Category Archives: White Elk Red Sword

Riverside writers’ retreat

I was here over the weekend, and it was wonderful. (This was Saturday, after the rain stopped–the view downriver from the upstairs deck.) We had workshops with a creativity coach who talked about recapturing the joy in writing, and how to be happily interrupted and other such things, plus there was time to write, and a concert, and white elephant gifting. Some of the white elephants were lovely. Some were…not so much.

The location was a house on an island in, I believe, the lower Colorado River. The only access to this island is by barge, or aerial tramway. It rained all day on Friday, the day we arrived, too wet, really, to cross on the barge. So we crossed on the tram.

The tram was WAY up in the air! And it was small. The wind was blowing, and the car tilted sideways, and it swung back & forth when it crossed the towers (that’s the first tower in the picture–the barge landing is right below it, to the left). And I’m real nervous about heights. But I did okay. I did not scream and clutch at the handrails or cower on the floor. And I stopped shaking once we got on the ground. 😉

It was just a wonderful weekend. Everyone brought potluck for meals, and we had WAY more than anyone could eat. We didn’t even open the ham someone brought.

My BFF Belinda came down from Waco with her fella, and they spent the night Thursday. Then Friday, in the pouring rain, we drove the “back way” down to the river house. We had to come a different way from everyone else, because the others were all coming down from Houston, and we had to just slide down the coast and come inland some from our island. Belinda and I drove in my “bus” and Ken followed us. In the rain. He likes to drive around and look at the country side. We were driving through flooded fields on both sides, lined with moss-draped trees. It was lovely. (Okay, the several junk yards we passed by weren’t so great, but…)

The only access between the downstairs “quiet” floor and the upstairs “brainstorming / workshop” floor was an outside staircase, so we got a little wet carrying things up and down. Mary (whose house it was) got REALLY wet, driving the golf cart to pick people up. She was so wonderful to open up the house to everyone, and work so hard to get everyone there.

B and I got there around noon, so we could just wallow in the experience, and wallow we did. Belinda had a one-on-one session with the coach. I did Tarot readings for at least half of those who came, including the coach. Some of them told me what their question was, and others didn’t, but they all said the readings were amazingly spot on. Well, one said she didn’t see some of the things, but… Anyway– I got a kick out of doing that.

Saturday night, Kathryn the coach, who is also a singer- songwriter, gave us a little concert with some wonderful songs. She did not bring enough CDs for everyone, and I don’t have mine yet. But let me tell you, the song LIVING WELL is a fabulous bluesy creation and You Need To Hear It. I fully expect to hear another of her songs performed by some bigtime country singer in the near future.

Then it was time for the white elephant. I didn’t get an elephant. I got a gun rack (for my (non-existent) rifle collection). Yes, those are deer hooves. Real ones. With fur and everything.

As you can see, I did bring it home. It’s going in the Lions’ Club white elephant Christmas party game this next year. :)

I told my son to bring his friend Walter over to see it. Walter grew up on a farm/ranch outside Tyler, TX. I think he will appreciate it. (Yes, the picture is sideways, but the deer feet are the right way up.)

So now, it is time for me to run to the grocery store for ice cream and Cokes. (In Texas, all sodas are Cokes, whether they are Coca-Cola or not, but I really am going to by Coke Zeros.) And then pack my car and head off to the parents’.

I started rewriting a synopsis for White Elk, Red Sword while I was at the retreat. Mostly I was there to refresh and renew, but I did start on the synopsis. I finished it yesterday. So now I’m reading research books, and I hope to get back to work writing next week. I aim to get my head back into the story so I can do it.

Time’s a-Wastin’

Yep. I did it again. Found yet another time-waster. This one’s not on the web.

I was feeling sorry for myself because I can’t get the new Sim Societies computer game, since my computer isn’t smart enough or fast enough for it (even if it isn’t a year old yet). And I saw a different, older video-game that the computer IS fast and smart enough for. And I bought it. THE MOVIES. I get to run a movie studio and make movies and create stars and it’s way too much fun and addictive… Anyway, I’m still here, and still working, believe it or not.

Hmm. I haven’t posted since Thanksgiving, have I? Well, we had a good holiday. The boy came down from university for the weekend, with his dog. It got cold. It rained. The dog got a bath, and went right back outside and got in the mud. (sigh) She’s a sweet dog, though. We ate too much. I did not make a pecan pie, but an apple crisp, besides the cheesecake for the menfolks. I thought the apple thing might be better for me than all that pecan gooey goodness.

