Weaving Reality

A ball of yarn, an empty garden bed, a blank word document – raw materials to weave my reality.

New Blog and Website February 12, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kitty @ 10:48 am

Hi Everyone one.

My blog have moved over to my official website, http://kittysarkozy.com/.

If you want to keep reading this blog subscribe or follow at http://kittysarkozy.com/weaving-reality/.

I am still working out of few kinks, so feel free to give me feed back or tell me if something is not working correctly. I am also trying to figure out how to follow all the people I follow now on my new blog, so if you know how to do that please let me know.

 

Extraordinary Show January 15, 2013

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kitty @ 10:27 am
Tags: ,

Extraordinary Contraptions

I went to a house show on Sunday night with three great bands.  I’d never been to a house show before and frankly it was a little surreal.  Here are these great bands playing in a small Victorian looking parlor. It was like being in another time, which was  perfect setting for the final band “The Extraordinary Contraptions” who are steampunk themed.

The first performer was Third Seven (http://www.thirdseven.com/).  I got to the show a little late, so I only heard two songs from him.   His music seems very soulful and passionate.  I am going to download his CD and tell you more about his music later once I have more to tell.

The second group was Fable Cry (http://www.fablecry.com/) who put on a very high energy, funny, exciting show.   They have this creepy circus/traveling musicians sort of thing going on.  If you are afraid of mimes, clowns or serial killer ring masters they might freak you out. They are a brother and sister group that is about as far from Donnie and Marie as you can get.   I loved them.  They are out of Tennessee so hopeful I will have a chance to see them preform again.   Their songs are about adventures and their show was one. Frantically dancing with bells on his feet Zach Ferrin engaged the audience with a delightful mix of  sinister and funny.  Kirstie made everything surreal with bizarre sound effects and her delightfully haunting voice .  These people are talented, each playing several instruments. Their music is sort of 1880 french, circus and appalachian hootenanny all mixed up.  Check them out, you will not be disappointed.  I took a few pictures of them, but none of them are very good so I am using this great picture from their facebook, which expresses them nicely.  (If y’all see this, and I can’t use this picture for some reason let me know and I will take it down). fable cry

The last group was The Extraordinary Contraptions (http://theextraordinarycontraptions.com/), who I have seen before in larger settings.  They were wonderful as always.  Their characters and costumes are fun, their music high energy, and their talent…well let me just say if you want to be able to say you liked them before they were famous you might need to get on that soon. These are skilled musicians who know what they are doing and are clearly enjoying themselves doing it.

Live music, like live theater, is better than CDs or videos can express, however this video catches their whimsy and talent perfectly.  Watch it now, and then tell me “Thank you! This has made my day!” in the comments.  Because it will sweep you back to a time that never was, but should have been.

Seriously, let me know what you think and tell me about any great performers that I need to be listening too.

 

People Farming January 9, 2013

Filed under: Writing — Kitty @ 9:40 am
Tags: , , , ,

veggiesEveryone on the writing sites, blogs and communities are talking about “fans”.  Some say that social media is the way to get them; others talk about the “million fan fallacy”.  Some talk about “true fans” as opposed to people who just ‘like’ your facebook page.  You can find countless people talking about the correct marketing strategy to get all these fans.

It occurred to me today that this is farming, with people as the crop.  When you friend as many people as you can on every social media site possible, start a blog or Youtube channel you are planting the seed.  When you comment here and there, show an interest in other people life/work/family, write blog posts, read blog and comment, make a new video or put your stories up as podcasts that is the fertilizing and watering.   The idea is that if you do this enough you will get “fans” who are harvested when they buy your books.

If your books are good then the “fans” will buy each new book.

I am doing this.  There is a good chance that you are doing this.  Many of the blogs I read are those of other writers.  Most of my communities are for writers.   All of us say we are there to learn new skills and make friends, but really we are thinking “I am a reader, I read tons of books, all writers must be readers, I bet writers will buy my book”.

But there might be a big problem with this theory.  I don’t think about buy and selling at the same time. This is not like going to a WoW merchant, where you sell all your old stuff and buy new stuff in the same window.  I don’t often think of reading as work/research.  Sure, each time I read a book it sparks my imagination and helps me be a better writer.  But when I am “working” I am not actively looking for the next book to read in my leisure time.

