Category Archives: fantasy

Heart’s Blood – It has a Cover!!

Okay, so I did promise the magnificence that is the cover to Heart’s Blood, the second book in my steampunk blood magic universe. It truly is beautimous.

Look! There are little mechanical spiders with red eyes down in the lower left hand corner. There is Big Ben. There are moody clouds. There is even the villain lurking behind the title. And there is a quote from the wonderful Nalini Singh (who is one of my favoritest people now, besides writing really great books).

Admittedly, I think the hero looks a tad young, even though they’ve olded him up a bit. And okay, I have to admit that I visualized him–well, actually, I started off visualizing him as oh, this guy– but he didn’t stay that way.

Partway through New Blood, (the first book, remember?) Grey Carteret, the hero of Heart’s Blood, morphed into Johnny Depp, as seen in the movie From Hell. It wasn’t my idea. It was totally Grey’s.

But hey, it totally worked. For some reason, especially when the characters are the ones who decide how they look, they acquire personalities and do a lot of dictating of the story. I didn’t have to make up Grey’s banter. He just spouted it off for me to take down…

And yes, I know exactly what Harry Tomlinson looks like, and he is providing his dialogue and the rest of it for book 3–but I’m not telling you who plays his part, because– Well, just because…

So, if you want, you can paste the one face over the other face, or if you like the one on the cover better, you can imagine that one, or whatever suits your fancy. I just thought I’d let you know a little bit about the weird way I work. (Yes, it is true, I have never grown up. I still have imaginary friends. Scientists have done a study of novelists and other writers of fiction, and shown that we (authors) relate to our characters in an identical fashion to how children relate to their imaginary friends.) Sometimes I cast my characters. Sometimes they cast themselves, and there’s nothing I can do about it… In my head, in Grey’s behavior, Mr. Depp plays the part of Grey Carteret…


I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it here before, but I usually don’t get writer’s block. I’m not going to say I never get it, because sure as shooting, I’ll come down with a raging case next blink of my eyes, but I can’t remember having a lot of trouble writing, except once when I got into a knock-down drag-out argument with my hero who refused to do something until I pointed out to him the situation, and he finally admitted that he probably would do what I wanted him to do–but he’d be real upset with himself the next day.

There you go–I’m queen of the run-on sentence. Anyway, like I said, I don’t usually just come to a complete and grinding halt and find myself unable to write another word. I get the stupids. That’s where every word that flows out of the pen is just … stupid. The narrative is stupid. The dialog is stupid, the characters are Stupid and everything is just Stupid, STUPID, STUPID! However, this week–okay, today–it’s been rough going. I kept having to stop to figure stuff out.

It wasn’t so much that I had to stop for research, though I did need to be sure that people have to go before a magistrate to have a bail set, and that solicitors are the ones who accompany someone for bail, in England. But I could have fudged that. Left gaps till I had time to do more thorough research. (Besides, I have a source in the newsroom–Ian the Brit answers all kinds of questions willingly for me.)(And I’m going to have to break down and get a historical map of London. Sigh.)

Where I really ran into problems was when I realized I didn’t know exactly how the magic worked that I was using. I hadn’t thought things through, and I needed to. I needed to know how magicians interacted with the spirits they call, and what the morality of the magic was. That stuff was important. And I figured out that conjury was as inherently moral as sorcery, in my universe. I even had to understand the rules for heaven and hell.

I still don’t know everything about how this magic works. I need to look up some of the stuff I figured out for the previous book, but took out of the pages. I can’t find it in notes or deleted materials–I may not have typed it into the computer. In which case, I KNOW it’s in the first draft tucked away in its 3-ring binder…somewhere. I don’t think I’ve moved the binders yet. In which case, they’ll get moved down here in the next couple of weeks, when we move all our furniture to the island. But it might be here…

Anyway, it’s frustrating when I have to stop and work out stuff I really should have worked out earlier–but I sorta thought I already had. I mean, I wrote a whole book set in this universe. It just didn’t occur to me that I’d be writing about a different kind of magic in more detail than I had in the previous book. And honestly, even if I had worked out stuff about conjury ahead of time, I would still be discovering things about it as I write. I never know all the secrets till I get there. Sometimes, I do make them up. But sometimes, they just sort of…come.

