Youngblood Blog

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How the Dragon got its Name

Disciplinarian Ms. Rose, teacher of writing & blogging etiquette: note delicate fingering while balancing pet Jagin, oops, morning bagel

Disciplinarian Ms. Rose, teacher of writing & blogging etiquette: note delicate fingering while balancing pet Jagin, oops, morning bagel

Oriental New Year IWSG Corner and Junior Blog-Star

In the Islands, it was believed that on the eve of Là Fhéill Bhrìghde (Feast of Bride), the Old Woman of Winter, the Cailleach, journeys to the magical isle, in whose woods lie the miraculous Well of Youth. At the first glimmer of dawn, she drinks the water that bubbles in a crevice of a rock, and is transformed into Bride, the fair maid whose white wand turns the bare earth green again.
On Bride’s Eve in the Islands young girls made a female figure from a sheaf of corn, kept in reverence from the previous year’s harvest—the clyack sheaf. They decorated it with colored shells and sparkling crystals, together with snowdrops and primroses and other early spring flowers and greenery. An especially bright shell, symbol of emerging life, or a crystal was placed over its heart, and called ‘Bride’s guiding star’. They dressed themselves in their own finery and carried their effigy through the village on Bride’s Feast Day, February 2nd, to invoke the light.

"First draft is letting the words flow and don't worry about spelling"  Ms. Rose

“First draft is letting the words flow and don’t worry about spelling” Ms. Rose

Counter to tradition, it seems, February now dawns either with (American) Groundhog Day, or Scots-Irish Candlemas, as the Oriental calendar churns into the Year of the Horse. All are based in the same ancient calendrical rhythms of the new moon, devised before there were Superbowls and Sales Season. This year, 2014, I have been slow to add input to the monthly Cavanaugh Insecure Writers’ Support Group—IWSG—so when my seven-year-old granddaughter chided me for not doing my homework—and setting me a harder test to make me focus and do better—class time turned into blogging, and we helped each other through.

My monthly moan has therefore miraculously morphed into a friendly shrug of resignation: I bow completely to the orderly mind of Ms. Rose, whose class made me refocus on my writing priorities for the year 2014.

How the Dragon Got its Name

First rule: let the story tell itself; make it exciting and don’t worry about spelling. It’s the first draft.

Second draft is the time to worry about spelling. It’s called an ‘edit’.

Ms. Rose gave an example of her first draft, left—with excitement building from the first sentence. She has allowed me to publish it here for IWSG followers. While we discussed the spelling of dragon, Ms. Rose felt Jagin was a good name for him anyway, as it sounded more authentic. So first draft below:

How the jagin got its name

Handpainted dragon mask, glued on to brown paper bag, courtesy Ms. Rose

Handpainted dragon mask, glued on to brown paper bag, courtesy Ms. Rose

The jagin was looking at the moon but he remembered its name it was moonlight he
love it one night the jagin turned in to stone and they tried to help it but
the jagin tot [talked]

it said go to the well she said
and wish me back
I hope I live she said
and I hope you make it she said
but where is it they said
it is the main lands she said
ok then they went
but she wanted to hope but she could’t hope so she stayed home but there
was no one there she was sad so she flew off sum somewhere one they came
back she was gone.
Ms. Rose’s Class Assignment Groundhog Day, February 2014

Discussion followed, because in school it had been explained that Chinese New Year, in Chinatown—unlike American Groundhog Day—went on for a week, with dragons paraded in the streets. So while this was now the Year of the Horse, dragons were always important in mythology and welcome at any time, as an excuse for a party. Groundhogs were important too, because they came out on the first new moon day of February, and if they saw their shadow (sun shining), they would go back into their holes for another six weeks of winter. Ms. Rose explained that many animals were important in ancient times, and that it was not unusual to have a horse, a dragon, a groundhog, and an outgoing snake all mixed up in one celebration. This made the story more exciting.