When I am farming for people that is work.  Marketing is the most worky work I can think of involved with writing.    So far, I think I have only bought two books while doing people farming; one because the book looked interesting and the other because I liked the blogger.  So, it can happen, but I have looked at the pages of maybe a few hundred people, so don’t hold your breath.  I don’t think a single person I have met from writing communities or blogging has ever bought my book. So far people I know in person buy it. Some of them just because they want to support me emotionally, not because my writing interests them.

I have two goals that don’t play well together:

-Find my future “fans” when I market and convince them to give my work a try.

-Find the best new writer each time I finish reading a book.anne-geddes-cabbage-kids

There are people out there who would love my stories or want to be my “fan” because of how awesome I am.  I am a fan of lots of people, but honestly very few of them are indie writers. I know there must be indie writers out there I would love, but I mostly read popular, established writers because it is easy to find the ones that matches my tastes.

Here in lies another problem; the soil in which we plant our seeds.

You might not ever be a fan of my writing, and I might not ever like yours.  You can market to me all day about, a Christian romance novel or a sports related mystery, and no matter how good it is I will not buy it.  Ever.  If you don’t like sci-fi, fantasy and feminism you will never like my books.

The big publishers marketing works for them, because they can throw so much advertising out that some of the seeds will have to germinate even if they don’t try to find the right soil at all. They put up posters of their new books in the book stores, we can’t do that.   They send their author’s out on book signing, advertising it on the radio and newspapers. I don’t even have a physical copy of my book to sign.   They send their authors to conventions, where I am just possible person to farm.  They make deals with movie people and famous readers.

As indie authors we don’t have their reach or resources to do that sort of throwing to the wind marketing, and yet we try so hard, wasting our efforts.   But there must be something we can do.  I can’t think of anything right now to try to make you love me (other than be lovable  which I am rocking), but I do have an idea of how to maybe find some indie authors I might like.

My mind is fertile soil, come plant your seed.

Off the top of my head my favorites you have heard of are Terry Pratchett, Jim Butcher, Christopher Moore, Susan Collins, Neil Gaiman  Octavia Butler, Lovecraft, Douglas Addams and Poe.

I like fantasy and sci-fi with a nice amount of action, but not all action.  I like humor thrown in as well as the strange or absurd.  I am a big fan of YA novels, especially with strong female characters.  I like urban fantasy, steam punk and weird westerns.  Creepy and dark, without being gory torture porn, is also a favorite.

I don’t like the type of fantasy that is centered on romance/sex.  Some romance and sex is great, but if that is the main plot then I am not your audience.   I don’t dig non-consensual sex especially  or women being abused.   I am not a big fan of books where sadness is the goal.

If you like at least half of the above authors and you think your work or something you have read is what I am looking for then comment here.  I will check you out.  If I buy your book I will review it honestly.  So don’t try to trick me.

 

Crunchies in the Fridge January 8, 2013

Filed under: Animals — Kitty @ 11:01 am
Tags: , , ,

Or Tales of the Crazy Cat Lady – The Turkey Trap

I made a mistake.

Mookie my oldest cat who will turn 15 in two months has always shared food with me.  She mostly eats cat food, but she likes to have a few bites of whatever I am eating at meals.  This has never been a problem so we went with it.  One of her favorite foods is roasted turkey.  Turkey, as long as it is not salty and over processed is good for cats, better than most of the grainy cat foods.  For Thanksgiving I always make a big turkey and the cats eat as much as they want and then have little snacks everyday as long as the turkey lasts.

This year after Thanksgiving dinner I took all the meat and put it in a zip lock bag, then into the fridge (the bones became stock).  Problem was the fridge was as stuffed as the turkey had been, so the bags of turkey got put in the bottom drawer.  Mookie, follows me around most days, so every time when I went to the fridge, even for a glass of water, she was near by.   She could smell the turkey, and the bottom drawer is not very tight, so she would reach out and pull it open.

Once she saw the turkey, she would turn her beautiful big sad eyes to me, pleading “May I haz some more plez?”.  I could not deny her food once she had seen it, so I would open the bag and give her a few bites, which of course chummed the water so all the other sharks would come running. Mookie in Fridge

Soon she realized the best food is in the fridge.  The turkey is of course long gone.  But there is always something in there she wants to eat. Soon I realized she was getting a snack every time I went to the fridge.  Then she started meowing and standing on her hind legs against the fridge every time I went to the kitchen.  She has special crunches upstairs for old ladies, before now when I went upstairs she would follow me and eat some of her crunchies.  At night she would sleep up there with me and eat her crunches during the night.