All kinds of things bubble up out of that swamp, and I never know what it will be next.

Manticores have made a recent appearance…

Oh! AND, I have ridden my new red Schwinn bicycle all the way to 39th Street today!! That is 53rd Street to 39th Street, plus the two blocks from the subdivision–and back again. Farther than I’ve been able to take myself before. My knees may whine for the next few days, but I got past 45th Street, which means I rode more than 2 miles.

Adventures in Parent-land

I’m still tired. Went to help unpack the parents. Totally forgot sticky notes, but the sister had them at her house, so my niece made them out for the cabinets.

We worked like mules trying to get boxes unpacked and things put away, at least in the kitchen, trying to get the living room usable and the beds put together so we’d have a place to sleep. The sister and I worked. Mama was having chest pains. (She does that when she gets overworked.) The sister-in-law came over and worked too. She was the driving force to get the living room organized.

The house will be good for them, but it needs more work than I realized. For instance, the master bath was demolished for remodeling, only the remodeling never got done. So the master bath has no walls, no shower stall to go with the shower head, no floor… You get the idea. The other bath works, but it’s pretty worn. Then they had sewer trouble the day after I left to go home. And I’m worried about them being able to coordinate things and remembering to get it done. It really needs to be done as soon as possible.

My brother-in-law is disabled, so he’s home most of the time, and if the pain’s not too bad, he can make phone calls and help them out some. He was there organizing–we had to watch him like a hawk to make sure he didn’t try to move anything, though.

Downsizing will be a struggle for them–and we’ll be working on some downsizing too, I think, in the next few weeks.

Finished my character interviews this morning, so I’ll probably get back into the writing (I hope) tomorrow. This is for Old Spirits. Got to get rolling on that.

Weather’s kind of iffy to go out to the seawall today–lots of wind, clouds. Maybe even rain–can’t tell through the windows at the newsroom. Maybe just fog or mist. We’ll see how it is thirty minutes from now. I do think it’s far enough into spring that it’s safe to put all the houseplants outside if I put them under the covered porch where the wind can’t get them. I just hope the salt fog can’t get to them either. It gets to the cars every so often…

Oh! The house has azaleas outside the breakfast room window. I’ve always loved azaleas, but have never lived anywhere they would grow. I’m going to find my clippers and go out and cut some. Maybe a rose, too, if one of them looks good.

Thinking about titles

Comment from AG:

COLD IRON makes me think about faeries. cold iron is supposed to be one of the things that can really really hurt them, I guess kinda like vampires and garlic, only it hurts the good guys instead of keeping the bad guys away.

It’s only really in that context that I’ve seen “cold iron” instead of just “iron.”

Yeah. Which gives it a fantasy sound–and then you read it and there’s a twist… Maybe.

The first book is blood magic, hence NEW BLOOD, because 1. there’s a new sorceress, so she’s “new blood” in the magicians council, and 2. blood magic has been essentially lost for 300 years, so it’s new. I like that title. (Dunno if it will fly with editors.)

The second book, I want to call OLD SPIRITS, because the hero is a conjurer, so it looks at a different type of magic used in this universe (though in terms of how it mixes with blood magic). And the older a spirit the conjurer can conjure, the more powerful it is and the more magic can be worked. So I think OLD SPIRITS works for that one.

The third book, will have an alchemist, who works magic with physical elements and forces (water, metal, earth, electricity, etc.), and a wizard, who works herbal magic. I have NO clue what to call that one, which is why I thought COLD IRON might work, because there IS magic worked with iron. But there are no faeries.

