. 

Spiky ironwork, V&A, London, April 2011 

Another detail that will surely turn up in the books, maybe only because it looks so deliciously sinister. The gorgeous ironwork, ( I can’t help I’m a sucker for metalwork, its my THING), and the scrolls and flowers, it can’t decide to be aggressive lines or gentle curves. 

My writing inspires my metal work, my metal work in turn inspires writing to some degree. The focus, I realize hours after ending first yr, is feeding on each other, as I got more focussed on the books, the more focus at the bench and around it went. 

I snapped lots of pictures of wee items to weave into details in the book, keys, boxes, lockets. I love the V&A, and I have only trawled a fraction of it, so I’ll simply make as many trips as need be, to take it in. 

Tonight on the menu: start doing a late final pass on the first book, and some writing on the Lily novel, and some assorted little emails for others. Music’s on, settled at the desk, ready to go. 

Shanghai, China,2011
Finished my final project for the term, and half way done with the goldsmithing pressure cooker that is this program. I can’t say its the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it ranks up there. I’m starting to realize that I push, and push hard. I run low, and I somehow find it somewhere to dig deep and keep going. I get home aching, sore, cut, bruised, burned, reeking of the studio, and I wonder how some of my more delicate classmates get by, because this is a program that’s not for the faint of heart. 
Not that I’m special. I just do what I do. And there’s a bit of freefalling silence, of having MADE it across that ocean you started swimming before realizing how many sharks lurked and the waves that threatened to sink you but the option to quit is as ridiculous as it is to go forward. So forward I went.
This pic in china…I wanted to add a bit of internationality to my characters, to their world. I didn’t want to make it all mysterious eastern stuff, because in my view, its not “mysterious”, it was simply a frame shift. A change of perspective. Leading up to the trip I was a bit hesitant, even for me the veteran traveller, but you go forward, because well…
I did wind up slipping in references to the vast network of scattered Houses and sanctuaries around the globe, mostly at first because my character is avoiding them because they want him dead. And later, he’s part of the world he was once denied.
I love the scroll/fretwork, the swinging red lanterns, the uptick of the eaves. A little community of immortals could find themselves at home just fine here. There’s a bustling market, full of mortals, lots of little side streets, perfect for what they need. Am I the only one who notices what goes on when people think no one’s looking? And no one during the day is much wiser.
However, during festivals, it does get very loud. So maybe here, they all sleep with earplugs.
For now, I think I’ll do some work work, and then settle in to some “I’m free of the pressure cooker for 5 months!” writing. And start feeling my aching body knit itself back together. 

Shanghai, China,2011

Finished my final project for the term, and half way done with the goldsmithing pressure cooker that is this program. I can’t say its the hardest thing I’ve ever done but it ranks up there. I’m starting to realize that I push, and push hard. I run low, and I somehow find it somewhere to dig deep and keep going. I get home aching, sore, cut, bruised, burned, reeking of the studio, and I wonder how some of my more delicate classmates get by, because this is a program that’s not for the faint of heart. 

Not that I’m special. I just do what I do. And there’s a bit of freefalling silence, of having MADE it across that ocean you started swimming before realizing how many sharks lurked and the waves that threatened to sink you but the option to quit is as ridiculous as it is to go forward. So forward I went.

This pic in china…I wanted to add a bit of internationality to my characters, to their world. I didn’t want to make it all mysterious eastern stuff, because in my view, its not “mysterious”, it was simply a frame shift. A change of perspective. Leading up to the trip I was a bit hesitant, even for me the veteran traveller, but you go forward, because well…

I did wind up slipping in references to the vast network of scattered Houses and sanctuaries around the globe, mostly at first because my character is avoiding them because they want him dead. And later, he’s part of the world he was once denied.

I love the scroll/fretwork, the swinging red lanterns, the uptick of the eaves. A little community of immortals could find themselves at home just fine here. There’s a bustling market, full of mortals, lots of little side streets, perfect for what they need. Am I the only one who notices what goes on when people think no one’s looking? And no one during the day is much wiser.

However, during festivals, it does get very loud. So maybe here, they all sleep with earplugs.

For now, I think I’ll do some work work, and then settle in to some “I’m free of the pressure cooker for 5 months!” writing. And start feeling my aching body knit itself back together. 

A picture is worth 1000 words. So, dude in the jeans…..;) Xi’an, China, Muslim Street restaurant, October 2011. 

A picture is worth 1000 words. So, dude in the jeans…..;) Xi’an, China, Muslim Street restaurant, October 2011. 

