In the land of rice and lava

I recently made a stressful international trip with an ulcer, and actually survived. I couldn’t eat any of the airplane or airport food, but I’d found one brand of apple cereal bars that I could eat without excruciating pain, so I brought enough for the entire trip.

On the ulcer front: I’ve started treatment for h. pylori. Day three, and I’m not sure yet whether or not it’s helping. Also not sure what I’ll do if it doesn’t help. It’s been almost six weeks since I was able to eat much. I’ve probably lost close to twenty pounds.

Enough whining. Let’s talk about Indonesia, specifically the island of Java. I love the people, the food (it’s hard not being able to eat it at the moment), and the landscape with its towering volcanos and terraced rice fields. Due to my illness, I haven’t gotten a chance to get out and take a lot of photos yet. Here are a few from around the house.

ImageBanana tree, complete with giant blossom. Bananas in the tropics taste amazing.

ImageCicak, a kind of small gecko. They are cute, and useful, since they
eat bugs. There’s also an adorable children’s song about them.

Image
Traditional hand broom.

It’s not a coincidence that Lili, the main character in my first novel, has a mother who’s Javanese (Lili’s father, like me, is a white Texan). I’ll be living here in Java for four months, learning and absorbing everything I can. I believe this experience will be greatly helpful when it comes to writing a character who is half-Javanese.

Speaking of the novel, it’s coming along. Still much longer than I had planned–30,000 words through 6 chapters. There are 21 chapters in my outline, which puts me on pace for 105,000 words. Yikes. Something tells me I’ll have to do plenty of cutting in the editing phase. Still, I’m pleased I’ve been able to keep up the pace, despite illness and travel.

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Of Novels and Ulcers

My novel-in-progress, The Mirror Veil, has hit 16,000 words through 4 chapters. The first draft is going to be longer than planned, which will mean cutting stuff later. Fine with me. I’ve been told by many writers that editing is where the magic happens, and as I’ve never edited a full-length novel before, I’m almost looking forward to it. (Yes, I know I’m crazy.)

I’ve done a lot of recent work on my plot and character-arc outlines, and I’m feeling pretty good about them right now, which necessarily means that they are crap and will undergo more changes later. I’m also okay with this. The Mirror Veil is my first novel, and while I love it and am excited about it, I’m also prepared to trunk it and move on if/when the time comes. It’s 1) a learning experience and 2) a gift for my nieces. As long as they like it, and I learn many things that will make me a better writer, I’m happy.

In non-writing news: I have a stomach ulcer, and it is less fun than you’d expect. There are six foods I can eat, in small amounts: whole-grain bread, oatmeal (no milk or butter), scrambled eggs, boiled squash, cooked beans, and plain boiled chicken breast. On the bright side*, I’ve lost ten pounds in the last eight days.

*There is no bright side. I want my active, kinda-chubby body back, in place of this skinnier one that never has energy. Also, I WANT COFFEE. *weeps*

Hello!

I’m Amalie, and I am a writer. When I was five, I discovered the magic of words on pages, and that was that. I wrote my first story that year. It was about a baby fox who almost fell off a cliff and had to be rescued by his mother. I still have the story. A literary masterpiece, let me tell you.

A few other things: I am in my mid-20s. I grew up in remote wooded hills in the Southern United States, and I still breathe best beneath a wild, open sky. I love to learn and discover. I have so many interests that I don’t know what to do with them all. I also have a small horde of wonderful nieces and nephews.

My first novel-in-progress, tentatively titled The Mirror Veil, is for them. It is my love letter to courage and kindness, and magic and wilderness, and people who do the right thing even when the world is unfair.

Someday I might even finish writing it.