Monthly Archives: October 2006

Thursday Thoughts

Hey. I told you I stunk at titling stuff.

Okay, so. Went down to Waco for Baylor Homecoming last weekend. It was our 30th reunion year, but didn’t see anybody we know except for one guy who was in the journalism department with me who now teaches there and writes mostly non-fiction books. Had a good talk with him and his wife (who went through the same education school program the fella did so they had stuff to talk about).

Went to see the boy, mostly. He still hasn’t gone by to talk to people about changing his major to see if they’ll let him into their department. (GRRR!!) But he’s doing well, not starving…not cleaning up his apartment either, but hey, that’s what college is for. To learn that occasionally you do have to take out the trash and wash the dishes…

We went to the Homecoming Parade Saturday morning–Baylor has the biggest homecoming parade in the nation–and the winning Class A float caught fire just before it got to us. It was one of two “dragon” floats. One (the one that didn’t catch fire) was a “St. George and the Dragon” theme float, (only St. George was in a football helmet and pads, rather than shining armor) and the other was a Chinese dragon with a bear-type face. (For those of you poor souls who don’t know, the Baylor mascot is a bear.) Anyway, both floats had fire for the dragon’s mouth–and the Chinese dragon caught his face on fire. Fortunately, the “float walkers” had fire extinguishers and put it out in a few seconds. Still, it was a rather exciting few seconds. The son thought it was hilarious, since the burning float was built by a “rival” fraternity.

The football game was hot, Hot, HOT. I put on sunscreen and got burnt anyway. It was so bright, I wore–well, a towel, okay? I wore a towel on my head to shade my poor little part (I have sunburnt the part in my hair so many times it isn’t funny) and my eyes so I could see the field. I didn’t get one of the ball caps in the car before going into the stadium. I probably couldn’t have worn it, because I have a giant head–bigger than anyone in the family–but I didn’t even think about it. Hence, the towel-head. We stayed through the whole entire game, even though Baylor was behind by 18 points going in to the 4th quarter–and it was worth it, because about 10 minutes into the quarter, the Bears came roaring back and won the game. Very exciting. (I like football when I have something invested in the game. Or when I’m there in person. I get very loud.)(Hey, I’m a Texan. And I live in a small town.)

Then we came home. I’m going to Austin for the World Fantasy Conference next week, so it’ll probably be a little while before I manage to get here to blog again.

Oh! Got a phone call from the daughter in grad school. (The only daughter I have.) She made all A’s on her mid-terms. (Rather expected, since her brothers’ nickname for her is “Girl Genius”) And the grandboy who lives there actually condescended to speak to me on the telephone. He didn’t say “Hi, GiGi.” He sang “The Itsy Spider” to me. The Spider got washed, but wouldn’t climb back up the spout. He sang to me twice. Once to say hi, and once to say bye. Boy genius, I tell ya. And that spider never did get back up that spout, but boy did it get washed.

Okay, I’ve bored you enough. Giving a shout-out to Lindi! Hey girl–and if you get your bachelor’s, you tend to be less poor (Okay, I’ll give the lectern back to your mom now)…yeah, I need to update the website. I’ll get there.

I finished the synopsis for Devil in a Red Dress so things are moving right along in that area… Later.

What A Difference a Day (or Two) Makes

Well, the next day–the day after I wrote that last blog about being insecure and mistrustimg my own judgment–I sat down at my desk, and the words just flowed. It was a great scene, and had great conflict and emotion and sexual tension and I absolutely loved it. I even went “over quota” on the pages.

And then, the day after that–I got maybe 3 pages written. Okay, some of it was because I went to Amarillo on Tuesday as usual (finished a little painting, painted over another sucky one) and bought books. I bought The new Lois McMaster Bujold (which is FABULOUS) and Robin Owens’ new HEART QUEST and a couple of others (including, finally ANANSI BOYS which had made it to the remainder table and cost the same as a paperback)–and I stayed up reading Heart Quest (also FABULOUS!) till way too late and when I got up Wednesday morning, I was sleepy and the brain wasn’t really perking on all cylinders and I had to head downtown for a Friends of the Library meeting at noon anyway, which meant I needed to stop a little early…Yeah, I know. Excuses, excuses. Still, couldn’t get into the story.

And then today, stayed up too late again–this time getting through Nora Robertses new sorcery/vampire series–but I slept late. So I started late. But didn’t have anywhere to go, any thing I had to do, except make it to the bank before 3:00 p.m.–so I just kept working. And again, the words flowed and the characters spoke to me. I did have to make myself stick with it until I got my 6 pages (think I got a little more, when I reached the end of it) and barely had time to grab some lunch and walk to the bank. Hmm. Now I think about it, the weather’s been about as roller coaster as my writing. The writing has gone better on the pretty days.

I listened to some of the RWA workshops on my iPod while I was out walking, and I think the last couple really helped me focus on what I needed to do with these scenes. Of course, they didn’t come out at all like I thought I had planned–but then that’s my writing style. I plan the overall plot (which I actually haven’t done with this book, except very, very vaguely) and then when I get to the scenes, I line up the characters–whoever needs to be in the scene–tell them “Okay, in this scene, Lilah wants to find out who Will thinks is after her, and Will wants to tell her so there’s no conflict in that, but when she finds out, she doesn’t like what she hears and has to argue with him about it. Ready? Okay–Go!” And I turn them loose and watch what happens and write it down as fast as I can. And it went in a few directions I did not expect. So I’m both a plotter, and a pantser. I know what the scenes are supposed to be about–but I have no idea how that stuff is going to happen. Which is why I can’t write out of order.