For the last few nights after I carry her to bed she runs back downstairs and sit in front of the fridge.  Then I have to bring her upstairs and give her guilt until she eats some of the crunchies.  Yes, guilt is a two way street with my cats.  Crazy cat lady remember.  I can also make that face ————>

A few days ago when I was cleaning the fridge she even jumped inside of it.  Cats don’t go in the fridge!!!  They are not nom!

That is why there is now a bowl of crunchies for mature cats in my fridge.  I will start handing her the bowl every time she says “Give me foodz!”.

Don’t judge me!  At least I don’t have children I am going to fuck up and then release onto the world.  My cats stays in my house and in the front yard during walkies.

 

Why do I write? December 27, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Kitty @ 1:29 pm
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I have ideas.  Yes, I know everyone has ideas all the time.  But I really like my ideas. Some of them are silly and playful, some are so creepy that I am afraid to be alone in a room with myself.  Some are beautiful, others are grotesque.

An image might fly by of a rainbow arching over blue surf, under which swim sharks with bloody teeth.

I might picture a monster, a person deformed and alone with a heart like a cobbler, two layers of hate crust with love and kindness filling.

Sugar plum fairy fashion shows, the infant spirit of humanity starving from the lack of the milk human kindness, or blue grass, green skies and giant rampaging sheep.

Ideas fly in and out of my ears all day long.butterfly 2

Tiny butterflies.

Bright colors, many textures, sounds and smells.  The world I wish was, the world I fear might be.  I think about all the people I could have been: the opera singer or the serial killer, or maybe a serial killing opera singer.

Each of my butterfly thoughts wants to just flutter away, maybe to enter your mind for a moment, or to join the stars in the sky.

However, as I said before, I like my ideas.  I am the type of person who takes pictures; a picture is a frozen memory of a place, a moment that I can keep forever.  My ideas are the same, memories of worlds I have never been to and moments I never lived.  But I want to keep them all the same.

So I reach up into the air and grasp the tiny, delicate, struggling insect. Then I shove a big pin through its thorax.

That is writing.

Some of these dead butterflies I lacquer and mount in pretty cases to share with you.

Others I keep in dusty notebooks just for me.

 

Writing Inspiration – The Places I Go December 11, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Kitty @ 2:25 pm
Tags: , , , ,

There are lots of different ways you can be inspired.  Sometimes I get ideas from dreams, books I read, movies I watch, conversations with friends, art, gardening, or watching strangers in public places.  Inspiration can come from just about any place, so you have to be open to it all the time.  Keep a notebook handy and write ideas down, or take a picture of things that you might need to look at later.

Today I want to talk about travel.   As you might know from reading my blog or if you know me in person, I am an introvert with some social anxiety and a fear of leaving my house.  There are days when it is so bad I can’t even work in my gardens.  I sometimes don’t leave my house for weeks.  Given this, the fact that I love to travel might seem a bit of a contradiction.  And I guess it is.  When I am traveling I am at a higher level of anxiety than at home, and sometimes I have to hide someplace quiet and take deep breaths.  While traveling I call my housesitter often (normally Jeff, one of my best friends) and make him send me pictures of my cats.

Traveling is hard for me.  Very hard.  I cry when I leave the house and have all sorts of horrible thoughts.  I sometimes will be in a wonderful place and be wishing I was in my cluttered office like I am now.  But all the same, I try to travel some place new every year, because the value of travel is worth the price of being a little scared and homesick.  My husband travels a lot with his job, so I normally just go to a city he will be working in so I have a place to stay without spending money, because this being a writer thing does not pay well.  He works and I get to have adventures on my own.  Exploring a new place alone is my favorite way to do it, because I don’t have to worry about anyone else’s timetable or interests.  I once sat in the beaver room at the Biodome in Montreal for nearly an hour because it was what I wanted to do at the time; with another person that could not have happened.   I also like cemeteries, old ones.  There are not many people who are good companions in a cemetery.

I like seeing some places with other people too.  There are some experiences that are best shared, some best alone.  So if there are other people who want to do stuff with me I try to find a balance, spending time with them doing something, alone for others.

The value of travel is many faceted.  Seeing new places, trying new foods, smelling different air, and meeting new people are all part of the package.  When traveling to a new place, even just a state away, you can see the world in a different wayand learn skills you might not have learned at home.  One of the most important things for me is the inspiration, the ideas that can be sparked when you see or experience something new. Those images and sensations get filed away until sometime I am writing and all of a sudden a place comes back to me and it is the perfect place. It is where this story has to happen.

