Monday, June 9, 2014

Post 500!

It's my 500th post! Woohoo!

I made my first posts in February, 2011. Now, over 3 years later, here we are. I've published my first book, Into the Tides--which, okay, was not the first one I've written, just the first one I've published. I know a lot more now (for instance, mailing myself a copy of my manuscript isn't considered adequate copyright protection; however, registering the copyright is). And a few of my life goals are different: for example, I've since decided that self-publishing is more advantageous for me.

It's been a wonderful, crazy, delicious few years. I've made fantastic new friends, while keeping my oldest friends close to my heart. Turns out, following my dreams--as terrifying as it was--seems to be working out all right for me.

And the blog has grown, too. I looked at the stats in 2012 and was pretty blown away by how much it had grown. It's kept growing since. No, not the million-hit-a-day kind of popular, but I'd call it fairly respectable. Here's a clip from today's stats!

Here's a toast to everyone who has joined me on my blog, and helped me grow it!

Thanks, guys, you rock! :D

The most popular post now, in case you're wondering, is the Sapience vs Sentience post. #2 is "How to tie a perfect bow."

As a major-blog-post-number celebration, I'm going to share a (sort of) deleted scene: the original opening to Into the Tides. This is the beginning that enraptured me so hard I had to keep writing the story, the writing exercise that took on a life of its own and superseded an outlined plot to become a book I couldn't stop writing until I finished.

Eventually, I replaced it with the current opening, but I kept as much as possible at a later point in the novel (You'll recognize it if you see it!). Still, much was also deleted.

The original, since-deleted opening:

