Moulin Rouge and a chapel in Sedona AZ

This past weekend we went to Sedona so that I could get out of the house. One of the landmarks in that area is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. “What?” You may ask, “Why would you (heathen) go there?” Simply, I’d never been there or down that road. I like churches, actually. They’re quiet and peaceful. This one had a million people at it and so, not so quiet, but the actual chapel part has large windows so that the attendees can watch the beauty of nature while they are hearing the word of God. It’s worth visiting. Sedona in general is outstandingly beautiful. The chapel sits on a hill, abutted against a sheer red cliff. There are rock spires on either end of the cliff, which can be seen (I think) from Interstate 17. On the road to the chapel is a unique huge house that seems like a combination of a modern mansion and castle with funky colored walls and strange lattice-work windows.

And what does that have to do with Moulin Rouge? Nothing really. We watched that when we got home after our trip to Sedona. I’d never seen it. CWB said “It’s a musical, you may not like it.” I don’t normally like musicals, but I liked this one. I guess it helped that I knew all of the songs. I found the blending of songs, especially the first time the hero goes to the Moulin Rouge, to be ingenious.

In the Story Grid, there are two content genres that might fit the movie. The Performance Genre and the Status Genre. And of course, the love story is the main genre. I am not sure which is a better fit. The hero needs a job, so would go from being poor to being rich and possibly famous, but he wants to be an authentic bohemian artist who strives to produce art for the sake of freedom, truth, beauty, and love. Mostly he wants love. All of those aspects are found in the story. The heroine wants to be famous and accepted as a real actress. The villain wants to possess things that are pretty. Who knew that the young Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor) could sing? If you haven’t seen it, please watch it and then tell me what Story Grid content genre you think it is.


random writing

I was looking around at writing prompts and found the following:

Missed Connections: If you go to Craigslist, there is a “Missed Connections” section where you can find some interesting story lines to inspire your writing.

I had no idea that Craigslist had a “Missed Connections” section. The section says “By clicking the link below you confirm that you are 18 or older and understand personals may include adult content.” Followed by a list of mysterious (or not) acronyms. I selected “t4m” because I have no idea what the t stands for. And got:
“Zero local results found. Here are some from nearby areas. Checking ‘include nearby areas’ will expand your search.”
so I Googled – because, you know, Google knows everything.
Transvestite looking for man.
Okay, I’ll expand my search. There should be something interesting to write about in each of the categories.
Got some fake postings and one that seemed real, which I did not click on because – Hey, internet. Not safe to click on just anything right? It read:

Hi looking to play with a mature guy I’m a CD in Ontario – t4m 30

CD? You’re a compact disc? certificate of deposit? Oh – cross dresser. Got it. I had to Google again. Party n’ Play.

Hi, I’m looking to “play” with a mature guy. I’m a cross dresser in Ontario. I can be either in California or Ontario province, Canada. Party n’ play now, baby, I’m a transvestite looking for a man. A real man. I’m 30 or he should be 30. Maybe both of us should be 30. Call me.

So what if (my favorite question) we’re in an urban fantasy world (that is, normal modern life mixed with fantasy elements). What would such a posting look like for a person looking for a werewolf?

Hi, I’m looking to romp with a mature werewolf. I’m a furry in Oakland, California. Let’s bark at the moon, baby. I’m ready to transform and need that little extra bite to get me going. Call me.

Or maybe the lonely werewolf looking for a person to transform?

Hi, I’m looking to bark at the moon with a mature guy in Saskatoon. They say once you go lunar, you never go back. Call me for a howling good time. Rabies certificate provided upon request.

What if there’s a guy who wants to be a werewolf, putting in want-ads and such, who finds a werewolf, but that werewolf doesn’t want to share his curse/blessing/gift? The guy stalks the werewolf. How far would the werewolf go to get away from the guy (other than killing him, which would be too easy)? Would the werewolf go public with its condition? Would it get arrested and hide in jail (which has always intrigued me I guess)? Would he cave in and make the stalker a werewolf and then have to deal with him for the rest of his supernatural life? Would the werewolf call a hunter – a la Supernatural – to deal with his problem? Would the werewolf try to talk the guy out of it? Or convince the stalker to go get mental health therapy?