The menfolks went fishing. Caught a little sand trout that got thrown back. It rained again. We went to the cell phone people and got new phone numbers to match the new hometown. We went to WalMart and bought me a new phone. We watched a few of the new DVDs I’ve bought and hadn’t got round to watching. We played a lot of videogames. (This was before I bought the new one…)

Yesterday, I mailed White Elk to the agent, and today, I wrote almost 8 pages on Time Catcher. Or Time Catch. I can’t decide which title I like best. Catcher, I’m beginning to think. Anyway, I got a bunch of new stuff written. It’s about time for me to switch POV to the hero, and I wish I knew what his enneagram type is… I do a lot of Eight-Nine couples. (Eight’s the Boss type, and Nine’s the Peacemaker–or the sea and the seacliff…) I think probably because I’m in an 8-9 marriage, but also because Eights make really good action hero types, and Nines are strong enough to stand up to them. But then, I’m not sure what the heroine’s type is, so… Maybe this will be an Eight-Eight story… That would be a clash for the ages…

Once I get Asker’s story to proposal format, I’ll go back and work on revising Devil in a Red Dress. But I have a busy weekend ahead of me, first.

Late Birthday? Or Early Christmas?

So we went to this auction at a bed & breakfast in town that apparently floundered into bankruptcy. They were auctioning off all the furnishings, a couple of classic cars, the house itself, as well as another a couple of blocks away–all sorts of fancy stuff. I may have mentioned before, the fella has discovered a passion for auctions, so we went. Both days.

I intended to go downtown and get me a signed Firefighter’s calendar, since we were in the neighborhood, but I just flat forgot, which aggravates me no end. I think maybe I’ll see if they have some extras at the bookstore one day this week.

Anyway, if you’d asked me a week or so ago, I’d have told you there was no such thing as a house that’s too big for me, but both these houses for sale fit that category. They were just too darn big. Neat, old houses, but way, WAY too big for me.

We did come away with a couple of purchases, one each day. There’s a bit of a history to one of these purchases. I’ve wanted a rug for my side of the bed for a while. I’ve brought three different rugs home from the store– the first two didn’t look right and the third, the fella didn’t like the way it felt when he stepped on it. So I threw a little bit of a hissy fit (what? Me???) and said I’d take this one back too, but he was going to have to help me find a rug we both could live with. Oh, and I wanted a rug for the living room too.

Well, amongst the things for sale were a whole bunch of handmade oriental rugs. Admittedly, we don’t know a whole lot about the rugs, but the prices they were getting for these great big, all-wool, or wool-and-silk rugs weren’t much more than what you would pay for a rug from Home Depot. And they were a lot prettier. So we bought one. A great big one for the living room. Then we went back the next day, and bought another one for the bedroom. Both the rugs were made in India, the big one in Kashmir, and the little one in Agra. The bedroom one has a lot of silk in it and is very cushy on the toesies.

This first one is the big wool rug in the living room (and a sorta shot of the living room–yes, we are using wood serving trays for end tables–we didn’t move all our furniture). And this second picture is my bedroom rug. I think it’s very lovely. My toes are happy. :)

I thought about going to the beach today to walk, but it was seriously foggy out pretty much all day today. It sorta, kinda cleared off around noon-ish, but fogged in again by 1:30. And I just didn’t feel like walking on the beach in the fog. We have no beach report today.

I have typed in the synopsis for White Elk, and am in the midst of revising chapter 3, switching the point-of-view in the first part of it so it’s all in the hero’s POV. I think it’s working rather nicely.

I am again uncertain about the “time” title. I’m beginning to think something like Time Thief or Time Catcher, or maybe even Time Catch, might work better. Or maybe Time Splice. They don’t actually splice time. Other things are spliced, but… I am the sucks-at-titles Queen. Probably a good thing publishers don’t often let you keep your titles–though I did come up with all the Rose titles myself…

Slogging On

Some people march on, but I happen to be slogging. It’s a slogging kind of month. Or something. Lots of people are participating in National Novel Writing Month this month, or NaNo. I’ve sort of attempted this in the past.

Problem is, I do my first-draft writing in longhand, so if I wanted to do an “official” NaNo, and get my words logged on the Official Website, I would have to first write, then type, then do the upload/count-y thing, essentially doing twice the work of anybody else. And I’m too dang lazy for all that work.