The best hours of my youth were those I spent watching my mother work.
As an editor, she would spend hours working on the computer, ­tump-tump-tumping away, or else sitting with her eyes dancing and her mouse click-click-clicking. When it was “Mommy’s work time,” she’d place my brother and me in our play zone with crayons and paper, put in a pair of earbuds connecting to her cranky old iPod, turn the volume to midway, and start tapping out the tune of the music on her collarbone as she read.
As I got older, I discovered that I could judge her clients’ work by that tapping. Tump-tump-tump, regularly to a beat I couldn’t hear, meant they were doing well, that she didn’t need much concentration because there wasn’t much that needed fixing. When the beat dissolved into a rapid flutter, I knew she was enraptured, on the edge of her seat as the novel gripped her and wouldn’t let her go. When that happened, sometimes she wouldn’t remember to make dinner, or hear Dad come in. She’d always hear us if we cried, though; she never forgot her kids.
When she ran into something that made her think, the beat would lapse into silence, and her lips would curl into a moue. These were the moments she loved the best, even more than being swallowed by the story. Mom liked a good challenge, and so when she found a passage that came so close to being perfect, if only she could figure out what it needed… Sometimes, if she really had to think, she’d pull the earbuds out and stare at the screen in silence. Her nose would scrunch and scrinch and squirm around her face, and her eyes would take turns squinting and rolling around. She was always in a good mood after a day like that.
I could tell she’d be in a bad mood if the rhythm slowed without stopping. Tump… Tump… Tump… it was the Imperial Death March, the ominous sound of funeral drums. But worse were the occasional e-mails—the ones she despised more than anything, when a once-favored writer was snatched away by a larger publisher. That usually led to squeaky vituperation and the dramatic crack of Mom mercilessly kicking the tiny, battered trashcan under her desk. This was usually followed by more high-pitched cursing, as Mom rarely wore shoes, and the trashcan sensibly chose to fight back by being metal. We typically ate out on those nights, because Dad was a terrible cook.
In actuality, Dad watched us more often than Mom did. Mom’s job might let her take her work home on Monday and Tuesday afternoons, but she often had to travel, seeking out new clients for her company. Dad’s job was a little more flexible. As a fourth-class music Power, he went from clinic to clinic, hiring himself out by the hour to sing away patients’ pains. As a subcontractor, he got to choose his hours; he tried to keep his schedule as regular as possible for the patients’ sakes, but his own kids came first.
Trax and I never doubted that our parents were deeply in love, improbable as other people found their relationship. Mom was a book editor; Dad read stop signs and movie posters. Dad was a fantastic musician and Powered; Mom was tone-deaf and as magical as a rock. I think their differences may well have been the secret to their success, as much as it bewildered Dad’s die-hard fans after he’d traded in the search for fame for a house and two kids.
Dad’s account of how they met was much more dramatic than Mom’s, but hers was probably more accurate. Mom had been at a battle-of-the-bands concert, celebrating her acceptance as an intern at the publishing house. Dad overheard her talking about an agent whose client had been turned down, and just like that, he was all over her. Fortunately, he was decent enough to keep the date, even after realizing she’d been talking about a literary agent. Over the course of dinner, they discovered that she hated his music, he read as often as he shaved his cat, she thought that Powers were mostly useless, and he didn’t approve of anyone who couldn’t play at least one kind of instrument.
Trax and I were born five and half years later.
My brother took after Dad in musical skill, but I got Mom’s complete tone-deafness. I mean, I’m not just tone-deaf, I’m literally tone-deaf, as in physically incapable of identifying a single note by itself, due to a neurological misconnection. That’s what made it so crazy when I hit puberty and discovered I’d inherited Dad’s Powers, while my brother stayed as mundane as Mom.
For a while, Dad thought he might be able to train me, anyway. The problem is, musical-based Powers actually require the user to be able to hit a note. The right note. Music Powers are supposed to be able to hear every nuance of every sound, the tones of the world around us. I couldn’t. So he tried to teach me accompaniment instead. Sounds just fine; I have a pretty enough voice when I try and even if I can’t carry a tune, I make an interesting counter-melody, but… well, let’s just say it’s sort of disaster magically.
My brother, on the other hand, took full advantage of his lack of Powers to do what Dad never could: he started a band, and at 17 sold his first record. Dad was really proud of him for accomplishing what he couldn’t. It’s not that Dad wasn’t as good as my brother, but he was Powered. Everyone expects the Powered to do something—not just entertain. Dad thought he could get away with it, being only 4th-class, but if you’re more than a 6th, fame’s a dead-end road.
While my brother was getting famous, I was getting shuttled off to Mechany’s School for the Magically Disabled, which is sort of a super-intensive school for fixing magical learning disabilities that accepted students as young as twelve and as old as college. Dad’s attempts at tutoring me through it put me with the college prep kids. I wasn’t powerful enough to be dangerous, but I was powerful enough that I could be useful—if I could use my magic.
I managed to escape the barrage of researchers, since the source of my disability was pretty obvious, but it meant I never got a lot of one-on-one attention. Rogers’ Research Institute only granted funds when researchers asked for them; being tone-deaf didn’t qualify as interesting, so no private tutors for me. During my freshman college year, though, my professors had some marginal success. I’m not your typical Powered, but we found a way for me to somewhat use my Power. Still, they downgraded my talent classification to 6th, because while I had the power for 4th-class, I was pretty limited in what I could actually do.
I transferred to a regular college with the understanding that I’d never make a living off my Power. Being a music Power without musical ability pretty much strikes that profession off the charts. But I was able to get a pretty good job in the editorial department of an online magazine—‘pretty good’ meaning that I had a job, not that it paid well. I moved to Madison, WI, and not too long after, my brother moved to New York to appease his career manager.
Mom and Dad stayed in the South. When the Tides hit, we lost them—we lost our grandparents and our cousins—we lost everyone south of Virginia and east of Texas.
Trax moved in with me as soon as the road bans were lifted. I was all he had left. The rent went up shortly thereafter, but thanks to his career, we had more than enough, even though the housing market was sky-high.
Nobody wanted to live on the coast anymore.

Being tone deaf, Kelly always considered her music magic useless. But when her neighbor Derik invites her on a salvage mission in the magic-devastated American South, she discovers she can hear the voices of the people lost.

Now, hoping to save the family she lost, she'll seek out a way to collapse the bubble of magic drowning most of the region. But Derik and her only surviving relative--her twin brother--aren't about to let her face being trapped forever in the magic herself, or death by its monsters.

Trying to get back everyone she's lost might just cost her everyone she has left.

Available on:
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