End of February

So here we are at the end of February, the second month of 2018. Obviously I failed to do my 100 words in 100 days. I’m still editing Crown City and I feel that I will forget the story if I start to write a different story, even if that story is in the same world with the same characters. It’s a new writing fear. Also, I’m lazy.
It snowed last night and it is beautiful and white and cold outside. I am thankful that I don’t have to drive in it.
Today’s writing thoughts go to plot templates.
This website lists types of stories – which can also be found in the Story Grid Five Leaf Clover.
I have a story idea based on elements I enjoy:
shape shifting
other worlds/alternate dimensions
However, I am not sure what plot/content genre I’m going to use yet (if at all).
So an evil? mage is exiled from his world and thrown into our modern world. He can change shape into a bird (owl or raven). His goal is to get back to his world and take revenge on the people who exiled him. This is not a revenge story I don’t think because I see him giving up the idea of revenge and refining his goal to just getting back to his world, to maybe, at the end deciding that our modern world is okay and staying?
Because of a girl, of course.
Or maybe he is not evil, and evil has won in his world. He still wants to go back and save his loved ones. Maybe the girl helps him return even though she falls in love with him and doesn’t want him to leave.
So, hero needs to find the magic of this world in order to open the door back to his world. He needs to find something in our modern world that he can take back to his magical (non mechanical world?). Something that changes him and his outlook.
More to think about, obviously.


My dreams of the evening contained no surprises and no obvious interaction with The Dreaming, the in between state that allows the certain people of Adnor and Elidyr to glimpse the will of the gods. Ever since my fight with Fadreel I had not had access to the Dreaming or any of my magical gifts. I tried to keep that information to myself for the people seemed to want me to have those powers, despite having an aversion to those who actually use magic. I supposed it was because magic belongs to the gods and those that use it openly for something less than what obviously benefits the populace are using it against the will of the gods. Popular opinion, I’ve found, is a hard thing to account for and impossible to manage. Vytar suspected that something was as miss, I think, but Uri and Rheanan – the person I most wanted to keep that secret from – hadn’t noticed or at least commented on it.

We rose with the dawn and rode out for a quick review of Tiria’s cottage. Now that I had my memories back, it’s dilapidated state disturbed me. Som, technical owner of the land, met us there. When I asked why no one had moved into the building, he indicated that so many people had left the area due to the drought that there had been no need. He hadn’t time to keep the cottage up.
“This cottage was in a good condition a year ago, yes?” Rheanan asked as she looked about at the weeds, fall-in roof, and crumbling walls.
I nodded.
She got off her bird-horse, which often showed impatience with the lesser non-winged animals but today seemed content to walk on the ground with the rest of us, and dug through her saddlebags. She pulled out Tiria’s old map and walked closer to the well, glancing between the map and the ground.
“And Tiria died about then. She died here?” She asked, looking at Som. He pushed a lock of chestnut colored hair from his eyes and nodded.
Rheanan nodded, worrying her lower lip between her teeth. She walked to the stinking well and looked down.
“Gestin, come help me with this.”
I exchanged looks with Som, who shrugged, and dismounted from Rand the Second, my stalwart horse. I joined Rheanan at the well and looked down. Purple slime coated the sides and I almost gagged from the stench.
Rheanan grasped my hand, which under other circumstances would have been welcome, and closed her eyes.
“Can you see it?” she asked.
“See what?”
“The traces of the spell that steals water from the land.”
“The gragluff? Here?”


