Category Archives: steampunk book

Official Title for Harry & Elinor

It is official. The editor and I have just agreed. The title of this new book in my blood magic Victorian steampunk series, the one starring Harry & Elinor, will be HEART’S MAGIC. Because that’s the kind of magic that brings about the happy ending…

Also, Twitter is very bad for me.

I am there, since … Tuesday? I think so. Look for me. GailDayton. One word. Easy-peasy.

Have to go kill the Monster-Kitty!!

Beach observations and other news

I meant to post this yesterday, but got too busy. Today’s no less busy, but I am determined.

First, want to say thanks for the “Awws” from Catie and Barb. I have decided that I need to walk more often, but not quite so far, because I get tired and don’t pick up my feet and trip over stuff. My bruises are better, and my hand is doing that “getting well” itching. :)

I drove down to the beach to walk yesterday, because it’s more fun, and because I wanted to spend my walking time actually on the beach, not getting to it. And I didn’t take Dolly. I tend to observe stuff more when I don’t have to deal with the dog.

First observation: The seaweed has come in. Blankets of it. I was thinking maybe it’s a little early for the big piles of seaweed, but maybe not. We’re almost halfway through May… I saw some logs that had floated in that looked like they had fur. Greenish fur, but furry, nonetheless. (Yes, I know it’s algae. But it looks like fur.) And a tennis shoe that had been in the water long enough that it had those lipstick clams attached to it. Quite a few decent sized ones… I only saw the bottom of the sole, not the top, so I don’t know how much of the upper shoe survived, but that sole had been floating around a long time.

I only saw one seagull. I was out there by 8 a.m., but I think because the sun’s coming up earlier, the seagulls are giving up their “standing by the edge of the water waking up” earlier. I saw lots of sanderlings and ruddy turnstones, all of which had two legs. They have a little butt wiggle when they’re running away from you…

I also saw a shark that had washed up on shore. It was about a meter/yard long (give or take that difference between a meter and a yard), and it didn’t have a tail. I don’t know if it died and got washed up because it had lost its tail, or if it lost its tail after it got washed up. It didn’t look like any scavengers had been at it… I have no idea what kind of shark it was, though. I’ve been looking–not a nurse shark. Dorsal fins aren’t right. Its nose was really square across, so it’s not a pointy-nose shark or a round-nose shark. Hmm. It was gray, with that straight-across nose, one rather pointy dorsal fin, no barbels (catfish-like whiskers), gill-slits in front of its side-fins, and small high-set eyes. Haven’t found the right picture for it yet. And having its tail missing takes away another thing to help ID it. Oh well.

In other, more interesting news, New Blood is a recommended read by the Virginia Beach Public Library! It’s a lovely review–and they’re recommending it!! I’m excited.

I got my copy edits for Heart’s Blood (Grey’s story), and have finished them up, except for the chunk of 25 pages that got left out of the ms they sent me.

What do you think of Blood from Stone as a title for Harry & Elinor’s story? Stoneheart? Heart of Oak? Working on villains for the story… Villains are such a pain.

Dolly’s Adventures at the Beach

This is how uneventful my life is–when Dolly the granddog has better adventures than I do. Of course, I wouldn’t want the adventures she had.

Last Friday, when the weather was shirtsleeve warm (today it is butt-freezing, let-Dolly-hang-out-in-the-laundry-room cold), we ventured forth for a walk on the beach in the fog. She was a very good doggy walking down the street to the light and waiting for it to change. We crossed Seawall and proceeded east to the stairs where we usually descend and walked back the other way to the jetty, which had been transformed by a huge pile of wet sand into a ramp from the street to the beach on either side of the jetty.

Huge dump trucks were driving up and down it, and down the beach to the west of the jetty–which is much narrower than the east side section because more of the beach got washed away over there. They were replenishing the beach, starting down at 61st St. Given the trucks and the narrow beach, I turned Dolly around and went back to the wider part of the beach. And, foolishly, I let her off the leash so she could run. She ran up and down the beach a while, mostly in the (cold) water, chasing birds, until she decided (apparently) that she could catch the birds that flew out to sea by running out to the end of the jetty. She ran about 3/4 of the way out, and then Jumped Off The Jetty Into The Water!