My other problem is that I’m a slogger, not a sprinter. I do best at a “slow and steady” sort of pace. Six to eight pages a day, every week day. EVERY weekday. Sometimes, like when I haven’t been writing for a while, I don’t make it to six pages, but if I really work at it, I can do it. That gives me the 50,000 words NaNo wants in about 6 weeks.

Which brings us to my other other problem. I write long. At least when I’m writing fantasy, I do. Each one of the Rose books came in at just under 150,000 words. (Okay, Eternal Rose came in a fair bit over, but I got it cut!) So did New Blood for that matter. That’s THREE books’ worth of writing, if you count 50,000 words as a book (and that’s how long my Desires were, when I was writing them).

Anyway, I’m still slogging. This week, I finished the synopsis for White Elk, Red Sword.* I also finished the world-building and character development for the science fiction/gene-splicing story, which I am tentatively calling Catching Time. Of course, the world-building will continue to develop as I get into the story and figure out other things I need, but it feels good enough I can work with it. I need to type in the world-building stuff, so I have multiple back-ups. Pen and ink can also be lost/destroyed.

Then I can go back and type in the synopsis, and edit it as I do. Type-in is my 1st edit, giving me a second draft on the computer. Then–maybe this weekend, maybe starting Monday, I can rewrite the opening of Chapter 3 for WERS, putting all of it (at least so far) in the hero’s point of view, and it just might be ready to ship out to the agent.

I want to pull together a partial of Catching Time after that, and after that–we may be into the new year, when I think I need to go back and work on Devil in a Red Dress. I also need to write another 25 pages or so on Thunder. I might actually get them done before this month ends. We’re not going anywhere for Thanksgiving. It will be a small gathering here on the island, but the weather promises to be gorgeous. It is right now, anyway.

Beach report: I’ve only gone down to walk on the beach once this week. It was quite warm, and I wish I’d gone in my flipflops so I could have walked in the water. But I didn’t, so… Lots of little rocks and broken shells along the high-tide mark. Lots of sea gulls.

I did pick up my Bird Book when we went back to Clarendon. I now know that the larger of the sandpiper-like birds are willets, and the little flocking ones are sanderlings. I’m looking forward to seeing them in their summer plumage.

I walked in my neighborhood one day–the day the cold front came through. I thought about walking the other way, around by the bayou (which is actually more like a big opening to the bay than it is like a bayou, but that’s what they call it so…), but the wind was really whipping, and it was cold, and coming off the bayou it would have been even colder, so I stayed on the residential streets.

Today, I walked a little bit over in the historical district–or one of them. This town has a bunch of historical districts. Anyway, I’d gone over there to see someone about getting my fancy black dress altered, and there were some neat looking houses with For Sale signs in front of them, so after I was through trying on the dress for her and had it all pinned up, and went back out to my car, I decided to walk around a little and see what there was to see. Some of the big ol’ houses had been divided up into apartments. Some had been restored and some hadn’t. But it was fun to walk around and look at them. There was even a brand new house that fit exactly into the neighborhood. The inside layout wouldn’t work for us, but it was a neat house. Until we find a place to buy (and hopefully sell the old house), I think my hobby’s going to be driving/walking around looking at houses. Maybe afterward. I like looking…

Okay, I’ve driveled on long enough. Time to stop this and go do something useful. Or play Mah-Jongg… Whatever.

*Title subject to change, if it ever sells/finds a publisher.

Cool Beans

Got some totally cool news today. The Eternal Rose has gone to a second printing.

This is a big deal for Juno. And it is a big deal for me. So, to all you folks who’ve read The Eternal Rose and told your friends about it–THANK YOU!!! And keep telling all your other friends. :)

Okay, so we drove, like, a bazillion miles this past weekend. When I say–well, actually, it was probably only 1400 miles–you will understand that the distance between 1400 and a bazillion actually isn’t that great, especially from the pov of the person actually experiencing driving all that distance in one weekend.

It’s not actually that far to drive to Clarendon and back–about 1200 miles. The extra 200 come from discovering that the Broncos were playing Quanah for the district championship for the first time since we moved to town, only they were playing IN Quanah, which is 90 miles away. So–despite the fact that we had already driven through Quanah once that day–we hopped back in the vehicle and drove Back to Quanah to watch a 1A high school football game. I also got to visit with a bunch of friends while we were there, who we wouldn’t have been able to see without going to the game. And then the Broncos lost.

Because the new town is so much larger, it’s not de rigeur to go to the Friday night football games here–but it still feels weird not going. We spent a LOT of years going to the game every Friday night, because we either had a kid in the band or playing football or both. It was pretty cold. We didn’t take our seats, and the metal bleachers were definitely cold. Daytime temps are pretty much the same on the coast or in the Panhandle, but the temp drops a whole lot more at night up north. No moderating influence of the water.

I’m trying to figure out plots now, and I think I want to rewrite Chapters 2 and 3 of White Elk from the opposite point of view. I’m also having to think about bad guys–what they want, what they’re doing that the good guys can stop them from doing, and it’s tough. I think I’m going to have to do that “think up 20 things to happen here” exercise, because there are just too many possibilities. I have to pick some things–that will need reasons for them to happen–and then the next events will lead from that. I’d rather be writing, but if I don’t know what’s going to happen, I’ll be writing in circles, and I don’t fly well into the mist. I need my roadmap, and I’m having trouble deciding where it needs to go.

The bad guys are in New Mexico. This limits some of the things they can do. They have evil witch powers of several varieties and are of several ethnic backgrounds. This expands some of the things they can do. They want power, because they want to do what they want to do without anybody stopping them or crossing them, and they want money because money provides power. Power feels good because it means they can do anything they want to anybody–they’re the boss dog. Taking stuff from other people proves their power, and taking a life is the ultimate power trip. So. This is where my bad guys are coming from–and now I have to figure out what steps they’re taking to acquire more power. What EXACTLY are they doing? How are they going about acquiring this power? Ugh. What do you think they ought to be doing?

Adventures in October

Busy, busy weekend. And I’m expecting L.K. Hamilton’s Lick of Frost on my front porch any time now, and when it comes, I’m pretty much going to drop everything and read (hmm, isn’t there a school program called that? DEAR?), so I thought I’d get a blog in while I could.

So, I went to a chapter writing retreat in Valley Mills this past week. As you can see, the little house where we all crowded in isn’t much, but it gave us privacy, a place to all squeeze round the same table, and a place to sleep, so we camped out for the weekend and talked writing. I got positively inspired. I’m still working on the Irish/Navajo story, but I brainstormed a plot for a two-page excerpt I wrote who knows how long ago that I always liked and thought could make a good story… and now, I really want to get to work on that one too. (The other picture is the view from the porch at our retreat place.)

Then, I headed to DFW to see the daughter while she was down in our neck of the country at her 10-year-high school reunion. (Good grief–do I have a kid that old?)(Guess so.) Her brothers came from Waco and Dallas and we had a great family visit. I can’t get any more pictures to upload, or I’d share some of the pics of the great big lugs riding on the kid’s toy tractor. They’re pretty hilarious. Oh, and the punkin my littlest grandboy painted for me. It’s adorable. And now sitting on top of my TV. (Hopefully, it won’t start leaking stuff before Halloween’s over.)

Came on home Monday, after taking the girl to the airport to fly home. The fella had to go to Austin with his board members Sunday, and came home on Tuesday just as I was heading out for the post office. It’s a lot farther away here than it was in Clarendon. Lot bigger, too. Anyway, last night, we had yet another thing to go to–at a Mexican restaurant this time (yum). Since there’s a big biker rally on the island this weekend–they’re expecting around 600,000 people to stop in–the “proper attire” for the dinner was Biker Gear. All I could find was a long-sleeved hoodie with a dragon on the front, which made it too hot to wear my leather jacket. Did my best, you know.

I’m told there’s an average of one death-from-stupidity per every 100,000 people at this biker fest. Rally. Whatever. Last year, one guy rode straight down 61st Street and right off the seawall without stopping. The fall killed him. He must have missed the ramp down to the pier, and gone off the side with the rocks at the bottom of the wall. Hope they’re smarter this year…

Beach report: Slower tides these days. Just one today, in fact–low tide at around 3 this afternoon. Lots of rocks on the beach, lots of gulls. Most of them were waking up for the day–except for one young bird who still had his/her head determinedly under his wing, sleeping late. Saw a one-legged gull again, and a cormorant, and a whole flock of the little skittery sand birds. Mostly I’ve seen them in ones and twos, but this was a flock. Saw a bunch of seagulls fishing, too. They were flying in a line, like brown pelicans do, but not as big, of course, and not flying nearly so high–maybe 3 feet off the water. Then they’d swoop down and fly along at less than a foot off the water for a stretch, then back up for another 10 or 20 feet, then back down. I think some of them dipped down to catch something every so often. Bigger waves–lots of guys in wetsuits with their surfboards. I even saw one coming out to surf as I was leaving.