Ms. Rose apologizes that she has other commitments during the year. This is therefore a guest appearance for this month’s IWSG blog. We hope you enjoy it as much as we had fun preparing.

p.s. Thanks to our ever-indulgent leader Alex J. Cavanaugh—Robert Heinlein reincarnate—whose brilliant CassaFire is having a special right now… don’t say I didn’t tell them, Alex!
© 2014 Marian Youngblood and ©Ms.Rose

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February 3, 2014 Posted by | authors, blogging, calendar customs, fantasy, festivals, fiction, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Blog Party: Dancing with Lemurs and Alex

Watching in the wings as Alex's book-launch catches fire

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot”
Stephen King

Alex J Cavanaugh is one of those fortunate authors who never meant for it to catch on. But today promises to turn him into a household word, as his second Sci-Fi book to launch in less than 18 months catches fire.

Cavanaugh’s CassaFire is released today by Dancing Lemur Press.

Trained as a visual artist (with a degree in Fine Arts), he wrote for his own pleasure. He is still master of all he surveys in the design field. But his Heinlein-esque prose, deep techno-filled space journeys, military precision — and, dare I say, a misspent youth watching the ’70s cult series Battlestar Galactica — combined with a love of sci-fi from childhood reading, has turned the wheel of fortune in his favor.

Alex's CassaFirE launches today

His first book, CassaStaR (2010) hit the Top-Ten Bestseller list; his second, CassaFire launches today from Dancing Lemur Press. That’s what the blog party’s all about.

So, to celebrate an author whose blog always tries to help others –his modest acceptance of his own fortune gives him an edge to support fellow writers– some of his friends and I are joining his Catch Fire Blog Party. *

Alex and I ‘met’ in the ethers and while his blogs and mine diverge, we were both drawn to each other’s conviction that there is a whole starsystem of talented authors out there trying to mesh their writing with a reading audience; as well as a waiting world genuinely wanting to read our works of fantasy, adventure, and (in his case) hardcore Sci-Fi. Despite his assertion that he is only a humble designer, he has found a way to build a world around his success.

“I’m not as intensive a world-builder as most authors. I took notes on the basic structure, using a few science fiction movies as guides for the overall feel and details on spacecraft and alien vessels” Alex Cavanaugh, CassaStaR

Modesty strikes again.

I happen to know that Alex has method behind his apparent madness. He loves his characters, structures them deeply; plans them from the inside out. So, having given his main characters life in CassaStaR, he found that even when the story changes (CassaFire), their personalities and traits “just fell into place”.

There is more. Because of our shared conviction that reading, writing and creativity are essential to keep the human race evolving (he worked in the Adult Literacy Program for several years; he plays several musical instruments), Alex persists with his blogging to reflect his love of everything sci-fi: movies to books to blogs. It will not surprise me if he comes out next with a screenplay! A musical!

Dancing Lemur dancing for Alex's blog party

Alex is not one to sit back and wait while the rest of the revellers raise their champagne flutes to him and look around to see if any of this high-rolling might rub off. Today his nose is buried in a galaxy of supporting blogs (after all, that’s what we bloggers are here for, isn’t it?) — he’s taken the day off ‘work’ (design) to scan the fans. But today also marks the start of his blogtour, which runs through March 9th. When he’s not doing that, he’ll be back at the helm, steering his Insecure Writers Support Group to the stars.

Told you, he plans ahead. And we all wish him the utmost of great good fortune with CassaFire. Well done, Captain Alex.

*Today is the Catch Fire Blog Party, celebrating the release of Alex J. Cavanaugh’s CassaFire by Dancing Lemur Press. The goal is to help CassaFire “catch fire” on the best seller charts and achieve the success of his first book, CassaStar. There’s also a special package of prizes being given away at the author’s blogtour”>blog (copies of CassaFire, CassaStar, tote bag, mug, and bookmarks) as well as book giveaways during his two-week blog tour.
©2012 Marian Youngblood

February 28, 2012 Posted by | authors, blogging, fantasy, fiction, novel, popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments