Category Archives: work

Wow–love this review!

I try to avoid reviews, because if they’re bad, they just aggravate the snot out of me, and if they’re good… Well, it’s hard to know if they’re going to be good or not. But this one–

I am honestly in awe. I not only love what this blogger said, I love how she said it. I never knew that was what I wrote–but I guess I did. I remember doing it. Anyway, go forth and read it if you are so inclined. It’s at Tempting Persephone.

(Yeah, I’m on leave from the p-t dayjob to write the book. Got 8 pages today. Will be at the grindstone–er, desk–to write more tomorrow.)

Oh, and the picture–it’s blurry because the gyroscope was moving, under the muscle power of my darling daughter who got to try it for the first time because grandparents were at the museum to chase the doodlebug (aka the middle grandboy) instead of her. I missed the “when she was upside down” shot. Oh well.

New week, new stuff

According to my goals list, I didn’t get a whole lot accomplished last week. It felt like I was spinning my wheels most of the week too. Got my opening scene written, and then stalled out. Couldn’t figure out where to go from there. Part of it was an “order” issue. I’m a linear writer, which isn’t the same as a plotter, or a “pantser”–someone who just starts writing and figures it out as they go. The other kind of writer is a “puzzler” who writes scenes as they come, and then figures out what order they go in. I Really can’t do that. I have to write mostly from beginning to end, because my scenes build on each other. If I leave something out I decide I need, I can insert it without much of a problem, but during the first draft stuff, I pretty much have to have stuff in the order it happens.

I am also trying to do my first draft on the computer this time. Not really because of the time issue, but because of my vision issues. So I’m doing a LOT of stuff on the computer. I also have a lot of my thinking files on the computer–including a scene list. I put the scenes I’ve already written in red for his POV and in blue for hers, and the ideas for future scenes–if I know I need the scene, it’s in black, and possible scenes are in purple. I’m not very far ahead. I sort of know where I’m going, but my roadmap is REALLY vague.

I also need a new title for Old Spirits. It sounds like booze to the New Yorkers, and isn’t “romancey” enough. (I don’t know what was so “romancey” about New Blood…) So I have to get my brain in gear and figure out a new title. Not my best topic. All suggestions invited. (The Conjurer’s Apprentice?) And I have to do a few revisions on it, ramp up the action early on. I think I know how to do that. (First, cut out all the boring stuff that I didn’t already cut out.)

Last week was a really lazy week. I did take Dolly the granddog to the vet, because she apparently ate something that made her sick. She quit eating and almost quit drinking, and acted like a sick little doggie. She’s all better now, though. Back to her high energy, Gigi-exhausting self.

I am enjoying my new Sony e-reader. Alternating between reading a book on it, and reading one of my backlist TBR books. I have caught up on my RITA books. Finished them off, unless I’m asked to do a second group, and can read stuff just for fun. Or from my TBR Challenge list. I have Sabriel off the shelf, sitting on my desk… Okay. After I finish Kitty and the Dead Man’s Hand, I’ll read that one.

Oh, and I have two articles to write this week, and a list of interview questions to answer. The first article is due Wednesday (I think.) The questions need to be answered before next Tuesday, and the second article is due next Thursday. Need to doublecheck on the newsletter topic.

AND, I need to get a newsletter out to my newsletter subscribers. New Blood is out NEXT WEEK. How did it get to be almost March so fast? Ack!

Okay. Off to work.


Yes, I am DONE with the book. It isn’t finished finished, but I have reached the end of it.

Now it is time to type it all in the computer. (Remember, I’m freakish throwback write-it-in-longhand person.) And then I have to whack out all the excess verbiage. I don’t think there will be quite as much excess as there was in ETERNAL ROSE, but there may be a little more excess than there was in NEW BLOOD. I also have to make sure the story arc is an actual arc, rather than a… well, I’m not sure what geometric form would fit. My characters seem to take two steps forward, then one step back–and that can work, but I need to make sure it does, and isn’t too jerky, and they’re not behaving too jerkishly. Or that they’re dropping their jerkishness (because a black moment tends to involve some of that) too soon. And then, I also need to make sure the action stays high… This one’s more of a murder mystery, so it’s more clue-finding than bad-guy fighting. I’m worried about that action issue…

Anyway, that’s where I am. Literally. Working on the book. So I’m not here.

Whining ensues. If you don’t want to read whining, then just skip this part. I’m only here now because the other community news person is back from going to the inauguration in D.C. I had read in the paper that she was going. (I know, I know, but her office isn’t in the big bullpen-type newsroom, and I have to get up and go walk in there to talk to her, instead of yelling across the room, like I talk to everybody else.) But I forgot, and found out, the day before she was leaving, that she was leaving me this HUGE job–that I’d never done before. And it HAD to be done that next day. Had to.