After the ceremony, we returned to my former tavern. Jeslynn, my former wife, offered the core of my party (Captain Vytar, Guardsman Uri, Temple Witch Rheanan, and myself) a place to sleep for the night. The rest of the party would have to bunk in the barn. I knew how many people the tavern could hold and didn’t feel right about her giving up her bedroom to house me and mine. We moved tables and slept in the bar.
“So this was your tavern?” Rheanan asked, looking at the dead fox tacked to the wall.
“It had slightly different decorations when I lived here.”
She settled on to her side on her sleeping mat, one hand curled under her chin and gazed at me.
“Your wife seems nice.”
“Former wife of a dead host,” I said with a grin at the silliness of the situation. She smiled back but the smile didn’t reach her eyes.
“Tiria brought you here to hide you from the former, dead Grand Councilor.”
I nodded.
“I’d have gone back to Elidyr were I in that situation. He couldn’t have touched you there and you’d have grown up knowing of your heritage and your powers.”
I nodded, but said, “This is not a bad place. I learned many things here I probably wouldn’t have in Elidyr.”
“Such as?”
“He’d have turned into a killer like his uncle,” Vytar said as he stepped over Rheanan’s recumbent form and then, with a “Pardon, my lord,” over mine. He settled behind me, between my body and the window, and bid us good night. Uri moved a chair and spread out his blanket on the floor beyond Rheanan, between her and the door of the tavern. She turned and bid him a good sleep and he flushed when he replied. She hid her quick, pleased smile when she turned back to me.
“I learned to make beer, to cook, to keep accounting and track money.”
“All of that you could have learned in Elidyr.”
“I learned to sheer a sheep and milk a cow.”
She snorted. “Those are handy for a ruler to know.”
“I don’t think she expected me to be a ruler.”
She rolled on her back and closed her eyes, saying, “Better you than me. Sleep well, Prince Angestirian.”
I kept my negative reaction to that to myself.
“You too, Temple Witch Rheanan,” I whispered back and watched her drift to sleep.


Previously on As The Land Dries:

“Hear our pronouncement and be satisfied. Gestin Hospitlar died in a fire at Southallow about a year ago. Jeslynn and Wulfgit were legally married in the view of the elements. Angestirian of Adnor is not Gestin Hospitlar. He is not married. He is king. Long live the king.”
The group repeated her words. Rhaenan was laughing when she said it. I laughed as well, and lifted her up, spinning her around and settling into a close hug.
“So ends this Thing.” Elder Ponmay tapped the ground again and it was done.

I knelt in the dry meadow and lit a taper in memory of my mother, the Temple Witch Lyntrillienne, called Tiria, Queen of Adnor. I did not light one for myself, although others around me did. They remembered the man who had severed Oakvale beer and helped put out a wildfire, who had reportedly died in another fire. Uri, my young guard, thought it passing strange that I’d been two people. The death of Gestin the Host freed up my wife to legitimize her marriage to the village butcher and the pending birth of her child. She seemed happy to be rid of me. What my would-be queen thought of it, now that being queen seemed more of a possibility, I had no idea. Rhaenan had been silent and withdrawn since the village Elders’ decision.
Getting a queen to rule next to me, once I officially became King of Adnor, appeared on my the lengthy to-do list. Hopefully I could convince Rhaenan that she’d be good at it. Hopefully I’d be good at it too. But first, I had to ensure that the country knew of its new ruler, convince any resistance to my rule to cease, and return to Crown City in time for the coronation. Then there was the small issue of the incursion of Dvergr in the realm and the drought.

Elidyr story in 100 words in 100 days

So, I’m not writing as much as I should. The editing is coming along, but it’s not fulfilling the need to put words on the page. So, I plan to start the next story in Gestin’s life here. It seemed to work last time and hopefully it will work this time.
However, this time I’d like to start with a “What if” statement(s) that perhaps could help direct the course of the story.
What if a county is bounded by two warring nations, both of whom seek to use the resources of the nation for their own ends and against the other?
What if that middle country has a new king – who came to the throne through a small civil war – and is lacking in magical power but flush with technology, but has a moral issue with powering said technology? The technology is needed in order to make the middle country able to interact with the other two on a more even field.
What if the new king is in love with a representative of the northern nation, but doesn’t want to put himself or his country under the influence of that northern nation?
What would that new king do?

It turns out that the above questions are not new and have been kicking around in my back-brain since the start of the first story – except that Gestin wasn’t king then. And now he is.
I plan for him to travel to Elidyr and shake off the influence of his killer uncle. Attacks from the Dvergr of Flowstone get worse, and so the drought afflicting Adnor gets worse. It’s the “middle build“/2nd story where things get progressively complicated.

