C. A. Casey

Another worthless writers blog

Archive for April, 2007

Lots of Scots

Posted by Casey on April 30, 2007

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When I moved to this part of the world, I was surprised at not only the number of people of Scottish heritage but by the number of festivals they have celebrating this heritage. Today I attended the 131st annual (yep you read that right) Sacramento Valley Scottish Games & Festival hosted by the Caledonian Club of Sacramento. It’s held at the Yolo County Fairgrounds in Woodland, California and they get like 20,000 people to help them celebrate their Scottishness.

Now I’m Irish and have been to my share of Irish Festivals. While the Irish celebrate their heritage with traditional dancing, traditional music, and lots of drinking, the Scottish actually do things much more structured and disciplined. A couple of words that send the Irish thumbing through their dictionaries. The Scottish have games where they throw heavy cumbersome things, like 18 to 19 foot long poles they call cabers and sticks with chains with 56 pound balls on the end and 16 pound stone shot puts.

They also have drum major competitions that require precision movement and they take off points if their uniforms aren’t perfect. Uh, yeah. The Irish aren’t going to stumble out of the Guinness tent for that.

Biggest laugh for me. The Haggis Hurling competition. Little vegan me knows of only one sure way to hurl a haggis and I don’t think that’s what this competition is all about.

I charged up my batteries for my big pro camera and forgot to put in the memory drive. Duh. So I had to borrow a camera, a small camera where you have to look at the back to take a picture, which is hard to do, I discovered, in the glaring sun. I have gotten used to having the best of both worlds with my through-the-lens digital camera.

I’m resisting posting photos I took last year with my camera and have challenged myself to find the best shots taken with this other camera.

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I did make a small purchase . . .

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For research purposes.

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Gentle Music to Work By

Posted by Casey on April 27, 2007

I’m a sucker for the hammered dulcimer and the music coming from a booth at the Fantasy Festival that had Celtic harps, psalteries, hurdy-gurdys, and a really cool looking hammered dulcimer pulled me to it like a magnet.

The performers were Anwyn & George Leverett and George makes all the instruments. I bought Songs from Shadow Wood and my feline office assistant sprawled out and listened to the very gently played Celtic music. Purrrfect music to write and edit by.

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My Bit to Help the Environment

Posted by Casey on April 26, 2007

I’m vegan. ‘Nuff said.

Cries of warnings that we have to take care of the environment have ebbed and flowed for decades. Everyone’s talking about solar power, wind power, biofuels, green this and green that and while I’ve been green-minded all my life and am ready to try them all, I’m yelling at the tv, “why not go vegan?”

I know it’s not a popular suggestion and I wondered if anyone had actually done studies on the environmental impact of vegans. We vegans know that it takes more of everything to raise animals than to grow plants for human consumption. Most of those crops you see in the fields you drive by are going to be fed to animals that land on your dinner plate, rather than on you plate as food and in your gas tank as biofuel. It’s something to really think about.

Personally, being vegan is great. I don’t have indigestion, constipation, chronic health problems. I don’t get head-aches or acid reflux like I used to. I don’t have cravings because a vegan diet balances the blood sugar. I have lots of energy and, physically, I feel like a kid . . . I wish I had become vegan years ago. And, by the way, I don’t like tofu. Being vegan is about eating real food that happens to be plants. We just don’t consume anything that comes from an animal.

I found some articles and research on why going vegan (or even vegetarian) is good for the environment, in case anyone is curious.

Celebrate Earth Day By Going Vegan

The environment-conscious carnivore?

Food for Thought About Global Warming

http://www.activeg.org/articles/437.html

http://vegetarian.about.com/od/vegetarianvegan101/f/fossilfuels.htm

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Why Didn’t I Think of This

Posted by Casey on April 25, 2007

This goes into that category of clever original ideas that can only be done once. Needless to say, I love it.

http://noonebelongsheremorethanyou.com/

Thank you Miss Snark for finding this.

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A Tale of Two Stories

Posted by Casey on April 23, 2007

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Each zine has a submission process that suits the way the editors approach each issue. Some publications give authors little victories and regular victories. Since writing is as much about the journey as the end of the journey, little victories are nice because they reaffirm that the writer is on the right track in guessing a particular story may be a good match for that zine.

I submitted a story to a zine that has reading periods for specific issues. The editors read all the stories submitted during the reading period and reject the ones that don’t make it for whatever reason and the rest go on to the next round of deciding which will end up in the issue.

This is the point where all kinds of factors come into play–from an editor just plain liking a story too much to let it go, to whether or not a story fits in with the general tone of the other submitted stories, to having to almost flip a coin between stories of pretty much equal weight.

The stories are random objects with similar characteristics and editors have the task of picking the random objects that make some kind of sense that usually has more to do with feel than with logic to create a satisfying publication. All a writer can do is keep fingers crossed that her particular story fits.

My story has made it to the next round. A little victory.

I also submitted a story to a well-established anthology with many published volumes. I had a story that I’ve tinkered with for years that matched the premise of the anthology but not the tone. The anthology wanted traditional fantasy. As a reader, I prefer traditional fantasy but my writing style is more suited to science fiction, which I don’t really like to read as much as fantasy. Go figure.