Sanctuary, a hofje garden, Haarlem, Netherlands, april 2011
At least I think it’s a hofje, but I can’t be 100% sure now, except that I know exactly what street its on, in Haarlem. So I can go back and check. Might be a wait. 
I like little places like this in cities, obviously, the small little garden or side place tucked away. Sanctuaries. So there’s a few in my writing, someone with a place of their own, room of their own, shelter, safety, solitude. 
Lots of gardens. In their world lots of gardens for contemplation and love, and socializing and just safely away from the mortal world, where they might be discovered a bit too easily. 
And in every place I go, there’s always these little places. So they settle into my head and come back when i flip through the archives when I’m trying to picture a setting. Haven’t specifically used this one, though, I love the entryway, and the gardens beyond. ( there was a gate, I couldn’t go further).
And if I travel to places I know well, I have my little sanctuaries in each city. Which would make me no use as a spy, regular haunts are not the sort of thing you have if you were an international lass of mystery. 
Sometimes the characters retreat to favorite haunts, at huge risk, and sometimes they take a deep breath and go forth to find new safe places. 
Finished a massive intricate project for my classes today, a pair of tiny gold earrings.( Oorbellen if you’re dutch, which I like better.)  Exhausted doesn’t cover it, and I still look at them and see not the perfectly glossy front, but all the myriad imperfections. Still, they’re done, and done well, and that’s saying something, with this project. 

Sanctuary, a hofje garden, Haarlem, Netherlands, april 2011

At least I think it’s a hofje, but I can’t be 100% sure now, except that I know exactly what street its on, in Haarlem. So I can go back and check. Might be a wait. 

I like little places like this in cities, obviously, the small little garden or side place tucked away. Sanctuaries. So there’s a few in my writing, someone with a place of their own, room of their own, shelter, safety, solitude. 

Lots of gardens. In their world lots of gardens for contemplation and love, and socializing and just safely away from the mortal world, where they might be discovered a bit too easily. 

And in every place I go, there’s always these little places. So they settle into my head and come back when i flip through the archives when I’m trying to picture a setting. Haven’t specifically used this one, though, I love the entryway, and the gardens beyond. ( there was a gate, I couldn’t go further).

And if I travel to places I know well, I have my little sanctuaries in each city. Which would make me no use as a spy, regular haunts are not the sort of thing you have if you were an international lass of mystery. 

Sometimes the characters retreat to favorite haunts, at huge risk, and sometimes they take a deep breath and go forth to find new safe places. 

Finished a massive intricate project for my classes today, a pair of tiny gold earrings.( Oorbellen if you’re dutch, which I like better.)  Exhausted doesn’t cover it, and I still look at them and see not the perfectly glossy front, but all the myriad imperfections. Still, they’re done, and done well, and that’s saying something, with this project. 

Jet wing over the Netherlands, June 2011
I should point out before carrying on, that the photos mostly have a date of 2011.
It was a ridiculous year of travel, a logistical brain breaker, and left me in December, dreaming of the hum of jet engines when I slept. ( I do dream of airports quite a lot, no surprise.)
What happened? 
Well. In 2010 we won a trip to Israel through the Design Exchange, and it was fantastic. The beaches in Tel Aviv rank as one of those wildly happy places I need to go back to. The rabbit warren streets of the old city of Jerusalem. Lovely people. Lovely country. Safe. Great food. (Aware of the political/religious hot potato of it all, we just simply didn’t care.) Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, Mount of Olives where we nearly ran over a camel. That was March 2011. 
Six weeks later, I was winging it off to Amsterdam for two months, for a language course, and to meet more of my family. I had the utter fortune and generosity of a lovely little house to stay in Haarlem, and visited London UK, Den Haag, Utrecht, and Nijmegen during my stay, plus a token dash through Belgium and an amusing French Passport stamp obtained by being in that strange zone whilst crossing borders, and not actually setting foot on real French terra firma. I long to go back. My heart aches for Amsterdam in ways that can’t be silenced. It was towards the tail end of this trip that I started writing again. Think Rijksmuseum, Keukenhof,Van Gogh Museum, the Red Light District, Artis Zoo, and a day in London with a friend, who tended nicely to me as I’d completely busted an ankle and limped across London, The Museum of the Docklands, the Science and tech, the V and A, the Wellcome Collection, Natural history, and beers in Camden. 
Then. A brief respite then off to Dragoncon in Atlanta, where I think I pushed the limits of sleep deprivation to some interesting levels. I vaguely recall we taught the token adorable Brit to say in an american accent, “Strip, Bitch!” and it was all kinds of wrong and all kinds of laughing till we had tears in our eyes. 
Started classes, ( goldsmithing, never mind buying this girl jewellery, she makes the bling), and then we were off to China for two weeks, 3 days in Beijing, 2 in Xian, 5 in Shanghai. Saw the sights, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, The Water Cube and Birds Nest, The Great Wall of China, Xi’an, Terra Cotta warriors, an overdose of dumplings, running in to friends from Canada, visiting a friend working in Beijing, Shanghai, an acrobatics show, the Bund, pearl and jade markets, fakes markets, the world financial tower, and the hotel I swear, if i need to get away to write, I’ll return and no one can find me.:D 
There was an ill fated trip to DC for a friend’s wedding, where i was to go Toronto to JFK to Dulles DC, and wound up Toronto to Cinncinnatti!, to Detroit at which point I was 4 hours from home by car in 18 hrs of travel and I realized it wasn’t to be. 
So yeah. Kinda logged the air miles. Had the netbook for writing. Spent much of the layover in Hong Kong in the Cathay lounge, writing. ( we had business class tix, which is an astounding way to travel.) 
This year’s a bit subdued for my class schedule and his time off. But i have a passport. I aim to wear it out. 
So that jet wing in the clouds: That was my year last year. Not as much as some people, but for your average person, it was pretty ridiculous. and I loved every minute. I get antsy when I don’t travel. I feel it, the pull to GO PLACES. Soon. And I’ll have my writing and sketchbook, grabbing ideas and inspiration. 