I can do this. No pressure.

The Age of Aquarius

Story Idea:
The Age of Aquarius –
A comet passed close to the Earth during a solar eclipse that happened while the 8 planets and 1 planetoid of the solar system were in alignment – causing alternate dimensions to open and the ability for some humans to shift through space-time-reality.
A year after the conjunction, children transitioning to sexual adulthood started to change shape into the astrological signs they were born under. Depending on the predominant race of their ancestors, they either were classical astrological signs (for those from Europe), or other signs (research – are there different zodiac signs for indigenous peoples of the Americas?)

So, in the time span of the zodiac sign, the person turns into his/her sign, which is okay for some, specifically Virgo (personality change – innocent), Libra (personality change – everything has to balance), Aquarius (created water or carries water around), and Gemini (a sudden evil twin), but not for others – specifically Pisces and Cancer, who had to be in or near water. Aries, Taurus, Leo, Sagittarius, and Capricorn all found it easier to be outside, with everyone but the Leo wanting to have salads. The Leo wanted to eat raw meat. Scorpio wanted to be in the dark.
Also, those of Chinese/Oriental descent change into their birth animal for a year.

Archeologists discovered that the Celtic standing stones were portals through time/space/reality.

Perhaps the hero wants the world to return to normal and has to find a thingy- using the celtic standing stones and made more difficult by his/her monthly change – to make the world return to normal.

This change happened in ancient Babylonian times and that people came up with a solution.

The Hoover Dam and Las Vegas

The first time I recall going to Las Vegas was when I was in college. I traveled with my band friends (Something Blue) to go see Crosby, Stills, and Nash at Caesar’s Palace. We stayed in the Palace and I got to meet David Crosby. It was an excellent trip.
The next time I was there, I was with my parents and we stayed somewhere not on the strip. We were on our way to Tahoe to a medical convention or something. Also a fun trip, but with less glitz.
This time, as a more-adult adult, I went with my SO. Everything looked new. Even Caesar’s Palace.
First, though, on our trip, we went to Hoover Dam. Here’s what I wrote in my travel journal:
Drove to Boulder/Hoover Dam. Lots of stairs. Took the power plant tour because the dam tour (which goes into the dam) was sold out and the next one wasn’t until several hours later. CWB still wants to go into the dam. The tour was interesting and thankfully short. The entire complex has Art Deco style. Very pretty and amazing. There was a small plaza with astronomical features set into the ground depicting the night sky on the opening day of the dam. The water level of Lake Mead was very low. The tour guide indicated that was because of the severe drought that Nevada and the West is in, but I also suspect that the increased water drain from Los Angeles has something to do with it. CWB mentioned that in the Fallout New Vegas PC game, you have to convince the people holding the Hoover Dam to turn the lights on for Las Vegas. Post apocalyptic goodness.

Las Vegas – Stayed at the Luxor. The check-in line was an hour long – bleck. But the interior and exterior are cool – pyramid and Egyptian, with a touch of Mayan. Our room looked out at the main obelisk and sphinx, where the tram from Mandalay Bay runs. We have food at Tequila & Tacos. The margarita was sweet, per CWB. I had a Paloma that was okay. The food was very tasty. Then we walked around. The Blue Man group and Carrot Top play at the Luxor – CWB wanted (jokingly) to see Carrot Top. Not my thing. Chris Angel Mindfreak was also playing. I said Mindfuck by accident and recalled the Supernatural TV episode titled “Chris Angel is a douche bag.” A little later we learned that the Mindfreak show is Chris Angel doing magic along with Cirque du Soleil, so it’s probably a really good show. The Luxor has a Titanic relic exhibition and one called Bodies, that showed bodies missing flesh (we’d both seen the original of that type of show so we didn’t need to repeat). We went walking “down the strip” to get to the Mirage to see LOVE – a Beatles Cirque du Soleil show at 7pm. We got lost and ended up on the outside of the strip (Frank Sinatra Drive) – with no access to the interior. We walked and walked and ended up at Caesar’s Palace in the Forum Mall (which is huge). Got lost in there. Then we finally found the Mirage, we were 15 minutes late for the show. So we got our tickets changed to the later show (the ticket sales associate was awesome) and had to spend and hour and a half in the casino. I spent $20 on the slot machines and didn’t win anything. Slots are no longer coin based, so the experience is lacking. I could have bet and lost that much from home in the nude sitting on my couch.
LOVE the show – excellent lighting, clear sound, talented acrobats. CWB’s favorite part was the girl/guy on the trapeze and the VW bug that came apart and the filigree bug – and the sheet. There was a sheet that came out and covered 1/2 the audience, like one of those parachute things we played with as kids. It had projected cool projected patterns on it. Another amazing thing was the roller skaters and their acrobatics. All very cool.
I also liked the visual effect where a projected image of a man dissolved into a swirl. There was a jellyfish scene with people flying about as jellyfish, which would have been creepy as ghosts, and a Hindu dressed guy who could pop out his shoulders from their sockets – crazy. An excellent show.
We found the monorail and tram after that – and rode home, much easier than the walk there.
The Luxor has elevators that move sideways.