While I have to wear actual shoes to walk, while it’s colder, I’m going to have to walk on the seawall sidewalk. I get too much sand in my shoes and track in up the steps and into the house, and I hate having to deal with the sand. If I’m in the flipflops and barefoot, I can wash it off on the driveway. Still, it’s going to hit 80 F (26C) most of the rest of this week. I could go later in the day and still walk barefoot…

Need to type things into the computer and see how many chapters of White Elk, Red Sword I have, and I can go work on the science fiction-y story… Need to come up with a title for that one.

Summer Comes to A Screeching Halt

Let’s start with The Beach Report.

Okay, so I mentioned briefly that a cold front blew in on Monday. BOY did it blow in! It got downright cold. And it blew all the water way out from the beach. WAY out. I haven’t seen the water so far out since we moved here…almost to the end of the jetties.

If you’ll look at last Thursday’s blog entry, you’ll see a shot of this same beach before the norther got here. Tuesday, when I went out, the water was far enough out, this guy (you can see him. The vertical dot that doesn’t have a sign on top…) was walking over there.

This is a shot of the side of a concrete ramp that comes from the street down to beach level. I took the first one last week. This was at low tide, folks. (Don’t know why low tide was so high that day. Wind, again, I guess.) And the second picture I took yesterday, from the water’s edge.

The second shot was also taken at low tide, but the tide was a WHOLE lot farther out than it was last week. Yeah, the shot is from the opposite angle, but still. It gives you an idea of how different the weather was. Of course, you can’t see the cold, or the sharp wind.

Everything looked washed very clean. I walked out close to the water, and saw so little stuff (except for seagulls, who’d found something to chow down on), that I decided to walk back at the high-tide mark, and found some cool stuff there. More pink barnacle shells, and several other cool shells. One was as long as my hand and almost as wide, very thin, and kinda irridescent, but it was sand-brown, so I didn’t take its picture. Maybe now that I’ve washed it off… I did have to wash a whole lot of sand out of the barnacle holes.

The sand was cut into some really cool wave patterns. A lot of it was the usual washboard-looking stuff, with flat tops, but some of it was really different. Diamond-patterned, or… maybe like tucks in fabric. I thought it was cool looking, anyway.

So, there’s the “First Blue Norther of the Season” beach report. A bunch of kids went to school in shorts on Monday, and froze. (They had pictures in the paper.) It was cold Tuesday morning, and this morning, but by this afternoon, it was gorgeous. Really nice for my trip to the library. My knees were hurting from walking so far two days in a row, so I skipped the beach this a.m. and walked from the library to the post office downtown, this afternoon. Clear sky, warm & not too hot, nice breeze…perfect. And it’s not but 4 or 5 blocks between the two. Had my lunch out at a nice Mexican restaurant over near the medical school.

Got quite a bit written today. New stuff, not just re-treads from the first version (which now that I’m reading it again, I can see the suckage). It’s moving along. I’m liking it better. Like the characters better, like the writing better. Wondering when I’ll get some of this exposition in, but you know? If it doesn’t make it, I don’t think it will hurt anything…

I also got a chapter critiqued for the weekend retreat. Now I need to search through magazines for some interesting pictures to pull out for the workshop I’m presenting. One of the original presenters had to cancel. I also need to crit three more chapters. Eep! It always takes me so long to do critiquing. I will be present for the critting, though, so maybe I don’t have to write so much stuff…

There’s another fancy dress Thing tomorrow night–not as fancy a dress, I don’t think. Ought to be able to wear my black lace skirt and pink beaded jacket. Maybe.

I’ll try to blog before I drive out Friday, but if I don’t…I’ll see y’all when I get back.

I’ll leave you with a final picture…the shrimp boats have come in close to shore, with the falling temps. I could have taken a picture of several together, except for the sun’s glare off the water, and by the time I moved away from the glare, they’d separated. Oh well…

Wild Weekend

The harbor cruise was fun. We took the motor-powered cruise. Big ol’ boat that A&M uses for marine research of various kinds. Just six of us on the boat with “Captain Jim. ” Basically, we went down the harbor to the ship channel and back, didn’t go out in the bay at all. Lots of interesting stuff to look at. (This is the “other” boat, very much like the one we’re on. Took the picture while we were pulling out.)