So I came in to the paper at my regular time (after lunch), all worried about how I was going to get that done, AND my regular stuff, and discovered in the note she left me that she wanted me to come in early the three mornings she was going to be out of town, so I could cover all the other stuff she does. (She did do some of it, but there’s a lot of stuff you can’t do till the day of.) Thing is, if she’d talked to me before she left town, I’d’ve told her that I was on deadline with the book, and I really couldn’t spare a whole lot of time to come in and work. I wound up coming in at 11 a.m. or so, and having lunch at my desk, and still wound up having to stay late, just to get stuff done. Anyway, she’s back now. So I’m not running quite so fast. I’ll get out of here before six today.

End of whining.

In other news, we have a contract on our house in the Panhandle, so we’ll probably have to go up there to clean things out and sign at the end of the month. Which means I have to get the revisions finished, before we go. Or I could revise on the road. Anyway, it’s a good thing, but a… complicating factor.

Okay. I’m going home.

Rain! and Hecticness

It’s been a very dry spring on my island. We just barely missed making the Top 5 Dryest Springs Ever because we had a little stormlet two days before the official first day of summer. Then on the first day of summer, while I was driving back to town from Fort Worth, The Sky Didst Open and The Deluge Didst Pour Forth.

While I was on the highway. And I had to visit the little girls’ room (so to speak). I’d’ve made it all the way home, except everybody slowed way down–because when the Sky Opens here, the Deluge Really Does Pour Forth, and the freeways tend to flood three or four inches deep. And when they flood, people hydroplane and crash into the other cars if they drive too fast. So it’s a good thing that people slow down. But I had to get off the freeway and find a pit stop. Then I had to squeeze my way back amongst the cars driving slowly in the pouring rain, because it didn’t show any signs of slowing. And it didn’t. Rained all the way home. Rained me into the house. Stopped long enough for the fella to bring my stuff in the house without raining on everything. Then it started raining again.

Rained again today. Hard, but not terribly long–though it’s still sorta sprinklish. We have friends in town, from our little Panhandle town, come to the beach. It will be fun to get to see them again, but there’s a lot of cleaning up that has to be done. And grocery shopping. I did already get by the fish market… You know we have to serve boiled fresh shrimp to all our visitors.

This is going to be a VERY hectic week. Besides our visitors, our “bureau” at the paper is short one person, because she got slapped in the hospital before she keeled over, and they need me to put in extra hours, if I can, but there’s a funeral I ought to go to (relative of a relative), and I’m taking Friday to head over to ApolloCon. There’s a couple of other things too, that I may skip out on–or maybe not. Depends on how everything else goes. But I’m tired.

And I’m trying to pull together a partial of Old Spirits to send the editor. I think my chapters look pretty good. But I need to write a synopsis that makes sense. That’s not going to happen this week. Not as crazy as life has gotten just now, but I’m thinking about it. Trying to figure out how to summarize stuff I’ve written, and sort of exactly what will happen in the parts I haven’t written. I think I need to pull a big chunk of courtroom stuff out… of all the courtroom stuff, maybe. It’s very loosey-goosey just now, and I know I’ll need to tighten the heck out of it before it’s done. But for now, I guess I’ll go with it.

Going to read from New Blood at ApolloCon at my reading Friday night. Hope a few people will be there early enough to want to hear it. Have to print it out to be ready to read.

Here I have written this huge long blog post, and I haven’t even mentioned the cool beach stuff. Like, beginning last Friday, when I went out to walk on the beach (sans Dolly), and the fish were WAY in shore. And of course, the pelicans and dolphins (and I even saw a skimmer, which was way cool) were inshore chowing down on them. I love to watch the brown pelicans fishing, because they’re so cool about it. When the fish are thick, the pelicans will fly just ten or 12 feet above the water, and when they see a fish, the feet will drop like webbed landing gear, and BAM! They’ll hit the water. They dive so fast, and there’s always a splash–a big one, given the size of the birds. But it doesn’t faze them–up they pop, maybe float a minute, and off they go, into another take-off to get ready for another dive. They can dive from as high as 50 feet without getting hurt, but given how murky the water often is, I wonder how they can see fish in it. Maybe that’s why they fly lower. But then, I have seen them dive from way high up, so they must be able to spot them. It’s so much fun to watch that drop–Bam! (er, splash?)

Today, I took Dolly back out again. She’s really pretty good, but I think I’m letting her get into some bad habits. I think she figured out how to jump around in the surf while on the leash–she can run in circles and still run and jump. I think she watches for the bigger waves (still not very big, but she’s short) so she can jump them and let them float her a second or two. There were all kinds of dead fish on the shore–some of them really big. I saw one that was a good 2 feet by 1 foot from dorsal to ventral. Big fish. I don’t know if they just got stuck in the shallow water, or what, but… Lots of great big feathers from the pelicans too. Dolly couldn’t figure out how to pick one of those up to carry it with her. There were big washes of broken shells that were still big enough to hurt my tootsies. And more sargasso, but not enough to make blankets. After the sargasso cometh the jellyfishes… Come on, seaweed! Keep coming. Don’t want jellyfishes.