Sunday. We got up late (for us) and I had a smoothie (not so good) and a crepe (too sweet) for breakfast. Went through the Mandalay Bay Shoppes to Mandalay Bay proper and to the Shark Aquarium, which was cool. Also attached was an arctic exhibit that was okay. Returned to the Luxor and got the car. Went to the Atomic Missile Museum, which was interesting. More Fallout references from CWB. Returned to the hotel, had lunch at RiRa – an Irish pub in the Mandalay Bay Shoppes. The plan after that was to take a nap and get up and go see the Bellagio waterfall and have a fancy steak dinner. We never got up.
So – Monday morning (MLK Day holiday) we ate at the Luxor buffet for breakfast. I expected something lavish. It wasn’t: not much choice and the food was not amazing. We drove home.
I had a good time in Las Vegas and if I return, I’d like to see other things and stay at a different hotel (maybe closer to the main strip area). The trip was very expensive. Las Vegas used to be affordable. Now everything, including little things, are cost prohibitive. For example, I got blisters on my feet from walking. A box of normal bandages was $8. Granted that was in the hotel shop but really? for bandages? Every meal was close to $40 per person, especially if you had alcohol. So the “quick trip” to Vegas for the weekend is out. It is now something we have to save up for. Sigh.

lost story – cat burgler

I had a story idea and I swear I wrote it out – and the amazing thing was that it was a complete idea, with an ending (which is something I don’t usually have). It was called Cat Burgler, about a shapeshifting cat woman who cases native American item auctions and then goes to steal the items back. She turns into a cat to get into or out of the house in question. She sells or returns the items to a museum friendly to her cause (native peoples’ ancient art being stolen from native lands and sold for a profit that is not seen by the tribes).
She meets the love interest at an auction. She also sees her rival/the villain at the auction. The cat girl arranges for her cat self to be adopted by the love interest – a nerdy and rich guy who collects interesting artifacts.
The artifact in question has something to do with her shapeshifting abilities and the end of the world. Her rival is also a shapeshifter (unknown to cat girl).
Girl gets jealous when villain tries to purchase item from guy. Cat girl (as a girl) and guy start to date.
Ugh, the details are fading. The climax was the villain, the girl, and the guy at a cliff edge. The villain gets the item, the girl turns into a cat to attach herself to the villain so the guy could take her. The villain, the item, and the cat all fall off the cliff. The villain turns into a condor and carries the item away. The guy thinks the girl is dead.
Girl meets him at the bottom of the cliff saying something cheesy like “cats always land on their feet” – but they don’t get the item back and the villain escapes – leading to book 2 maybe.
This is an urban fantasy romance.

Anyway, I can’t find it. I wrote it long hand, I think. I can’t find it now. And I’m bummed. The story is never as tasty as when it first comes to you. If you have to recreate it, it is not the same. Things that work out at first imagining are to be treasured (at least, I treasure them because it almost never happens to me). Maybe it will show up. Sigh.