Fantasy/paranormal books with “blood” in the title generally are assumed to be vampire books. This one isn’t. Not a vampire in sight. So, in that way, the cold iron reference would be a similar twist. The titles I came up with that had something referring to the wizardry sounded squishy. Iron Flowers? Deep Earth? Rooted Deep? The adjective-noun pattern doesn’t necessarily have to be followed, but it would be nice if I could…

Sometimes the titles just come (like SPIRITS–Floated up with the opening line and scene…). Sometimes I have to wrestle with them. A lot.

Mini beach report: The seagulls are growing in the black feathers on their heads. No more smudgy-white headed seagulls. They’re going back to black. Mating season is at hand.

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. :)

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?

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. :)

Insecurity Strikes

Thought I’d open with a view of “the seawall as it was”–how I remember it from when I was little, all rocks and no beach (the bit in the foreground’s been brought in). This is to the west from where I usually go down to walk. I walk to the east, cause there’s no beach this way…

So anyway, I pulled out this old story I’m wanting to re-write, and revised the opening pages, and I’m still not sure they flow. Or rather, I feel like they open too slowly. I do want to open with this particular scene, but it’s a slow scene, a slow build, and I’m struck with insecurity that I’m doing it right, or that it’s a story worth telling, or… anyway.

I stopped and have been doing characterizaton work. Because my heroine is a completely different person (except for her name, appearance and backstory), with a new personality, and I had to stop and think about a few things about her. What her personality is. Whether she likes change or hates it. Is she adventurous? (She is.) So I did a lot of that today and yesterday. And now I’m working on the hero’s character stuff. I know him a lot better than I do her. And I’m still not sure that the opening works. I hope it does, but… Maybe I will e-mail my pages in for the Chocolate critiques my new RWA chapter is doing next month. And my pages for the critiques at the retreat I’m going to next weekend…

Tonight is the first Big Fancy Shindig in our new town. Because of the fella’s job heading up the local junior college, we get invited to all sorts of dinners, fundraisers and other community stuff. But I have to tell you that the events here are of a whole other magnitude than where we moved from. You do not need a tux to go to the Saint’s Roost Chuckwagon Cook-Off or the cancer society barbecue out at the Bar H. The Prevent Blindness Gala in our new town does. There are lots of people with lots of money on the island, plus the population–the Panhandle town had right at 2000 people. The island town has 60,000. What is that, you math people? a 300% increase? More, probably, right? Anyway, this calls for some serious primping.

The fella went out and bought a tux. He decided the beaded stuff I already had wasn’t fancy enough, so we went out and bought me 4 more dresses. (Two are formals, two are cocktail length.) Plus shoes and underwear (yeah, the dresses need special underwear) (which cost more than the shoes, which totally freaked the fella out, because underwear aren’t supposed to cost more than shoes)–and I still didn’t spend as much as he did for the tuxedo. So I get to buy another dress later. 😀 I’ll try to remember to make him take a picture tonight so I can share. It is a gorgeous dress, and fancy shoes, and all. We’ll be classy. I want a nap, but if I go lie down, I’ll mess up my hair, so I’m posting my blog instead.

Beach report: Mostly swept clean, but still lots of big rocks near the fishing pier. Not big as in boulders–those are always there, but big as in lots bigger than the shell scruff that was there last week. Saw a little bit of the sargasso-type stuff, but mostly the big seaweed. Some of the big stuff was new–still green. Just seagulls, except for one little pipit (or whatever the little bitty sandpiper-like birds are–I really need to get my bird book moved down here). No cormorants or egrets.

See those pink shells? That’s what I picked up off the beach after Humberto. Cool, huh? Pink! I think they’re some kind of barnacle… (There are two of them–the two in the back left? Those are separate from the big chunk. I put them in the back to sorta prop the other ones up…)

The tide was really high when I got out there today, though it was on its way out. It had been higher, almost all the way up to the seawall, undercutting some of the dunes. Haven’t downloaded that picture yet.