back on the wagon

I'll have more horse news and pictures next week, we're headed out of town in the morning for a long weekend riding in the Sam Houston National forest. (Yea!)

In writing news - I swore, after I submitted to the FFF Hook contest, that I was going to get back in the habit of regular submissions and I meant it. I've been looking through the RWA contests and found this delightful Sizzle Contest and after much gnashing of teeth and cutting of lines, mailed off a scene. The one I sent wasn't my first choice, but they limit you to 12 pages and it seems I can't write a 'sexually tense' scene in much less that 20 pages.

I'm also looking at this one: THE GOLDEN CLADDAGH CONTEST and will send _Bloodcup_ in as a historical if I can get sneak a few minutes to give it a once-over and pick the best spot to end it for their page limit requirement.

FFFHook Contest - OOOuch!

*head in hands*

The judge hated it. S/he didn't get anything about the time or place ... thought it might be something about Greek.

Only a couple other comments so far (lots! and LOTS!! of hooks posted over the last couple of days, so lots of commenting going on, but easy to get lost in the crowd.). One commenter agreed with the judge and the other more nicely agreed with the judge. :)

But the good thing is that it's interesting to see the story again through fresh eyes and of the three comments so far, they've all three indicated the same area of confusion and that gives me a clear direction. I hadn't tried to write anything like this kind of hook before so it's been a real learning experience - both in writing my hook and reading the posted hooks and critiques and comments.

.... off to the drawing board for revisions!

*biting nails*

When I had the idea for this blog, I thought it would be great if I could combine my interests in a way that would be fun and beneficial, at least to some extent, to all my readers. ... riding and writing and writing about riding ... but so far, it's been about the horses, and writing horses and not so much about my own writing.

So here it is:
I have a completed novel, and another completed in draft form, and another one completed in outline form about half written, and notes for a half-dozen others, but I've been working through the draft on the second one trying to polish out some snags (which are coming out nicely - thankyouverymuch!) So I haven't put up one of those little status bars (yet). But I will when I start the next one.

Anyway, I'm having a lot of fun with the drafted novel, it's a kinda old style fantasy, just one step away from the old sword and sorcery stuff, about a half-elven wench and a mercenary with a big sword who loves the ladies (plural!) and a magical jewel - isn't all fantasy, at it's heart, about elves and fighting over jewelry? ;)

.... the completely completed one - a historical fantasy based on the 9th labor of Herakles has been languishing in the file cabinet. It's had some contest wins and a couple of 'rave rejections', the partial reads tended to result in long, polite, encouraging letters, and so I enthusiastically did a fairly major rewrite and stuck the thing in a drawer.

*huh* .... yeah - I don't know either ... all I can say is that I've had a lot going on in this last year.

For a couple of years, I kept to a submission goal of sending something to a market or contest at least once a month. It did me a lot of good, but I fell off the wagon last fall when life got busy at home, and - some other stuff (we all have 'stuff' sometimes, right?) - and I've kept writing, but haven't been submitting like I should have ...

And so when I got the news about the hook contest at Fangs, Fur, & Fey, I tossed _Bloodcup_ in the pot.

At first I was cool about it - did the usual frantic re-write of the hook, calling in all the usual suspects to read it over and over and over again and tell me how much better it was with each version except I suspect at some point it just gets a little 'different' each time and wears everyone out rather than actually increasing any elusive quality in the writing.

the contest opened at 12:01 and was limited to 180 entries. I was working that night and so I sent it off, casually, sometime between 1 and 2am. I started getting nervous the next morning when I saw the number of people on the LJ commenting on having sent theirs at 12:01.

The FFF admin posted that they had reached the limit at some point early in the morning, but due to the generosity of the judges, and additional judges, they were able to accept 70 more entries.

All day Saturday and most of the day Sunday - I was not just sitting here refreshing my mail for the acceptance notice - really I wasn't ... really .... *sigh* (ok - maybe I did check mail more often than I might have otherwise).

It's not like it actually *means* anything more than that I was able to press the 'send' button at the right time, but it's exciting to be back in the process ... and I'm really looking forward to ... umm.. being ripped publicly ... Of course, ;) I'm sure they're going to love it - and that's where the biting nails part comes it.