Deep water. Over her little doggy head. Where people get swept under and drowned every summer. She did not fall. She jumped. So I’m trucking fast as I can (running! Me!) to reach the jetty, even though I can’t go in after her, but maybe I can reach out and grab her from the rocks or something. Meanwhile, I’m watching the little white doggy head at the top of the water. She couldn’t climb back onto the rocks of the jetty–they were too steep, so she swam along the side of the rocks toward the beach, swimming, swimming–I could still see her head. And then legs! White doggy legs. She was standing up and out of the water.

So then, what did she do? Crossed the jetty where all the trucks were driving back and forth. By this time, I’m almost at the jetty, so I climb up to see over it, and I see a pair of headlights in the fog driving toward me…with a little brindle-and-white dog running as fast as she can in front of it. She hauled doggy butt back to me, and wouldn’t go anywhere until I put that leash back on her. We are both agreed, no more adventures for Dolly. If she wants to run, she can go run with her boy.

We were both pretty worn out by this time, so we climbed the stairs and crossed the street and went home. Whereupon Dolly went and hid from me in the garage because the last two times we went walking at the beach and she got in the water, I was mean and awful and gave her a bath!

I gave her a bath this time too. It’s not good to leave that salt in her fur. But I thought it was pretty funny, how she tried to hide from me. I think I hurt her feelings, because she wouldn’t come out and play with me the rest of the day. She has now forgiven me, though, because I let her in the laundry room when it’s too cold outside.

I am getting my new computer today! Yay!! And I am going grocery shopping for Christmas.

The writing is still going. I may be almost through the romantic black moment to be ready to begin to resolve it and get into the fantasy black moment and big battle and stuff. This book is the hero’s story, I think, more than the heroine’s….

Time–never enough of it…

Hitting the Fan

Something has hit the fan. We shall not endeavor to figure out what the substance is. But it is not pleasant. I have been on airplanes, and spent the night in a place other than home without my suitcase. The trip started off good, but the ending? Not so much.

Went to the island to look at places to live. Spent 3 days doing it, looked at so many houses they started to blur together, and we have a place–or will in a couple of weeks when we hook up the U-Haul and head down to live in it. There is a great big deck. With a roof over it, so one can sit on the deck and admire the rain falling. It rained while we were looking on it. This is something of a temporary solution, but I think we’ll probably be here at least a year, so not that temporary.

We went walking on the Seawall one evening. It was fairly cool, and as long as the offshore breeze could reach me, it was pleasant, but it was so humid, when the buildings blocked the breeze, it got really hot. It’s going to take me a while to get used to the humidity, coming from West Texas, where there isn’t any.

The fella is currently staying in a little beach shack, even though it’s about six blocks from the beach (sounds close, but it isn’t) that really is a shack. The boards flooring the porch are a little too flexible, and a few are missing their ends. It has one living area, a bedroom with a twin bed, a bathroom and a little kitchen. It’s liveable, but not really comfortable. The futon we slept on had to be the most uncomfortable thing I’ve slept on since the floor. But it was good enough for a weekend visit.

We changed my flight to later on Sunday so I could stay a while longer and look at a couple more houses–and when I got to the gate at the airport in Houston, the flight was delayed about 45 minutes–but my connecting flight was delayed too. Then, when it finally arrived and they let us get on the plane, a thunderstorm had moved in and they shut down the ramp, brought all the baggage handlers and such inside. Which was a good thing. I didn’t want them fueling the airplane in the lightning either. But that meant I missed my connection in Dallas (the whole world connects in Dallas–if they’re not connecting through Atlanta). I could get off the plane, have the fella drive back into town and get me, or I could go on to Dallas and stay with relatives, and no suitcase. I went to Dallas. They had a toothbrush for me and a pair of clean underwear (a girl has to keep her priorities straight!)–(I will not return the underwear. I’m buying a new pair for her) and a bed to sleep in. And finally, a day and a half late, I am home again.

I am having domain crises, so yes, the website is down at the worst possible time, when the book is due out at any time. I will try to get it back up asap–but I’m not sure how long that will take, especially since I’m feeling poor. We will just have to see.

Oh, and I got to watch pelicans fishing. They are such huge birds in the air, and they seem to like to fly in straight lines, one behind the other, in groups of three or four. Not in a Vee, in a line. When they were fishing, they would go about 20 feet in the air, then drop like a rock into the water. Big splash, then they’d sit there a while, floating. Don’t know if they were swallowing or recovering from the belly flop (that’s what it looked like)–I wasn’t close enough to really see. But it was totally cool. Can’t wait to see it again.