We saw lots of cool stuff. The local cruise ship, getting loaded up for another Caribbean cruise… We saw the “tall ship Elissa,” from the water. Elissa is a museum herself, and also a working sailing merchant ship. Locals volunteer to sail her and keep her ship-shape.

There were also cargo ships unloading tractors and shipyards that didn’t look like they had any ships to work on. I think one of the shipyard things was still under construction. Besides all the big ships (including Coast Guard cutters and ferries and barges), there were people out fishing. Apparently it’s about time for the flounder run to begin and folks were everywhere, on the bank and in boats, catching fish while all these huge ships were pulled up to dock right across the water from them.

But the absolute coolest thing we saw while we were out cruising down the harbor was the bottle-nosed dolphins. A whole pod surfaced right in front of the boat–six or seven of them. I couldn’t get but three in the same picture–they were pretty far ahead when the big bunch surfaced, and not all of them came back up close enough for me to take their picture. But they were right there in the harbor along with everything else, swimming around like there were no ships or fishermen. Cool, huh?

And then we went to see Elizabeth: The Golden Age, because I’d been wanting to see it, and it was totally worth going to see. Loved the clothes…

Sunday, we got tickets to the Grand Opera House to a concert, and decided to go to that, since Moody Gardens–which was having “Free Day for locals” will be there next year (or whenever) and the pianist won’t be. The music was great, but Sunday afternoon is not a good concert time for this girl. Sunday afternoon is Nap Time, and I kept falling asleep in that dark theater, at least through the Brahms. I did stay awake for the Mussorgsky Pictures in an Exhibition–just because I like that music a lot.

There were a whole bunch of other things going on over the weekend…a bicycle “ride around the bay” benefit thing, I think a breast cancer walk, an art festival, I think there was also a jazz festival…and we just couldn’t get to all of it. (A couple of the cyclists got hit crossing the causeway, even though they had two lanes blocked off just for the bicyclists…)

So now, it’s Monday. Worked on White Elk this a.m., got the latest version of chapter 1 in the computer and sent off for critiquing. Hopefully I’ve added in enough emotion that it will work. Hopefully.

Beach Report: Went back out to walk this morning. They’ve been predicting a cold front for today since last week, but you couldn’t tell it by my walk. It was 81F (27C) when I got to the seawall at 8:30 a.m. And there wasn’t a lick of breeze anywhere. I have NEVER been on the beach when the air was so absolutely still. It was hot, walking this a.m.

Because it was Monday, and the beaches got groomed for the weekend, most of the seaweed was gone, unless it got washed up right next to the seawall. I saw a couple of chunks of floaty, crinkly kind. (Guess I ought to take a picture of that, too.) A few shells, more rocks, and a whole lot of rocks right next to the fishing pier.

But I saw something I’d never seen before, completely new for me, and totally cool. I guess it washed ashore because it had broken off something else. It was a chunk of hard, clear plastic pipe about 2 inches in diameter, with a metal plug on one end that had been completely covered three-quarters of the way around, and over the end with some kind of little mussels or clams. Each shell was about thumbnail sized, and attached to the pipe by some kind of…neck, or stem. Kind of an icky, fleshy, ribbed, dark brown stem. The shells looked thin, and they were triangular shaped, with rounded points, white with dark orange edges. Looked sorta like mouths with lipstick on, because the shells were all open, some with little critters sticking out.

I thought about bringing it home to take a picture of here, but the critters were still alive, and when they died, they would sure stink. So I tossed them back into the water (they washed back out again) for the seagulls to eat, if they ever figured out they were edible. (Maybe they aren’t. I don’t know.) The seagulls weren’t messing with them when I first saw it. It looked sort of like a rhythm-band instrument–a stick with little castanets stuck all over the outside to rattle together. It did rattle when I picked it up, as the shells clacked into each other…

So, anyway, that was the cool stuff I saw this morning.

Then, sometime later this morning, the wind swooped in out of the north, blew over the rubber tree and the purple ginger (I did pick them back up), and brought in the cold weather. By 2:30 p.m., it was 63F (17C), and blowing like crazy.