So all the hooks are going to be posted at the FFF LJ on Monday the 23rd, (mine is #11) along with their comments from the first round judges who are the FFF members as well as being open to comments from guests at that point.

I tried to blame Leah Braemel for getting me into this but she's one of these people who keep all their emails and so she claims that *I* was the one who told *her* about it and that I must have read about it somewhere else on my own, and she may be right since I have both Miss Snark and Agent X on my Bloglines, and I know that Agent X posted about it since she is the grand prize - she'll do a crit of the first 50 pages of the winner.

When they post the hooks next Monday, they'll list 16 finalists who will then post their first five pages and one of those will be picked to get to send 50 pages to Agent X.

... off to frantically polish those five pages!

Yeah, they do that

*ahem*

Not to paint all guys with a chauvinistic or testosteronic brush, but ... um... stallions are guys - big balls and testosterone and all that stuff, and, (cover your eyes if you have a delicate constitution) they masturbate. a lot. and there is a reason that 'hung like a horse' is a compliment.

That's because, well... because they're 'well hung' - at least as long and most probably thicker than your heroine's arm.

so if your virginal heroine rounds the corner at just the right time, she's likely to get an education. Stallions stand around having pleasant dreams at all hours of the day. He may just be dropped and engorged or he may be happily bouncing it up and down so it thumps on his belly. They aren't shy. ('they' meaning stallions, not heroines. ... heroines can be shy)

and that nice sized puddle by the gate that looks like semen ... it's probably semen. If your heroine doesn't know what semen looks like, the puddle of stuff that looks vaguely, but not exactly like mucus - it's semen.

No picture on this one. ... (but it should be easy enough to google.)

Sue L

First Star to the Right ...

The universe shrank to center on the pair as they moved in under the trees and back out to be touched by moonlight.

Trail stretched unending , like a heavy cord of licorice taffy, before and behind. Time stopped - the world faded into nothingness. They ran in a small ever-changing, pocket of existence. The rhythm of his hoofs beat as the heart of that universe. Trail appeared before them and lost substance as they moved past. There was no thought, no pain, no emotion, only a nightmarish, instinctive drive to chase past each ribbon as it appeared. But, perhaps, that was only the perception of the rider, clinging to the saddle.

The young gelding moved down the narrow, wooded trail, alert, with a long, free stride



~ ~ ~

This photo is of me and SHADOW in '93, at about 2am at the finish of our first 100 mile endurance ride. We'd been going for 23 hours and 42 minutes, over 20 hours of that on the trail. It was in October of that year, so yeah, we rode a lot of that in the dark. And not just any dark, but East Texas deep piney woods dark. I don't care how full the moon is, or how cloudless the sky, not much light can get down past those tall pines. The thing is, horses can see in the dark just fine. Most horses live outside. They spend half their lives in the dark and seem to be comfortable with it in a way that modern people can't really wrap their heads around. I'm sure they can't see as well in the dark as they can in clear sunlight, but I've never had one that seemed to have trouble knowing where to put their feet. In total pitch black, they'll slow down and soften their gait and, in my experience, slowly sway their heads from one side to the other as they go down the trail. I don't know if they are watching or listening - probably both.

What seems to bother them more than the dark is the shadows. The night can be otherworldly, turning familiar things unfamiliar - and moreso with a bright moon. It seems that even a stark moon casts muted shadow. Where we live, we have a lot of light-colored rock, and it seems to almost glow in the moonlight, counterpoint to the odd moonshadows from the once familiar bluestem and yucca.

The thing that you really have to have to ride at night is trust - trust in your horse. If you have that, you can let them run - and there is something inexplicably freeing in the abandon of turning yourself over to their care. In the daylight, even at a gallop, you probably keep that contact - you're watching the trail and speaking to the horse with your hands and seat and balance, warning them of a rumple in the trail, a hole or a rock, collecting them subtly when the trail shifts downhill. In the dark, when they can see ahead and you can't - any direction you give them is only interference. If you don't have trust, that same ride will be a trial of gut-clenching terror - like riding a roller coaster with your eyes closed.

Sue L