Category Archives: New Blood

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.

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.

NEW BLOOD is in the bookstores!

Yes, THE BOOK IS OUT! I haven’t seen it in stores yet, but I am reliably told that it is there. AND, it got a really great review at Sarah and Candy’s blog. I’m tickled about that. Y’all should go read it. I think they’ve cut off the sign-up for the book giveaway, but I’m giving a book away at the RWA published author chapter blog: To Be Read–So Many Authors, So Little Time… next week, so if you go by there and comment, you might win a book.

Um–what else is going in my life? Not much. I’m busy revising The Book Formerly Known As Old Spirits, and writing back cover copy for it, and writing articles, and doing blog interviews. (I’d post a link to the interview, but I can’t find it–the wonderful person who interviewed me e-mailed and told me where it was, but now I can’t find her e-mail… Sigh.) I’ve received some other very nice reviews. They’re in my e-mail–and out and about. I’ll put a couple on the website. I’m just hoping lots of people will buy it, and like it.

That’s about it. Went to see the parents last weekend. Have to go back again soonish. To work. (sigh) But I have a friend I haven’t seen in AGES who will be coming by and we’re planning a visit. It will be fun! I also want to get my Waco buddies down for a visit, but don’t know when… Lots of stuff coming up. Not so much going on now.

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.

Dancing in the streets!

Okay, actually, there’s no dancing. Just lying around and reading books and playing videogames. I took a whole day to do absolutely nothing but what I wanted to do. Why, you ask?

Because I FINISHED THE BOOK! (Snoopy dance) Finished it. Cut out all the boring stuff (I hope) and cleaned it up, and sent it off to the agent and editor. It came in at 576 manuscript pages. One page more than New Blood. Just over 135,000 words. New Blood has just under 134,000 words.

Today I played. Even went out and walked along the seawall–but didn’t go down on the beach, because they’ve piled the sand up 4 feet high (or so) and it requires climbing down a cliff to get to the hard-packed sand, and I didn’t want to do that. Maybe if it’s warm enough for my flip-flops tomorrow… The seagulls have their black heads back, so it’s already courting season for them, or will be soon.

And tomorrow, I have to start the next book. Oak and Iron? Maybe I can do a hyphenated adjective to go with the noun of the title… Need something to go with both elements and with plants. Hmm. I also have to figure out the magic processes a little better. Wish me luck.


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.

NYC, Day 2

I’m not awake yet. That’s okay. I’m going to try to blog anyway.

So, yesterday was my visit to the Tor offices. Since we’d gone on a sort-of dry run on the subway past the stop where I needed to get off to visit, I took the subway down, but came up the wrong exit and didn’t know which way to turn from my exit. I’m usually not too directionally challenged, but I have had a hard time here keeping myself oriented. I don’t know if it’s the height of the buildings and being unable to really keep track of the sun, or what, but every time I come out of the hotel, I have to stop and look around and figure out which way is uptown (north) and which way is downtown (south). And then I can get where I’m going. And I always think it’s the other way than what it is–or at least a lot of the time I do.

Anyway, I got turned around when I came up from the subway, and walked the wrong way for about 5 minutes, then turned around and went back. Finally wound up calling Heather. Somewhere in all this, I missed the fact that the building I was looking for was actually the Flatiron building, and wound up walking all the way around it to make sure it was the place I was trying to go. But I made it! And everyone was impressed that I took the subway to get there. :) (Even me!)

I have pictures, and I will post them. Discovered that when I changed batteries in the camera before I left town that I put in an almost dead one. But I have another to put in, so I can take more pictures. Anyway–I visited with Heather a while. We talked to the publicity people and the sales people–they’d just bought an ad for New Blood in RT, which makes me happy. I might get some book excerpt brochures to share around. Just got lots of ARCs to share around, so that makes me happy too.

We went to lunch at an Indian food place, and talked food and traveling. Heather and I have both been to St. Petersburg–the one in Russia. She was there the year after I went. Then we went back to the office, and I got to meet the art guy (he wasn’t there when we went by before) and he had official cover flats. See, they’re doing the title and my name all glossy, and the rest of the cover in matte, which makes the title and the name look Very Cool. It jumps out at you. AND, my name and the outline around the title is actually in a metallic gold, not yellow. And that is Very Cool too. So I got a handful of those too. Sign up for my newsletter. I’ll be giving away some copies of the book soon. When I get home and pick up those boxes of books. (To sign up, send an e-mail to gail @ with Subscribe in the subject line.)

And after all that cool stuff, Heather took me to the lobby, where there were books lining most of the walls, and said “See anything you like? Take whatever you want.” Well, geez…that was like setting a miser loose in Aladdin’s cave, with the genie gone. I tried to limit myself. After all, I only had a small totebag to carry stuff in. And I still had to pack them in carefully to squeeze them all in. And when I got back to the hotel (on the subway), I had to stop off in the lobby and unpack my bag to get to my wallet where the room key was.

But that was just the beginning of the day!

I took a nap. And read about half of one of the books (the hardback, because I’m afraid it will make my suitcase too heavy). And then went with our friends the Kellys to see The 39 Steps, which yes, is based on the old A. Hitchcock movie, but done as a comedy spoof. Lots of fun. Then out to dinner, with cheesecake. Yum.

More fun on tap today. Will post tomorrow–or whenever I get around to it.