Needless-to-say, my attempts at traditional fantasy don’t have the same tone or feel that readers expect from traditional fantasy.

I submitted the story on the off chance the editors might go for something a little different. I wasn’t too surprised when it wasn’t accepted because it, as they put it, didn’t quite have the feel they wanted for the anthology and suggested I try another market for it.

I had to give it try because you just never know. As I always say, the worse that can happen is a story will not be accepted. But if you don’t try, a story never has a chance of being accepted.

And, yes, the story that made it to the next round is science fiction.

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Fantasy Festival

Posted by Casey on April 23, 2007

Earth Day stayed sunny long enough for us to enjoy the Medieval Fantasy Festival. I could visit Medieval/Renaissance/Fantasy/Celtic Festivals for a living and be happy. I’ve only been to three more than once. The huge, incredible Maryland Renaissance Festival, The tiny Moscow Idaho Renaissance Fair and the Fantasy Festival in Vacaville.

The Vacaville festival is the only one I’ve been to that isn’t in a park, fairgrounds, or out in the middle of nowhere but in the downtown. Vacaville’s downtown is quaint and attractive, a perfect setting for a street fair.
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Happy Earth Day

Posted by Casey on April 22, 2007

I’m spending Earth Day at The Medieval Fantasy Festival in Vacaville, California. It used to be the Middle Earth Festival. I wonder if Gandalf will still be wandering around this year.

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Yesterday was rainy and it poured last night. But this morning is glorious and sunny. Perfect Earth Day.

Enjoy and remember to take care of and cherish this planet of ours.


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The Fun Part of Being a Writer

Posted by Casey on April 17, 2007

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I received my copy of Beyond Centauri with “The Dragon With One Nostril.” It’s always cool to see a story in print, especially in a nice magazine for kids like Beyond Centauri.

If you know any kids who enjoy science fiction and fantasy check out Beyond Centauri. It can be ordered from The Genre Mall.

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Hmmm, Cinnamon Rolls

Posted by Casey on April 15, 2007

All you vegans out there can relate to this story.

I became a vegan in April 2004 (after being a vegetarian for 30 years) and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life and I can’t imagine ever going back to being a vegetarian . . . but . . . there’s always a but . . . I joined herds of other vegans in search of a vegan cinnamon roll that rivaled T.J. Cinnamon’s or Cinnabon.

I have had only one cinnamon roll since April 2004–one that a friend sent for my birthday last year. It was good for a packaged variety of roll . . . but . . . but there’s something about a freshly baked roll dripping with brown sugar, cinnamon and icing.

Well, this same friend sent me a book called Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World for my last birthday.

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Well, I started baking these cupcakes (I’m addicted to the chocolate ones with mint icing) and impressed non-vegans with how light and moist cakes can be without eggs or dairy milk.

Then yesterday, a rainy day, I got bored late in the afternoon and decided to conquer a vegan cinnamon roll recipe I had found on the Internet. Fortunately, I had bought the ingredients for the rolls at the same time I shopped for the cupcake ingredients, so I was good to go.

My verdict. Yum. My cinnamon roll quest is over.

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Another Story

Posted by Casey on April 4, 2007

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My kid story “The Dragon With One Nostril” is in the current issue of Beyond Centauri. This is the second story I’ve had in Beyond Centauri. Since Spellbound went under, I think this is the only magazine devoted to kid speculative fiction.


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Draft Day

Posted by Casey on April 4, 2007

Well, women’s college basketball is officially over for the season.

The WNBA draft was today and the talk is not of Phoenix immediately trading No. 1 draft pick Lindsey Harding to Minnesota for Tangela Smith. We all knew Phoenix didn’t need another guard. The talk has been about New York Liberty’s Becky Hammon being traded to San Antonio for the No. 2 draft pick Jessica Davenport. That was a true stunner. It’s going to be an interesting summer.

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Music discovery of the day: KT Tunstall’s song “Suddenly I See” from her album Eye to the Telescope. Nice upbeat song.


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Playing with camera again

Posted by Casey on April 2, 2007

The roses are in bloom so I grabbed my camera and strolled through the garden taking pictures.

Sometimes you get lucky when you aim that lens.

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Calli, the calico, is Boots’ mother. Wonder what she’s thinking as she looks at him.

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No Fooling

Posted by Casey on April 1, 2007

Ah, it’s April first. While other people play practical jokes on each other, I’ll be watching the Final game of the women’s Euroleague. Go Spartak Moscow Region!

I’ll also be watching the Women’s NCAA Final Four. Go . . . uh, let’s just say my team went out early in a shocking upset.

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But I also get to celebrate one of life’s little victories. My story “Harleys in Driftwood” is in the current issue of The Lorelei Signal.

I love the origins of this particular story. When I worked at Washington State University, a colleague’s hobby was to make sculpture out of pieces of driftwood. One year he had an exhibit of his work in the student union. The centerpiece of the exhibition was a full size Harley fashioned from driftwood. It was the most beautiful and amazing thing I’d ever seen. I told him that I was going to write a story about it someday.

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