Since Catie has encouraged me to walk to Rivendell, I’m going to do it. I don’t remember how far it is, but I’ve walked 6 miles on the way. According to the Eowyn Challenge, I have made it into Tookland. It’s going to take me a Really Long Time to do this. At least the only thing I have to climb are the rock jetties, every half mile or so…

Words written–who knows? (I’ve typed in 92 pages–but I’ve written lots more than that)–I did write 20 pages last week.

Miles walked to Rivendell: 6

Settling In, Not Down

I don’t think my life will EVER settle down. But I’m trying to settle in to things.

Our mattress is still on the floor, and probably will be for a week–unless the fella decides to put it on the box springs and frame on the one day he’ll be at home this week. I opened 6 boxes this morning, hunting the dryer fabric softener sheets so I wouldn’t have my underwear stuck to my socks. The cable guys came to put in my internet cable (YAY!) but basically re-wired the whole house, and they were here till about 12:50–and the new job starts at 1 p.m. I barely made it.

I typed in about 15 cutlines for “Look what I did” photos–they go in the Applause section, and mostly people mail them in. It was tough remembering all the little codes they want for the titles and this little thing and that, so I kept having to go back and put them in, but it worked. I got them all in. Hopefully, I’ll get the hang of things and be able to catch up on stuff. Still don’t really know how the phones work there, but I doubt I’ll be using them much. And tomorrow, maybe I’ll get to be myself. 😉 I’m still the girl I’m taking over for, because the computer guy has a new grandbaby. I’ll forgive him today, because I know those grandbabies are IMPORTANT!

So. I guess I’d better go finish my judging for this contest. I’m Late! I hate being late. I even worked on these while I was at Mom’s. I got them really late, because somehow, my new addy didn’t get in the system, and the entries went all the way to West Texas, then all the way back to the coast. LOoooooong Way.

Oh yeah. This was the last weekend of Mardi Gras. The island celebrates–and has for at least 80 years–though since it’s a smaller place than New Orleans, it doesn’t get quite as wild. But, after we made the son come down from college to help us move (he brought his girlfriend, too, who was great help!), we took them downtown to watch the big evening parade and have dinner. The place we went to eat wasn’t crowded, (probably because we got tired of waiting for the parade to show up and went on to eat, and everybody else was out in the street begging for beads from the balconies and getting drunk) and was very good. And we caught a good bit of the parade. And beads. I caught a few strands, anyway. This was the Knights of Momus Krewe parade, and we were standing under the Knights of Momus party balcony, so the people on the floats were all focused on throwing beads to their friends on the balcony above us. But I had some very cool dolphin beads, and caught some other neat strands. I had a hurricane. I ate fish. It was a good day all round.

Keep your fingers crossed. There is interest in New Blood. And maybe Old Spirits too. And…whatever the third book in the story might be called… Deep Earth? The third book will be about alchemy and wizardry–non-living magic (water, rock, electricity, etc.), and living, non-human magic (plants & animals). It will have two magics in it. Flowering Earth? Suggestions are welcomed. :)

More progress

It’s a good day. Okay, so I forgot that I was supposed to head over to the Methodist church this afternoon to help Fredie Jo and Ruth and Rhenda and somebody else decorate and set up for Art Club tomorrow, but hey, I got NINE (count ’em, 9!) pages written this morning.

In the same length of time it took me to write four (4) measly pages last week. Yayyy!!! (picture Kermit the frog running in circles waving his skinny green hands in the air, going Yayyyy.)(That’s how I feel.)

Okay, nine pages isn’t so much, when I have ninety pages left to go. But hey, if I can keep it up, in 10 days, I’ll have the book finished. If 90 pages will get the rest of the scenes in. Actually, I’m probably already over my targeted word count. (sigh) But 9 pages is more than I’ve written on a single day in a very long time, and I’m happy.

We’re just about to begin the actual trial. The 9 pages were working us into it, and getting the magic spell started. Now, the trial itself. Can’t wait.

Though, since I have to make a potato casserole tomorrow, and hike myself and the casserole over to the Methodists by 11 a.m., I may start on this after choir tonight. We’re starting some really cool spirituals. With hard alto parts. Fun!

But really, the book is getting totally cool.

The Writing Progresses–Again

Apparently I’ve used that as a title for my blog before. Sometimes that’s all you can say. That the writing progresses. And it really is a very satisfying feeling, when it does.