Getting the steampunk book revisions in the ‘puter this week and printing it out to mail. Hope I get it all together. Have to pack my research books to move… At least we don’t have to worry about moving bookcases–this house has lots and lots of builtins.

Varieties of Working

When I come into my office to write, I say I’m Working. In fact, in my “labels” for this post, when I put “work” up, that means the writing. Because I am a full time writer.

And it is tiring to sit and write. I do my first drafts in longhand, remember, so there’s a little handcramp to deal with, and there’s always the dreaded fanny fatigue. Sometimes, if my thumbnail gets a bit long, it digs into my forefinger as I’m holding the pen. And that doesn’t even count the mental exhaustion. Or the tendency to slump into slumber…but that usually doesn’t hit unless I try to write in the afternoon.

I’ve been writing a love scene this week. Or trying to. For some reason, love scenes seem to take me forever to write. It’s not that I don’t like writing them, or reading them either, but they’re just hard to write. I mean, it’s the same basic act every time, only the characters differ from book to book…and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes, they’re the same characters…but they’re in a different place in their lives. And that’s the only thing that’s really, essentially different. But you have to make each love scene different, anyway. Because they’re different people at different points in life, and … and I have really had trouble getting into this particular love scene.

Every time I think I’m getting it finally underway, the heroine comes up with some NEW problem, some Other difficulty that is messing up her head, and frankly, she’s as frustrated as I am. I think I have finally solved ALL her problems, and we’re going to get some nookie going…but I have diabolical plans, and I know what will happen when things finally cut loose a little, and they’re going to have to get into yet another conversation before they can get back to business. Monkey business, that is. And then they can do magic.

But that wasn’t really what I was going to write about when I started this. See, I went out and pulled weeds again yesterday. And I was so tired and so sore, I fell asleep after supper and almost didn’t wake up in time for choir practice–and the concert is this Sunday. (I’m wearing my new pink-and-black jacket.) And there are still way too many stickery thistle-dandelion things. (They’re not really dandelions, because they’re stickery, but they have yellow flowers, and make puffball seedheads, so…) I don’t think any have bloomed yet. Maybe I can stay ahead of them. I’m not pulling weeds today. I’m getting a blister on my right palm from the trowel, and it’s cold and rainy outside. Today, I’m going to be lazy. So there. :)

Synopsis and snow

Got a couple of inches of fresh snow this a.m. Fortunately, it warmed up enough most all of it melted off. Except for the stuff on top of the ice and snow still on my back patio. I’m beginning to think that won’t melt till spring arrives for reals.

Last week, by the end of the week, I wrote 52.5 pages. (YAY!!) Which gave me, for the two week push, 115 pages total. Not bad atall, friends.

But that meant that this week, I had to write a new synopsis to go with all the stuff I wrote and finish the story. I wrote and wrote and wrote. Lots of pages’ worth. (You all know my theory–you get to count synopsis pages double because they’re twice as hard to write.) Then I scratched out two or four pages’ worth because I decided I didn’t need the ballpeen hammer murders in this book, and could save them for someone else, because with the Hungarian Inquisition, who needs murders too? So I have a brand new ending–or rather, the same events still happen, but they happen for different reasons, and different bad guys commit the same evil events, and it all works out beautifully and ties everything together, and I probably never would have figured this all out if I hadn’t sat down to write as much of the story as I could all at once.

Got to go to town yesterday and paint. I am happy. I got to work on the portrait–it’s close to being done. Fortunately, I ordered more canvases. I’m out of things to paint on, unless I paint over something…which I could well do…

I have 9 pages of synopsis written, which will probably type up to 15, and counts as 19 or 20 pages in the “count” because of all the pages I got to X out when I took out the murdered guys.

Oh, and I got to go to the doctor again today. (I went yesterday to let them look at the skin cancer that’s being erased with a cream) Now I have a lump on the side of my neck, right on top of the muscle there–a swollen lymph node in a weird place, so I get to take drugs for that too. Lots and lots of pills. I don’t feel bad. Except the lump is sore. Oh well.

Community choir starts tomorrow. I will not forget. (And if I do, y’all get to chastise me.)