Monday, November 7, 2011

Dancin' Among the Angels

As per request, here's the poem I wrote and read for my mom's funeral four years ago. It does fit rather well with one of the pictures I found the other day!

I was never a serious poet, so um, yeah, beware!

                                               Dancin’ Among the Angels

We walked along the shoreline,
My hand held in yours.
I was your baby, your joy, your everything
We smiled as the sun set behind our silhouettes.
Mother, daughter, enjoying the beauty of the ocean,
My hand held in yours.

We walked into the sunny schoolroom,
My hand held in yours.
I was nervous, afraid, but you encouraged me on
        It was my first day of school; you were just as nervous as I.
        Mother, daughter, learning the world together,
My hand held in yours.

We walked along the newly-mowed lawn,
Your hand held in mine.
I once depended on you; you now depended on me too
        My graduation day—how you wanted to see me.
        Mother, daughter, guiding each other along the way
Your hand held in mine.

We sat in the shade of the trees at the hospital,
Your hand held in mine.
We made each other laugh as we talked and ate tacos
        You were in a wheelchair now, but your spirit still pranced.
        Mother, daughter, sharing lunch and sharing life
Your hand held in mine.

You walk along the shoreline, watching the sun sink behind the waves,
Your hand held in God’s.
You were my mother, my friend, my everything,
        You’re in heaven now—dancin’ among the angels
        Mother and daughter—I’ll miss you, but you haven’t left me
Your hand held in God’s.

                                                                                                -Laura Hardgrave 11/08/07

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today, 59 years ago, Lizette Mareanne Lonne was born, later to become Lizette Hardgrave in 1977, when she married Phillip Hardgrave. To her friends, she was Liz. She passed away four years ago.

I guess it's more common for people to remember the day of their loved ones' passing, but for my mother's story and my story, the date of her passing has little importance.

Her life is her importance--the people she touched, the lives she warmed, the beautiful memories she helped create. Her legacy is the world around us, and one that will not pass away.

She lives on in me, her daughter, and in every single friend and dear family member who knew her well and loved her for the kind and loving woman that she was.

In everything I do, and in everything I write, she's there, guiding me, like a northward star guiding a weary traveler.

Happy birthday, Mom. Your star's freakin' gorgeous tonight.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chargin' My Lasers

I've been wanting to blog about this for a while, but I've held back 'cause I wanted to post the link to it.

I have my own column!


And yes, I'm having too much fun with the Smuggler puns and metaphors.

It'll be interesting to see what kind of writing style I develop as I write these columns.  That's been one of the largest reasons I've wanted a column.  Most columnists I enjoy reading tend to have a very relaxed, yet still professional style and voice, and it remains consistent throughout each column.  That's kind of what I want.  I want to have fun, but at the same time, be informative.  I think I pulled it off in the first one.  It was fun to write.

Now to attempt to get an audience.  That's a beast all of its own!

In other news, I have an interesting FORCE Junkies article recently up, as well as a Rift Junkies article

In the fiction world, I've been attempting to write at least 500 fiction words a day, even if it's just a little blip that I may or may not use for a story or novel later on.  It's basically an exercise in getting creative juices flowing daily, which is something that I do need work on.  Years ago, I used to write every day, without fail, but in these past years, it's been increasingly difficult.  I know that if I can find that magical plateau again, where the words flow as easily as they once did, I'll be able to really get some major short story and novel work done, and thus out into the publishing circuit.  But until then... it's slow. 

I keep trying to figure out why exactly it's so much harder than it once was, and I come up with a lot of random reasons: I don't live by myself anymore, I have much more to worry about besides just schoolwork, I don't have a working laptop at the moment (that one I plan on remedying for sure), and yeah, I have other things I need to write, that usually end up taking priority.  I still get distracted pretty easily, too, which never helps.  I think I may just need to work on balancing my time a little better, and uh, get distracted less.  

The exercise has been pretty successful so far.  Some nights I end up doing more of a free write, but that's fine.  I ended up getting a short story idea out of it, and have been slowly making progress on that.  This story's a bit of an experiment for me.  We'll see how it ends up.

I've also been starting to edit my novel from last year's NaNoWriMo.  It's still unfinished, unfortunately, since I kind of chucked it into a dark corner after last November was finished.  It's at exactly 50k words too, go figure.  At the time of its chucking, I thought it all kinds of terrible things wrong with it, but you know, after reading it a year later-- it doesn't seem too bad.  Isn't that how it always is?  A chapter or two need some serious tweaking, but other than that, most of it's quite solid.  I was debating whether or not I liked it in its 1st person point of view, but you know, I think I pull it off rather well.  I'll keep it that way for now.  Hopefully it'll start seeing progress.  I'd love to finish it.