Jet wing over the Netherlands, June 2011

I should point out before carrying on, that the photos mostly have a date of 2011.

It was a ridiculous year of travel, a logistical brain breaker, and left me in December, dreaming of the hum of jet engines when I slept. ( I do dream of airports quite a lot, no surprise.)

What happened? 

Well. In 2010 we won a trip to Israel through the Design Exchange, and it was fantastic. The beaches in Tel Aviv rank as one of those wildly happy places I need to go back to. The rabbit warren streets of the old city of Jerusalem. Lovely people. Lovely country. Safe. Great food. (Aware of the political/religious hot potato of it all, we just simply didn’t care.) Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, Mount of Olives where we nearly ran over a camel. That was March 2011. 

Six weeks later, I was winging it off to Amsterdam for two months, for a language course, and to meet more of my family. I had the utter fortune and generosity of a lovely little house to stay in Haarlem, and visited London UK, Den Haag, Utrecht, and Nijmegen during my stay, plus a token dash through Belgium and an amusing French Passport stamp obtained by being in that strange zone whilst crossing borders, and not actually setting foot on real French terra firma. I long to go back. My heart aches for Amsterdam in ways that can’t be silenced. It was towards the tail end of this trip that I started writing again. Think Rijksmuseum, Keukenhof,Van Gogh Museum, the Red Light District, Artis Zoo, and a day in London with a friend, who tended nicely to me as I’d completely busted an ankle and limped across London, The Museum of the Docklands, the Science and tech, the V and A, the Wellcome Collection, Natural history, and beers in Camden. 

Then. A brief respite then off to Dragoncon in Atlanta, where I think I pushed the limits of sleep deprivation to some interesting levels. I vaguely recall we taught the token adorable Brit to say in an american accent, “Strip, Bitch!” and it was all kinds of wrong and all kinds of laughing till we had tears in our eyes. 

Started classes, ( goldsmithing, never mind buying this girl jewellery, she makes the bling), and then we were off to China for two weeks, 3 days in Beijing, 2 in Xian, 5 in Shanghai. Saw the sights, the Forbidden City, Summer Palace, The Water Cube and Birds Nest, The Great Wall of China, Xi’an, Terra Cotta warriors, an overdose of dumplings, running in to friends from Canada, visiting a friend working in Beijing, Shanghai, an acrobatics show, the Bund, pearl and jade markets, fakes markets, the world financial tower, and the hotel I swear, if i need to get away to write, I’ll return and no one can find me.:D 

There was an ill fated trip to DC for a friend’s wedding, where i was to go Toronto to JFK to Dulles DC, and wound up Toronto to Cinncinnatti!, to Detroit at which point I was 4 hours from home by car in 18 hrs of travel and I realized it wasn’t to be. 

So yeah. Kinda logged the air miles. Had the netbook for writing. Spent much of the layover in Hong Kong in the Cathay lounge, writing. ( we had business class tix, which is an astounding way to travel.) 

This year’s a bit subdued for my class schedule and his time off. But i have a passport. I aim to wear it out. 

So that jet wing in the clouds: That was my year last year. Not as much as some people, but for your average person, it was pretty ridiculous. and I loved every minute. I get antsy when I don’t travel. I feel it, the pull to GO PLACES. Soon. And I’ll have my writing and sketchbook, grabbing ideas and inspiration.