Category Archives: Old Spirits

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.

Today’s count

Down to 586 pages at 9:04 p.m. CST.

Had Shrimp & Stuff dinners out and took time to watch Jumpers with the boy. Back at work. It’s going to be do-able!

Edited to add: 11:39 p.m. Reached the end. I’m at 581 pages.

The last hundred pages was a lot tighter. It gets that way.

I have two scenes I want to thin out considerably–they’re repetitious, padded, and boring. I’ll do that tomorrow. Then–maybe–do one more read through and ship this puppy off.

Countdown to Deadline

I’ve cut it down by 7 pages. Only 93 more to go. (ACK!!) I’m going to have to cut more stuff out. Lots more. But what???

I’ll figure it out.

I’ve gone through to p. 358, and I’ve put in stuff up through–maybe p. 100? I don’t know how many pages I have on the floor. I worked on it all morning, putting revisions in the computer and shortening things up. Pages that get put in get dropped on the floor. I’ll go back to going through ms. pages tonight.

I’ll save what I’ve done, ’cause I may have to start cutting out huge chunks of stuff I’ve already gone through.

Have to go buy dog food on the way home. Hoping the boy will take the hint and cook supper, but… At least I remembered to go to the bank today. I have $$. :)


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.

Right between the Eyes

Yep, just got smacked. Another year got me.

It has been CRAZY chez moi. A day or two after Dolly’s mega-adventure, her boy came home from college evac. He’ll be back in school on the local campus in the next week or so. A few days after that, he went with me to fetch the parents, since I was NOT letting them drive through Houston. We got to see my baby sister for a little visit, and some nieces and nephews, and then we were off, zipping back through the heinous Houston traffic. (I took the tollway, since I didn’t want to deal with downtown traffic, even during off hours.) And the parental units finally agreed that they really didn’t want to drive through Houston. The traffic was scary and the signs and exits were confusing. Given that Daddy got lost inside my house (!), I think it was the best decision. He has spatial issues and motivational issues. Mama just can’t hang onto events. She couldn’t remember whether she’d made arrangements to have her chairs recovered. (I went with her to do it, so I know it happened.) That sort of thing. (I figure the writing is on my wall, so I plan to enjoy my next 20 years or so…)(A LOT.)

It was good to have them down for a visit, though. The older son came in Christmas evening with his boys and we had Christmas all over again. The grandkids made out like bandits–which is as it should be. The boys had an all-night movie-watching marathon, which got postponed because the electricity went out for about 4 hours. (We had a cold supper that night.) We played our new games and laughed like loons–one of the games we got required writing down things that belonged in sets, like “Things a lady should not do” or “Things you should not say to your mother,” then guessing who wrote what. We had to repeat the things numerous times because Mama had trouble remembering what they were, so we got to doing them in a sort of shorthand. And of course, we decided that “Fart” could be a “thing” on most of the lists–and of course, boys being boys, “Fart” was the answer they gave a great deal of the time. And I got my tang all toungled repeating the answers so many times, and came out with “spart and fit” instead of what it was supposed to be, and made everyone laugh so hard I thought I might fall out of my chair.

You had to be there, I guess…

The little guys had to go home Monday morning, so I took the great grandparents home Monday afternoon. We had such a good visit. And then Tuesday, after I worked really hard on the writing and got lots of good stuff done, I went to the dayjob, and fell apart. The crud hit me so fast and hard, I was falling asleep over the computer, so I took my sore throat and icky feeling home and went to bed. I’m still coughing like I could lose a lung, but the ickiness is gone. The main problem was that the ick hit the brain.

I tried to write…one other day that week. Thursday–New Year’s Day, maybe. And the writing was good, but I had an inspiration during the writing for how the blackness of the moment would resolve itself…and when I finished the writing, I couldn’t remember what my inspiration was to make myself a note. Usually, I can remember, or at least reconstruct, but it was just gone. So I resorted to typing in/revisions for the next several days.

Today, I let myself get back to the writing, and it’s coming nicely. I like what I got today. It flows–and the braindead writing worked too, believe it or not. I have 3.5 more weeks to get this finished, typed and completely revised. Wish me luck. I’m going to make it. Without too much panicking involved…

The next book, however…

Happy New Year to all y’all.

I’ll try to post again this week, maybe about goals…

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…

Lights, tunnels and trains

One party down, two to go. Then things may actually slow down up to Christmas. Maybe. Last night was my local RWA chapter party. Good eats, good company, good fun. I even came home with a new handkerchief and a silver-plated Christmas ornament. A pretty one. We’re having Christmas caroling at our house tonight. Tomorrow night is the Lion’s Club party. That requires another White Elephant gift. Since it’s the fella who’s a Lion and not me, I have placed him in charge of the elephant.

Today, I drafted the boy (okay, I bribed him with lunch out at Shrimp n’ Stuff–I had the 10-shrimp lunch special, and got Twelve shrimps!! Bonus!) to help me cart four boxes down to UPS to get Christmas presents shipped off to various Texas locations plus Pennsylvania. So that’s done. The fella wrapped presents and boxed them to ship while I went to the party. He’s a good guy like that. Then he cleaned up all the wrapping paper. What a guy! I did have to vacuum and clean bathrooms, but he picked everything up. We are now ready for the party tonight. I even made copies of the words to Christmas carols, so hopefully people will sing. I know at least one other person will sing, so I think we’re good.