I like to make scene lists, just note down the various scenes that need to take place, sometimes through the whole book, sometimes in a locale of the book. Then I get to mark off the scenes as I write them. That’s the best feeling, though sometimes, I think–“Okay, I’ve written that scene. Why am I not to the next scene yet?” We will see if that’s stuff that needs to be cut out later. I’m one of those who would rather overwrite and then cut away than have to add.

Anyway, I have written the love scene. In fact, I think I wrote two of them. (looks) Yep. Two. Okay, it took me a long time to get these people to this point, and I guess we all got a little excited. So that’s all done, and now the bad guys have shown up again, and the heroine is getting arrested. We’re on the fast track to the black moment and the end. Yayyyy!!!

Depending on how long it takes me to write the trial, and the kidnapping and the rescue and the grand denouement, I might be able to finish this by Tax Day!!

Smacked in the Head

Getting smacked in the head sounds painful, but it’s not always bad.

This morning, while I was “snoozing,” waiting for the phone to go off again (I hate lunging across the king-sized bed for the alarm on the other side, so I set my phone), I was smacked in the head by The Perfect First Sentence for a new story. And I had to get up and write it down. I wrote for 30 minutes, and got 2 pages. I just love it when that happens. :)

I’ll have to make some notes and figure out further plot and stuff, but the idea’s been churning around in my subconscious for the past 3 months while I’ve been working on finishing New Blood, so it’s not hitting me cold…the hero of the new book is a secondary character in New Blood. So I’ve got him characterized, pretty much. (I originally cast Ralph Fiennes as this character, but he sorta morphed into Johnny Depp–more as he was in The Libertine than as Jack Sparrow…) I’m using the subplot I excised from NB as the main plot of the new hero’s book. I just have to learn exactly who the heroine is, and what sort of magic she’s best suited for. OH, and I came up with what I think is the perfect title. The new hero is a conjurer who works spirit magic, like the heroine in New Blood is a sorceress who works blood magic, so the new title is OLD SPIRITS. Yeah, I guess I’m excited a little bit…

I spent the day selling sausage wraps and breakfast burritos to the 2400 competitors (from 6th through 12th grade) in the judging contest the local community college sponsors. The Friends of the Library went to serve breakfast–and lunch. I ate one of each for my lunch. Yum. I had to get all my marshmallow treats for the sale made yesterday, so I could go with the fella to the estate auction in Amarillo.

The really good stuff was going up under the hammer today, so I didn’t get the cool shamrock teapot or any of the neat things–last night they were just selling the box lots. My job is to say “Oooh, that looks cool, let’s bid on that” and then sit in the chair and read my book and not look like I’m bidding. Last night, I read Her Perfect Life by Vicki Hinze–a FANTABULOUS book, and one of the Rita finalists. I’d already picked it up, and was meaning to read it when the Rita nominations came out, so that just made me read it sooner. Loved it.

We bought a box of copper stuff, and a box of boxes (mostly jewelry boxes, but there was a Silver Jubilee biscuit tin from 1935 and a really weird rawhide earring tree thing, and a cool inlaid mosaic-type box that was the one I really wanted for me), and three boxes of books that had Tarot decks in them. I read Tarot, so I wanted the boxes with the decks. And the one with Hopi legends–there was a lot of New Age-y stuff that will be good for research, and some Santa Fe art catalogs. Oh, and we got a couple of rolling file cabinet things for $10 each. Not bad. No idea where we’ll put the file box things, but… I have stuff to fill them up. And then I got to eat dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. It’s really noisy, but we like the food.

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. :)

Sprung Spring

Spring has exploded in the rolling plains. Winter hung on and on and on–and then all of a sudden, kablooey! It’s spring.

The daffodils came and went so quickly, I missed them, and I’ve already got iris blooming. I mention this, because I finally went out and worked in the front flower bed this afternoon, pulling up those giant thistle things and volunteer elm trees that I missed last year. And I only got one corner of the bed, the one under my office window that has horrible heavy clay dirt that turns rock hard when it dries out, and is overrun with Bermuda grass. (Which I HATE. Hate, Hate, HATE.) And now my shoulders are killing me even more than they were before I went out to pull weeds. And I have the whole rest of the flower bed to pull the thistles and elm trees out of. (sigh)

But the sage is coming back really strong and the iris are putting up lots of buds, and the roses are leafing out nicely (need to replace a rose that died with one of the ones we put in pots–I think the other potted one may die before spring gets too much more advanced…) and the lilies are coming up. Lots of work to do, so I can’t slack off. I’ll be getting different exercise in this week.

I only got 4 pages written today, even though I spent my 3 hours at the work. I ran smack bang into a love scene. I wasn’t ready for it, so I finally quit and went off to think about it. I know what needs to happen, but I need to figure out how to get into it. My characters are always too dad-gum talky. (sigh again) Tomorrow the love scene. I shall prevail!