There are two scenes in my novel “Lost in Reflection” that are based on real places I have been.  Places that I would not have been able to see or experience if I was home.

SAM_0790

One of them is Muir Woods near San Francisco.  I had seen pictures of redwoods, and I knew the general idea of a rain forest.  But understanding and experiencing are two very different things.  The smell of this place is something so hard to describe, as well as the how wet and cold the air was.  Being from the south I know hot air is humid, and cold air is dry; that is just the way it is.  But this place was as wet as the hottest Georgia day, but so very cold.  When writing the book I remembered this place and it was perfect.

Here are some excerpts from “Lost in Reflection”.  Keep in mind that this is still in the editing phase, so it could change a lot.

“Once my eyes adjusted to the light I found that I was in a forest, old growth from the look of it.  There were some big evergreens, sort of like pictures I had seen from the Pacific Northwest, not like the spindly pines of home. The ground was a spongy bed of brown and green needles and the air was wet and heavy with the pleasing smells of clean dirt and fresh compost, mixed with the less pleasant odors of mold and rot.”

“It only took a few minutes for me to find a good game trail, cutting through the ferns and emerald green moss that covered everything .  It was sure to lead to water eventually, and it might not just be a trail used by animals. It was old and wide, not as wide as a road, but it looked easier to follow than the paths through the woods around my grandparents’ house that I walked every time I visited them.”

“At some points the trees were so thick that I couldn’t see the sun, just light glowing around the leaves.   This place would have been peaceful in another situation.  I loved being in the woods; the sounds, the smells, and the fresh new feeling of the air.  The place we used to live had a lot of woods around it, but not like these.   At home, even in the woods, the air was still normal and dry.  Here the air was very wet, and I don’t mean humid, at least not the hot southeast humid I was used to.  I mean the air was actually wet.  So wet that in few places it was raining without clouds, little drops of water falling from the trees.  Each drop catching the sunlight and turning to molten gold.”

SAM_0783Another place that shows up in the novel is a hallway from the hotel I stayed in while I was writing a large part of the book — just the hallway, not the hotel itself.   I am not going to put in any excerpts from that part in because it would be hard to do so without giving anything away, and I have not edited it at all yet.  But when you read the book you can come back here and see a picture of the place I wrote about.  Mirrors are creepy, that is all I am saying.

Traveling and seeing these places in real life makes the stories more real for me, and hopefully helps me write them in a way that is more real for you.   There are lots of places I would love to go that I likely never will, because travel is so expensive.  But maybe someday I will get lucky and have the chance to see China, Romania, or England.  I bet there is a story idea waiting around every corner and behind every door in all of those places.

I went to Hawaii a few months ago (lots of kindness got me there), which was an amazing experience, and will show up in my stories for years to come.  I have been meaning to post some pictures and tell you about it. I will do that soon.

 

Winning NaNo December 8, 2012

Filed under: Writing — Kitty @ 2:54 pm
Tags: , , ,

I won NaNo!  Yay!!!

This means I wrote over 50,000 words on a novel in the month of November.    The novel has a beginning, most of the middle and an end. It is an ok story that mostly makes sense.  Hopefully after editing it will be a good story that people will enjoy reading.

I am 15 pages in to editing, with all the emotional swings that come with it.  I can go from loving this novel to hating it in a few minutes and then back again.  Editing is way harder than writing and much less satisfying.  For me the writing is almost play and the editing is the actual ‘work’ of being a writer.  That and marketing, but not all writers do their own marketing.  The rest of editing is intimidating, but I hope to finish it this month.  Then have it proof read and edited for grammar, spelling and punctuation.

I have a few great ideas for new novels, but I have to finish this one first.   If I work hard it will be out in February.

I loved the graph and having daily goals.  I normally just write however much I want to write and then edit when I edit.  Aside from actual deadlines for story submission I don’t normally have goals.  Sometimes I have time goals like “Write 2 hours today”  but not word count.  I loved having goals and a way to track the progress, it kept me working hard to stay on track.  If I slacked off for a day or two then I would put in 5 or 6 hours one day to get back on track.   I need to do this with my editing.

I only went to one NaNo event and hardly posted anything on the forums.  One of the reasons I choose to do NaNo was for the social aspect, but I failed at that part completely.  Next year I want to be more involved and make friends.

Did you do NaNo?

Did you ‘win”?

What are you going to do with your 50,000 words?

Was there a hard part of NaNo for you?

What did you like and dislike about it?

 

 
James Calbraith

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