Post-Holiday Rush

Last weekend was a holiday weekend. After running like a crazy person all of last week, the weekend arrived and I had a chance to relax. Somewhat. I did a little bit of running to get downtown to the parade, because the fella was going to be in it. It was kind of a short parade, and I forgot to put on sunscreen ahead of time, and the shady places weren’t the best parade-watching places, but it was a nice parade. I saw him glide by in the Mustang convertible, but was too far away to wave. And then we wandered around the Railroad Museum and looked at the model trains and listened to a few of the speeches, and went home again.

The boy’s girlfriend came down for the weekend, which was fun. He’d asked for days off, but he had to go in and report before he could officially get off–though he did every time. And that was nice too. Friday the Fourth, we were very lazy. After the parade, we “rested” until time to go watch the fireworks off the 37th Street jetty. It’s nice that they can shoot fireworks over the water, because it really cuts back on the fire hazard worry. And they were some spectacular fireworks, about a 30 minute show. I enjoyed it a lot. Then we drove home and grilled steaks. Yum.

Saturday, we went to see “Get Smart.” I actually liked it better than the TV show, because Max had some smarts. The fella and the boy had already seen it, but the girlfriend and I hadn’t. So we made them take us. There are still a few movies I want to see. I’m hoping the grandboys haven’t seen Wall-E yet, since they’re coming for the weekend. It would be fun to take them.

This week hasn’t quite been as wild and woolly, but it has been busy. The boy’s vehicle isn’t repaired yet, so we’re having to take each other to work, depending on who has to work longer hours. I got the car today. He gets it tomorrow.

I’m trying to get a synopsis written so I can send a partial off before I go to San Francisco for the RWA National Conference. And once again, I know some things that will happen, but I don’t know exactly how or why they will happen. I’ll figure it out when I get there. I got most of the plot events figured out, right up to the finale, and then Pthfthffftttttpbthpt. Nothing.

I know that the hero and heroine will essentially rescue each other. Or team up to rescue themselves and beat the bad guy. But I have no clue exactly how they’ll do it. I’m not entirely sure just how far their teaming up will go. I don’t want it to happen like it does in New Blood, but … Hmm. Well, usually, if I leave it alone and let things bubble in the swamp where my stories come from, something will bubble up from the primordial goo. And I think the fermentation is already making wine…or something. So that’s where the writing is.

Oh. I walked yesterday. So I’m one more mile towards Rivendell. That makes–um–7? (Yeah, I didn’t walk far. But I walked.)

How is Reality TV like Genre Fiction?

I was scanning the blogs I have come to read semi-regularly, and one of them had a post about Reality Television.

Now, I don’t watch much reality TV. I don’t like the Survivor-type shows, or the Bachelor shows, or the ones where they try to screw up peoples’ lives. I have to admit that I am even enough of a prehistoric antediluvian (if those words don’t mean the same thing), that I don’t watch American Idol.

I do however like a good many of the “fix-up-your house/yard” shows, and will watch Dancing with the Stars with the fella. (He also likes Iron Chef–which I have to admit is sometimes fun.) Still, I’m just not a big reality TV fan. So when I read this post about how writers like Reality TV, I thought “pfffftthh–yeah, right.” I do see how other writers might like it, but frankly, I think Reality TV is far less real than the scripted stuff, because People just Don’t let out their real gut-deep stuff. We hang onto our secrets.

Anyway, one thing said hit me.

The plot takes the viewers on a journey, from the opening credits of the first episode to the closing credits of the finale. The number of episodes and even types of challenges might remain the same from season to season but, couple it with the characters, and the story becomes something a bit different each time.

And suddenly, I had a rebuttal for those who complain about how genre fiction always has such a predictable ending. (Although, it’s usually only romance that gets those kinds of complaints, sometimes one gets them for other sorts of genres.) Reading a romance or a mystery novel is about the Journey and the Characters, not the ending.

Admittedly, the folks who sneer at romance and other commercial fiction also usually sneer at Reality TV–but regular, scripted television shows are the same. Except in that case, you even have the same characters facing the same kinds of challenges. Characters discover a crime. Characters solve a crime. The end. Then again, those folks sneer at pretty much all television. I tell ya, it’s almost like you’re flat not supposed to enjoy anything at all.

These are the same people who get all shocked when you talk about reading something Just For Fun. Who think you must read Edifying Fiction (or strictly non-fiction).

Well, phooey on that. By the time you get out of school (and some of you are taking longer about that than others), life’s too short to spend time reading a book (or watching television) unless you Enjoy it. Don’t think you “ought” to read this or that. If you like it, then read it. If you don’t, then don’t–and don’t apologize to anybody for it.

No wonder there are so few readers left–when so many in the world are sucking all the FUN out of reading!

Okay, I will get off my soapbox now. I’m just frustrated today, I guess, by all the people who seem determined to suck the fun out of–reading, if not life…

No writing this week. I did get all my revisions in the computer for the Old Spirits partial. I printed out the first couple of chapters of New Blood to read at ApolloCon. Never did put that on my website, did I? Sorry.

I’m hoping I won’t have to go look after the parents before Sunday afternoon–Mom had surgery that was more extensive than we expected (still relatively minor), so… I’m pretty sure I’ll have to go up sometime, though, because I’m not sure just how competent Daddy is with the looking-after.

OH. And the boy wrecked his car. Nobody hurt. Something of a slow-mo crash–low speeds. The other person got a ticket, but his car isn’t drivable, and this is the third time it’s had front-end damage. (I don’t think we’re counting the tree that fell on it…) We may have to get a new car. But for right now, we’re dealing with being a 2 car family with 3 drivers. He dropped me off today, and will pick me up, but I’m leaving the island tomorrow, so he and his father will have to deal with car issues then.

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