I may have to go out and check the beach at low tide tomorrow, see if anything cool can be found. We are told that this is the time to go beach-combing, because the wind pushes the water way out, and all sorts of things turn up on the sand…

Fancy Dress Party

So we went to the party. This is me in one of my new fancy dresses. I like sparklies, and there are sparklies all the way down the front of this dress.

The invitation wasn’t real specific about where the party was–the hotel and convention center is a pretty big place, and we had to hike through the hotel till we found the right ballroom. I actually remembered a few names of people I’d met before, and even recognized who went with who even when they weren’t next to each other. I’ve met a dozen or more women named either Carol, Carolyn, Caroline or Karen… at least it seems that way. Makes it easier to remember names. I can just come out with a Kar–and mumble an ending, and they’ll think I remember. I’m so bad at names, I don’t mind at all being introduced as Grace.

Grace was actually my nickname in college, because I was so good at tripping over cracks in the sidewalk and getting run over by rampaging Weimeraners and losing my balance and falling into people and stuff. If somebody was going to mix my name up, that was probably a pretty good one to stick on me.

So, here’s the fella in his brand new tux. Someone told us at the party that the island is actually a two-tux town. I suspect we’re not rich enough for the two-tux level, but his position is a pretty political one, so we may get that many fancy-dress invitations. We’ll just have to wait and see. The guys were mostly in tuxes, but the ladies were all over the board–some in cocktail dresses, some in fancy dress pants, some in long dresses. I’m just grateful I didn’t drape my sleeves in the food…

And yes, I have to show y’all my shoes. I got really excited about finding a pair of shoes that would actually go onto my feet–and I found them at a Department Store! Usually, department stores don’t carry anything that will fit me, (wide feet, high arches) but I could get my feet into these, they didn’t hurt any more than any other shoe, and they didn’t cost a bazillion bucks. They have sparklies on them too, but the sparkle doesn’t seem to show up in the picture.

While we were at the fancy party, before dinner started (beef wellington and a really great red and yellow tomato salad), we got invited to go on a boat excursion this afternoon, and since we had no other commitments, and we like boats, we jumped on the invite. I’ll try and get back to let y’all know how it went–and I will take the camera for more pictures. I really need to get back to my painting… (Pictures=stuff to paint, so when I think about pictures, I think about painting.)

It sounds like all I’m doing is running around and going to parties–and I’m doing a lot more of that, for sure. There’s lots of stuff to do here. But I am still working on stories and writing. I got quite a bit done yesterday–finished character interviews and re-wrote the opening. Now I need to get it typed in and merged with the rest of chapter one, and ship it off for critique at next weekend’s writers’ retreat. Except I have to go on this boat ride. And tomorrow afternoon, we have tickets to a concert downtown at the Grand Opera House. (Need to try to take a picture of the inside there…) Anyway, this one is a contemporary urban fantasy romance with the various cultural mythologies merged and mixed together. Tentatively titled White Elk Red Sword, but I’m also considering something like The Shaman and the Warrior Princess… anyway.

Beach report: Went walking with the fella this a.m., and since he has no flip-flops and I like to walk IN the water, we drove down to see if Academy was open (wasn’t), and walked from 45th street to about 27th and back, instead of from 61st to 53rd, like I usually do.

Gorgeous weather–not a cloud in the sky, nice breeze, water pretty cool. More shells than rocks on the beach, but not many of either. After we crossed the 3rd jetty, there was a whole lot of seaweed of both kinds (crinkly-leaved floater and big-stemmed with roots). We’re waiting for the first big norther to blow in and push all the water way out so we can really go shell-hunting. Seagulls, pigeons, little bitty sandpiper/pipits. Saw a big sandpiper/stilt (I have Really got to go get my bird book.) with only one leg hopping away from us. And just as we were about the climb the stairs back to the car, we saw an egret fishing. Going to have to break out the long-sleeved shirt and hat and sunscreen for the harbor tour this afternoon…

I really am appreciating all the “Book sighting” reports. I had a sighting! I went across the causeway into town for the RWA meeting last Tuesday (listened to Sharon Mignery do a great workshop on Conflict), and stopped off at the Barnes & Noble, and there they were! THREE copies of The Eternal Rose and one of The Barbed Rose. So I signed them. Didn’t have any stickers…I’ll take some next time I head into town–which might not be until the next meeting, but that’s just the way it is. So. Thanks, y’all. :)