I need to call the parental units to see what their schedule is and when they might be able to visit, but other than that–and figuring out what to get the man who buys for himself everything he wants–I think we’re done till the holiday arrives. The grandboys will come on Christmas day, so That’s when things will get busy again. I’m at the edge of the tunnel, if not out into the sunlight…

Which brings us to the writing tunnel. I can see the light. The end is there–and I write and write, and it doesn’t seem to get any closer! Days like today do not help, when I write for a couple of hours and realize that the pages don’t take me where I need to go. I can use some of the stuff I wrote, but there are too many people present in the scene. I know what’s wrong and how to fix that part, but I’m not sure how to set up the scene I need to write instead. Ugh. But I don’t have to bake anything or clean anything or shop for anything or mail anything (hmm–may have to mail–we’ll see) the rest of the week, so maybe I can figure it out and Get It Written.

I am coming up with some ideas for the next book, which is helpful, since it’s due in September. But dang, I got to get this one finished! Wish me luck.

Still plugging away

I’m plugging along–at life, as well as the writing. I’m very tired today. Had trouble sleeping last night after my local RWA chapter meeting. (I love getting to see everyone and talk writing at least once a month.) I think I drank too many Cokes with caffeine too late at night. Anyway, after tossing and turning, I got up and read Jeri Smith-Ready’s THE REAWAKENED.

It was one of the two books I got at Borders’ “Buy One Get One Half-Price” coupon thingie (My other book was AN INFAMOUS ARMY by Georgette Heyer. I have broad tastes.) and was really NOT the book to be reading in the middle of the night when one needs to go to sleep. I read the whole thing.

But I still got 3 pages written today. I was going to be happy with two. I got up late, didn’t have much time to get writing in before heading off to work, and just didn’t think I’d get much done. But hey! THREE pages. And I got 5 pages Monday and 6 pages Tuesday. I’ve been having so much trouble getting Anything written, for a while there I was happy to have a mere half-page done. Maybe it’s because I’m able to be a little more consistent with getting to the desk, or maybe…I don’t know. But I am pleased with my progress.

The workshop last night had me thinking a lot about my process. The author presenting the workshop claims to be a “pantser,” someone to whom plotting does not come naturally. But dang, she plots her books WAY more than I do, and–while I Cannot write as a pure “fly into the mist” type, I can’t write down what scenes go in what chapters either. If she is a pure organic writer, she’s probably using this plotting-by-chapter method to keep herself on track, but my books don’t have that much structure that early.

They have structure, but they don’t have chapters. I don’t know where my chapter breaks fall until I put the book into the computer on my 2nd draft. I know my turning points, and I write from one to the next, but if I tried to decide ahead of time what scenes will go into what chapter–I never know just how long a scene is going to be before I write it. It might expand way beyond what I think it will be once I get into it–and then have to be shortened. Or maybe not. I was thinking in an earlier place that I would get some action into the story by having a riot–but something else happened instead. And my heroine had to be rescued. Hmm. The scene I’m working on now will have a riot-ish occurrence–so this would probably be a good place to show her competence, and that she can rescue the hero as well… Okay, good. Thanks for helping me with that.

In other news, there is a brand new stoplight–not a post-hurricane repaired one, but a brand, spanking new one–on my way to work. I haven’t decided yet if I like it. I seldom go through it during rush hour–and yes, we do have one. So the stop sign really worked better for me when I was using it. But everyone else is probably glad of not getting run over by rush hour. 😉 On the rest of the island, we’re still dealing with “sometimes the stoplights work, and sometimes they don’t.” Oh well.

I’m going to draw names for the ARC giveaway for my newsletter subscribers after Thanksgiving. The Texas grandboys, and our boys, will be home for the holiday, so I’m not going to think about promo stuff till then. I’ll try to blog next week. Who knows. Maybe I’ll make it back here before then.


The writing is going better this week. (Knock on wood. I sure don’t want to jinx anything by saying so.)

Yes, I only got 2 pages written yesterday, but I finished a love scene, and those Always take me longer. And today, I got 6.5 pages written. Aftermaths are always easier.

I was limited to 2 pages because I had to take the computer in to the shop. (There is a “spare” in the boy’s room.) All the places on the island that I knew about got flooded, but a Computer Geeks shop on the mainland sounded good, so I carted it in (they even do housecalls, but I wanted to take it in) and left my baby in their hands. They’ve already called me to discuss what the problem probably is, so…maybe I’ll have it back soon. I’m contemplating getting it upgraded. We’ll see how much that will cost me.

And on the way back, I got to drive across the New Side of the Causeway. The southbound lanes are finished and I drove across. It was pouring rain, the wind was blowing really hard, so I was having to concentrate on staying in my lane, rather than looking around. I have a high profile vehicle, so the wind can really catch it and blow me around–and it did. But it was nice to have lots of room, normal width lanes, emergency lanes, and all that. It’s really going to be nice when it’s all done.

Today, we were supposed to have a 70% chance of rain, but all the rain must have fallen yesterday. It’s gorgeous outside…

And I’m driveling. So I’ll stop.