Pony pictures and NaNoWriMo progress

Happy November, everyone!

I hope you are remaining cool and calm–or warm and calm, if the weather is already cold where you are–in this super-stressful period. I am trying to remain relaxed myself and focus on my writing.

I’ve got writing-related snippets to share, but first I wanted to share a fun picture. I’ve been doing another Mold Purge (fortunately less major than last year’s, since there’s not a lot of old papers and textiles left in my house), and with my mother’s help have been cleaning out a bunch of old boxes full of…I don’t know what. Stuff I tossed in there in a mad rush during a previous move, and never dealt with. It’s not the world’s most enjoyable task, but we’ve also dug up some real gems. We found a collection of hair-band posters from the early ’90s, and tons of old photos, including this classic from about 1990.

Me swimming my pony Beauty across a flooded river (probably the Blue Hole) in Land Between the Lakes, KY
If you’ve read The Breathing Sea, you know that there’s a thrilling sequence in Part I in which Dasha, my heroine, has a near-death experience while crossing a flooding river on horseback. Nothing anywhere near that thrilling ever happened to me in real life, but my friends and I used to love to swim our ponies across the river in this picture. I combined that experience with a terrifying action sequence from one of my all-time favorite thrillers, Longshot by Dick Francis, to create that scene in my own book. Speaking of The Breathing Sea, my NaNoWriMo project is a sequel to it. Dasha is going to head off–I hope; novels tend to have their own minds about where they’re going to go–on her mission to make peace with the Rutsi. I passed 20k of the first draft yesterday afternoon, so I’m chuffed about how the project is going so far. If you’re interested, you can check out my progress on my NaNoWriMo profile here. At this point in the story, Dasha is still stuck in Pristanograd, which is based loosely on the real-life town of Vyborg (Russian)/Viipuri (Finnish). I took a boat to Vyborg while I was in Finland in 2010, and toured Vyborg Castle, on which I modeled the Pristanograd kremlin.
Vyborg Castle, 2010.

I also picked up a copy of The Kalevala, Finland’s epic saga/myth cycle, in the original Finnish during that summer in Finland. Sadly, I’ve never gotten around to actually reading it in the original Finnish. I did manage to read a of the other books I got there, but not The Kalevala.

I am, however, rereading it right now in English as part of my background research/reading for my NaNoWriMo project. If you’re curious, you can read a pretty decent English translation of it here. It’s a fascinating and wonderful work. It also involves lots of maidens being abducted by our heroes, which is obviously completely unacceptable. I am currently stewing on how to rework the stories in it to make them more empowering for my heroines.

I’m also busily working away on Pinterest, making inspirational boards of awesome images of everything from the Northern Lights to Ivan Bilibin’s illustrations of Russian fairy tales. If you’d like to see the images that inspire me, you can check out my Pinterest page here.

Well, I’d better stop working on my newsletter and get back to writing if I want to hit my NaNoWriMo target for the day. As always, if you have any wonderful stories, especially relating to ponies and/or Finland, I’d love to hear them!

Have a wonderful weekend, and happy reading.


2 thoughts on “Pony pictures and NaNoWriMo progress

  1. I’m impressed that you even tried to read the Kalevala in Finnish! I have an English translation that I started in but never finished, although I do intend to. After two years of Finnish lessons I’m not yet at the level where I can read it in Finnish 😉


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