Anyway, I think I’ve gotten my 24 pages for this week. (I hope.) Not writing tomorrow. Heading south to go visit the son at university and go to the Homecoming football game and hang out. Then I’ll have a few more days at home and it’s off to Austin for some Texas community college board association meeting thing, and then the World fantasy conference at the end of the week. Guess which one’s going to be more fun?

I’ll blog next week, but probably won’t while I’m out of town…


The bad thing about a publishing fiasco like mine is that it can undermine a writer’s confidence until there’s nothing left but a big sucking sound. I know the decisions made were because of numbers and the “bad” numbers were due to unrealistic expectations…but still, when I sat down to write this morning, I found myself second guessing every word I wrote. Is it good? Is it good enough? Is it emotional enough? Too emotional? Exciting? Too talky? Not talky enough? The questions keep coming, bombarding me until I just want to go GAAACK! and bang my head on the desk.

And here I am working up workshops for RWA National conference again next year. Two of them, this time. Like I think I know what I’m doing.

Maybe I’ll just bang my head on the desk, anyway. I’m not quitting mind. I’m just not sure if what I’m plugging away at will be any good. (Yeah, I know. Typical writer…)

Did get 6 more pages done today. I need to find out how to do those little thermometer-esque things, something that will fill up with every page written…

Down in the Flatlands again

It’s not that flat in this part of Texas–we’re in the “Rolling Plains–but it’s a lot flatter than the Rocky Mountains, so yeah. I’m home in the flatlands again.

I had a great time getting the fella to drive me up even higher in the mountains so I could take pictures of bright golden-orange aspens and reflective lakes and rushing Chalk Creek, and Cottonwood Creek–missed the creek that goes with Cripple Creek somehow–but got a bunch of pictures of the Arkansas River too. Over 300 pictures, actually. I ought to print a few of them out and take them to art class with me. Did you know there is still a HUGE gold mine operating in the Cripple Creek gold field (actually, it’s closer to Victor, but it’s all considered part of the same gold field…)? I didn’t know that, till we drove past it.

We went swimming in a hot springs pool–swimming pool-sized, but hot as a really hot hot tub–on the one day it didn’t cloud up and rain in the afternoon. The fella went fishing some while I was taking all those pictures–didn’t catch any fish. He’s not the most patient fisherman in the world, but his philosophy is–if you don’t catch anything in the first half hour, standing out there in the cold in the same spot won’t get you any more fish…

I listened to a lot of RWA workshops on my iPod (I have very little music on the thing.) and thought about writing, but did almost none of it. Did a lot of crossword puzzles. It was nice having the time off.

This week, I’m trying to get back into the work, and have to pick up food and get ready for a dinner party for all the college administrators on Thursday night. Ack! (It’s a small college–still, dinner for 14 is nothing to sneeze at.)

But I did a bunch of Tarot readings for the characters for Devil in a Red Dress–some of them didn’t make sense, but I can figure that out later–and printed out the chapters for Thunder so I can really get into revising them. Next I need to do some more character work for Devil, and do that revision stuff–but that’s for the rest of the week. (Hmm–maybe I ought to shorten the “devil” book to “Red Dress”, in case I write some more books with devils in them…)

Thanks to all y’all for your comments. I appreciate them muchly.

Shadows Fade

Yeah, I suck at titles, but I’ve been trying to think up a new title for the WWII book, and have been waxing poetic…I’m leaning toward Thunder in a Cloudless Sky for the book…

Anyway, the blues do go away, especially with Hershey’s dark chocolate kisses, and with the application of the mind to the Next Thing.

The next thing for me, right now, is a trip to the mountains, leaving tomorrow. I have the iPod plugged in, charging it up so I can listen to all the RWA workshops I didn’t get to go to in Atlanta. I need to get the battery out of my camera and charge it up, and load the extra camera memory card. I plan to take lots and lots of pictures of aspens and fall foliage in the Rockies, and hope that the fella will stop along the highway when I want to take pictures. I have to figure out what food to take, because we’re staying in a “cabin” (it will sleep around 25 or 26–but the upstairs is closed up now) with a kitchen.

I’m taking the books–the ones I’m writing–though I don’t know how much writing I will get done. The fella is the sort who tends to need to be entertained. He’s not very good at doing nothing, even when he’s on vacation. He likes to go to the pool (there’s a hot springs nearby, but we don’t know if it will be open out-of-season as it is) or hiking to the top of the mountain, or to museums or… we’ll take cards and dominoes and maybe the Trivial Pursuit game. He’ll take his Sudoku book (if I have to pack it in my bag) and another book or two–I may take Thermopylae, the history book I bought for research recently, for him. (Of course, I’m taking a big fat bag full of books for me to read–but I read faster than he does.)

He hasn’t taken any time off from work at all this year–and he gets three weeks, plus all the time the college is closed down. I have basically told him “You will go on vacation.” He can hike to the top of the mountain if he wants, but otherwise, he’s vacating, if I have to sit on him. I’ll tie him up and toss him in the back of the car with the luggage. But I think he’s looking forward to it. I’ll charge him with taking pictures for me. (Like I don’t already have enough pictures to paint–but one can never have too many…)

And when I get back, I’m digging in… to something. Probably to getting Thunder ready to send out, and on Devil in a Red Dress. I’m going to be doing the pre-writing in the mountains. I think I can do that while we’re up there…should be fun. See you in a week, +/- a day or two (since you already know I’m not the steadiest blogger around…)