Whatever Happened?

Posted on February 5th 2017 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

Many of you are probably wondering whatever happened to Courting the Dragon, my sophomore novel that was supposed to go on sale last December.

Presently, it is a quasi-finished draft in my Dropbox, waiting for me to crack open a word processor and finally get to the serious business of revising it, as I should have done months and months ago–but still have not.

Why?

Last November, whilst I was in the midst of NaNoWriMo and working on cleaning up CtD’s draft, my husband left. It was shocking at the time, although it really should not have been for a whole host of reasons. The first two days afterwards can be best described as one big, long anxiety attack followed by a week of numbness in which I wrote exactly one scene for my NaNo project, The Foundling. And that was it. I haven’t really written a word since, unless you count countless text messages and work emails.

Why?

For many writers pain is a driving force for their art. A spur for their writing. Their writing gives them an outlet for their anger, their grief. I don’t want to say that that isn’t true for me. In some ways The Foundling’s roots are in some of my own feelings. (Those who know me and the subject matter of that project are probably scratching their heads trying to figure that one out). However, for me it seems that the act of writing tends to be more of a reflection on feelings already processed than the actual act of processing them. When in the midst of something overwhelming, the words just… bottle up.

Side note: I think I wrote the world’s worst poetry right after my dad died. To those who were taking poetry class with me in high school at the time, I apologize.

But, my writerly constipation aside, there’s also the subject matter of the book in question. The book is literally about marriage and events leading up to multiple weddings. Sorry, not sorry for the spoiler there, but I mean, it’s in the title. Call me crazy, but my characters suddenly became completely unrelatable to me there for a few weeks. Here I am, my marriage crashing down around my ears, trying to write about a couple defying magic, politics, parental disapproval, evil villains and a whole bunch of other crap just so they can be together (oh, okay, and save the kingdom, too, I suppose).

Even after the initial shock wore off about a week and a half later, the facts about the plot stated above made even looking at the draft uncomfortable. It felt fraudulent on my part.

Now, in January, as the time to finally sign the divorce papers is drawing near, I think I’m finally ready to put fingers to keyboard again. I’ve had time to reflect on why that particular relationship went south and to recognize that it was over long before he walked out that door. And I say that with no malice to my ex-husband. It was a relationship built on the wrong things that made us into people we neither recognized nor liked very much.

But, with that understanding, I think I now understand why Salarath and Penelope’s relationship will work. Funny how that happens, right? From my own mistakes and my own growth I now feel equipped to grow my characters into the people they need to be for each other. So, with that in mind, I will begin working on CtD again with ambitions to have it completed and on sale this summer. It is going to take some time and some heavy revising, but I think it will be a better story for all the time it has spent waiting for me to grow up a little more.

Adulting is hard.

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Dvorak or no Dvorak

Posted on May 7th 2016 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

Further adventures in iPad land today.

Henry did eventually get it to sign me in to iTunes. As best we can tell, it was a problem on the server side of things with Apple. I don’t find this comforting, exactly, but at least there’s nothing wrong with my device.

Getting all the apps I needed installed didn’t take very long, but I quickly realized there was a a big hurdle that needed overcoming before I could start writing. The keyboard was QWERTY. Now, this isn’t a problem for probably 99% of the populace (I don’t have any accurate figures on Dvorak layout usage), but for me it’s an issue. Sure, I can type in QWERTY for short periods of time well enough to get my point across and send text messages. My typing speed is even somewhere between between 50 and 70 wpm once I really get going, but my accuracy is rather on the low side. To type in QWERTY I now need to concentrate. It’s no longer second nature the way Dvorak is. This isn’t good when my focus needs to be on my story. Not to mention the increase in typing errors that will have to be edited out later. Yuck.

The first results I got when I started Googling Dvorak for iPad were not encouraging. Fortunately, I didn’t throw in the towel after the first discussion board I read through. Man, there’s some serious venom against Dvorak on the Apple community boards. At any rate, I eventually found the answer I was looking for.

Although iOS does not support Dvorak natively for the on-screen keyboard Dvorak was hiding in the settings for the hardware keyboard. That works for me since I plan to do most of my typing via the Bluetooth keyboard built into my iPad’s case. I did a find a 3rd party software keyboard that supports the Dvorak layout, so I’m giving it a try. I think it may even have some swipe functionality like I’m used to with Android, so that would be a plus. Usually I don’t bother with switching the layout on my on-screen keyboard. Strangely enough, I hunt and peck better with QWERTY still. But, with a screen almost big enough to touch-type on it’s worth giving it a go.

The next thing I need to explore is if there’s some sort of adapter I could use to make my favorite keyboard, my TypeMatrix, work via BlueTooth. Now THAT would be sweet.

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Movie Review – Jurassic World

Posted on June 16th 2015 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

I’m going to try something new this evening and share some of my thoughts on the latest installment in the Jurassic Park franchise.

Let me start by saying that I love Jurassic Park. The original movie scared the crap out of me as a kid. As I got older and learned the limitations in current technologies wouldn’t allow for the creation of cloned Velociraptor (which weren’t really as big as in the movie anyways) to run amok the movie still held a lot of fascination for me. Why? Because its message is enduring. When man plays God the consequences are dire. Remember Ian Malcom’s statement (paraphrased because I don’t have the original handy) “your scientists were so busy with whether they could they never stopped to think if they should”?

I went into Jurassic World with low expectations. I wasn’t overly enthused with Hollywood’s adaptation of Lost World (wasn’t even as crazy about the book as I was Crichton’s first Jurassic Park novel). Jurassic Park III while not bad seemed to center more on Dr. Grant’s phobia than Crichton’s original message. Jurassic Park III was made without any input from Crichton; so was Jurassic World, and that’s what had my hopes so low.

So it is with great pleasure that I say I was pleasantly surprised. It was good. More than that, it was very much a tribute to the original movie that many of us loved so very much. Crichton’s original message was back, and the true villain of the Jurassic Park struck again.

* Warning, everything after this point contains spoilers *

(more…)

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First Post

Posted on November 25th 2014 ⋄ By Sara Cleveland ⋄ Category: Uncategorized

I think the hardest thing about starting a new blog is writing the first post. There’s something terrifying about the fresh start of an empty blog. After all, this is – potentially – my first chance at making a good impression on you, dear reader. So I find myself asking several questions. How do I start? Where do I start? What will draw people in?

Maybe something deep is better left for a second post.

With that said, I think I will take this opportunity to explain the purpose of this blog and my website as a whole. (more…)

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