One of these days I'll get in the habit of blogging more often.  Maybe!

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Completed Novelette, Some Star Wars Puns, and I R ON TV (Sorta)

It's been a pretty good couple of days for me and my writing, and just typing that kinda makes me blink. I'm so unaccustomed to feeling good about things.  It's pretty awesome, I must say!

First off, tonight I off my entry to the Writers of the Future contest.  It's come a long way since I first wrote the first draft back in college, and I must say I'm pretty happy with how it ended up.  It's long enough to technically be a novelette, and it could be longer honestly, which is amusing to me since it started out with a specific intention to be a short story.  Ah well.  I just wasn't happy with it being so short.  I'm not entirely sure it's what the Writers of the Future judges are looking for, but we shall see!  I'm happy with it, and I think that's what matters.  It's only my second time entering the contest-- and the first time doesn't really count since it was 8 years ago.   Since then I've went to college, graduated from college, started 2 novels, finished about 5 short stories (I know, that really doesn't sound like many), read a lot, lived a lot, lost a lot, and experimented enough in random genres to kind of begin to get an inlking as to what my own style is.

For those who may read this who don't know what Writers of the Future is, it's a science fiction/fantasy short fiction contest that's been held for years.  To enter you must be an unpublished author, which makes it an excellent starting ground for writers like myself.  Professional writers judge it; it's not a popularity contest.  It's also held 4 times a year, which is nifty.  The top 3 winners per quarter get their stories published in an anthology, and get paid a nice little chunk in prize money.  They go on to a grand prize competition against all the other winners of the year, too.  The judges also give out Finalist, Sub Finalist, and Honorable Mention awards, although those don't grant publishing rights or prize money.  The contest is definitely a great way to get my foot in the door, though, if I do get anywhere with it.

I don't have high expectations at this point.  I just kinda wanna see what happens.  I think it'll be about 2 months before I hear anything.  Waiting sucks for things like this!  I suppose the smart thing would be to start planning ahead for next quarter's entry.  Possibly... maybe... probably... not yet.  I still have a nagging habit to wait until the last second to do everything.  It's awesome.

In other news, this morning I had another Star Wars: The Old Republic article published.  You can read it here.  I had fun with it.  It's rather amusing writing articles for a Star Wars game.  I get to insert all these silly Star Wars puns and hope that someone out there, somewhere, maybe appreciates them as much as I do.

And speaking of articles, my Editor told me today that my Rift Junkies article from last week was featured on a popular RIFT podcast called The Sanctum.  It was actually pretty amusing, because I'm generally not a very big fan of podcasts, so I don't even listen to this one.  If my Editor wouldn't have told me, I uh, probably would never have known.  Needless to say, I listened to it after he told me!  It was kind of interesting.  They just mentioned it, my byline, and what it was about, then used my article to discuss their own opinions on the matter.  I R FAMOUS!!2%  Not really... but hey, I'll take what I can get!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Go, Stars, Go!

I finally decided it was time to start a real writing blog.  I've attempted a few over the past five years or so, but at some point they'd all end up being kind of... dead.  So, here's hoping to keep this one alive.  I plan on using it to track some of my writing projects and post random motivational blips and musings. I may also babble about books I read and video games I play.  I do tend to be pretty random, as a warning.

I feel like I should start with some kind of self-summary, and I'm notoriously bad at those in general, but here goes: 

My name is Laura, and I'm a professional freelance writer and aspiring professional fiction writer.  I've been writing since elementary school, and have a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from UC Davis, California.  I'm currently floundering around, attempting to earn a living with this writerly stuff.  

In attempting to decide whether to focus this blog primarily on my freelance or fiction writing adventures, I decided that at my very core-- I am a fiction writer.  This freelance writing thing is actually relatively new to me, and while I do enjoy it, my ultimate silly, sunlight-hued dream is to become a published fiction author.

I've currently got a number of writing projects going.  I have a sci-fi novel in its editing stages, another one in the planning stages, and a couple of short stories/novelettes floating around in between various stages.  I tend to stick within the sci-fi, fantasy, and speculative fiction realms, and I really enjoy adding a queer edge to much of my fiction.

My most current project is one of my old sci-fi short stories from my college writing workshop days.  After shoving it away into the dark abyss for a few years, I realized it was time to finally dig it out again and do some heavy editing and rewriting. 

As far as my freelance stuff goes, I'm currently writing articles for Rift Junkies and FORCE Junkies.  I'm a big MMORPG gamer, and it's definitely my forte.  I do some content site freelance writing as well.  I'll eventually post up some links and stuff to some of my articles.  For now, hello blog!