Monthly Archives: July 2009

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…

Ahhh, the beach–

I have now been to the beach twice. It was fabulous. The first day, the water was a little cool, but still nice. Saturday, it was Perfect for this weenie, no-going-in-the-water-unless-it’s-over-90 sissy swimmer. Not quite bathwater warm, but darn close.

I really love the Gulf because the waves aren’t strong and splashy. I can get out past the surf without much trouble at all and just let the water rock me, and that’s what I truly enjoy. When the water’s warm and the waves are easy, I’ve found my bliss.

The wind’s been really strong from the south, pushing currents right up along the beach–Gulf water, especially in Texas, tends to be kind of gold–well, okay, brown–because of all the Mississippi sediment, changing to green water, then blue water at various distances. This past week, the green stripe has been really wide, with a very noticeable, distinctive color change not far past the end of the jetties. Which is where the shrimp boats have been trawling, and the seagulls, terns and pelicans fishing. It’s really cool to see brown pelicans fly maybe 6 feet over your head, going out to catch fish…

So, yeah, the grandboys were visiting. It was great getting to see them and go play with them. We went to see the Cirque du Soleil “Saltimbanco!” show on Thursday night for the older one’s 8th birthday (He had his birthday at our house last year, too). It was a great show–I really loved the sound-effects mime clown, and the tumblers, and the–well, just all of it, except the two-on-a-trapeze act scared the pee-wadding out of me. But they were great too. After, we went to Chuy’s to eat, because we only had a birthday cake snack beforehand, and I had Elvis Green Chile Fried Chicken. Yum!

I also was trying to get the book untracked. I did get my plot sorted and have been re-writing the opening and tweaking some of the stuff I already had written to make it fit. It’s all in the computer now, and I think I have around 70 pages, which is pretty good. Now I get to start from scratch and write madly. I’m ready for the “Debate” scene, where they debate about what the heroine wants to do.

I am taking a “sabbatical” from the dayjob for August so I can really focus and get this book written–except my parents, sisters (and brother at least part of the time) and their families, plus my daughter and her son, will be coming down for a week or more smack in the middle of it.

I foresee more Taco Cabana time. Yeah, I spent a couple of mornings over there last week. The boys all went fishing or golfing the other two mornings… We ate angel fish one night, because they caught them on their boat fishing expedition, the gray-and-black striped kind. They’re pretty good eating…

Pictures. My goal is to download pictures this week and post some, one day.

Back from Washington

I went to the Romance Writers of America national conference last week and got home last night at midnight or so. It was a great time, but man, am I tired now. Of course, the tiredness is mostly because I walked to the National Zoo from the hotel, and all through the zoo, and back to the hotel again, and my calves are knotted up like a macrame plant hanger. The rest of my legs are just sore.

I will try to get pictures downloaded this week and posted. The grandboys (and their daddy) have come to visit for the week, and their dad is sleeping in my office, but I bet I can get some pictures onto the blog. I have pictures of the panda bears and an orangutan crossing the zoo on the special “O-line” cable, and a wolf, and a few other animals. Do not let me forget the pictures!

I took many more pictures at the zoo than at the conference–I kept forgetting to get the camera out–but I do have a few. It was a good conference. I sold about 12 copies of New Blood at the literacy signing–more than half of those donated. The big news about that was that they were all sold to people I don’t know. It’s easy to sell books to your friends, but not so much to strangers. A number were made curious by the steampunk label, so that was all good.

Had my first “OMG, you’re Gail Dayton!” moment, complete with a hug like we were long lost sisters. That was fabulous. And my “fangirl” was a librarian with the Portland-area King County library system. Who did a little “favorite library story” podcast thing with me. I left her card at home, so I’ll have to get back to you with the link.

Got to see the cover to Heart’s Blood, WHICH WILL BE RELEASED IN JANUARY, instead of February as I had thought. I will get it up here and on the website asap. It is gorgeous, and I can’t wait for y’all to see it.

I moderated two workshops, and volunteered at another where the moderator didn’t show and the speaker had transparencies to put on an overhead projector. I swapped out the pages. I went to a number of interesting workshops, but of course, I can’t remember which ones they were at the moment. Several of them helped me figure out why I am struggling so much with this book–the 3rd in the steampunk series–though the biggest thing I just figured out last night/this morning. Which is:

I am once more trying to cram two books’ worth of plot into one book. So I will have to pull all the extra stuff out and focus on the correct main plot. This ought to help tremendously in the “get the &#@$!%*! book written” department. I am now re-doing all my plot points and such. Trying to get it sorted out. I may do this “Save the Cat” style. Yes, I finally found the book.

So–I’ll do my best to get pictures and such downloaded and posted asap. Again, nag me, if I don’t.

Wild Weeks

So, last week I went to Fort Worth with the fella, to his conference. I hadn’t been able to go in a while, so it was nice to see some people I haven’t seen since the last time I went. I ate really well. We stayed at the Worthington Hotel which is in Sundance Square. It’s been a while since I spent much time in downtown Fort Worth, but it is a really nice place. Lots of good places to eat (I didn’t make it to all of them, though I did go to Razzoo’s twice…), a Barnes & Noble within 3 blocks, and a movie theater next door. Not a whole lot of other shopping, but I really didn’t care.

It was blisteringly hot–topped 100F/37+C every day–but without the island’s 900% humidity, it wasn’t actually too terribly bad. Okay, yeah, it was bad, but not THAT bad. At least, not for a person who’s used to being a little bit sweaty all the time. Somebody from Minnesota, or Idaho–yeah, they might’ve died a little. I went out to the bookstore twice in one hot afternoon. Went to the movie one day. Took a nap. Read books. Oh, and I wrote. I wrote and wrote till I ran out of ideas. I got quite a bit done–except I think I’m going to have to scrap some of it, because my heroes are getting answers handed to them on a platter. They need to work a little harder at it. But I made progress.

This week is Romance Writers of America conference. (I’m working at a newspaper. They make me spell everything out the first time, every time.) I discovered this morning that I booked my return flight on the wrong day, and it’s costing me some bucks to change it. (sigh) Oh well. I am flying out at way-too-early o’clock Wednesday. We got home Saturday night. I have time to wash clothes, pack again, (change my flight reservation) and leave again. And try to make sure everything’s together at the paper for me to be out most of another week. Oh, and the day I come back–the older son and his boys will be here for a week. I WILL get to the beach to swim while they’re here. I will. By hook or by crook.

Of course, the rest of the time, I’ll probably be at Taco Cabana writing. (I don’t really like coffee, and Starbucks doesn’t have enough space, anyway.) Wish me luck.

Holiday weekend

It was Independence Day over the weekend. And it was hot as blazes on the island. As usual, the actual temperature wasn’t much over 90F (32C), but the sun and the humidity made it FEEL much, much, much hotter. The fact that it hasn’t rained in more than a month (and doesn’t look to rain today, despite the storms predicted by The Weather Channel), does not help

And I still haven’t made it into the water. I really wanted to go swimming sometime last week/weekend, and every time I wanted to go, everybody else had something else going, and I didn’t want to go by myself. I believe in the buddy system. Swimming in the Gulf of Mexico really isn’t a solo activity, even if there is a lifeguard on the beach… I am just going to have to twist somebody’s arm and GO.

I didn’t go to the 4th of July parade downtown. It was too hot, and I didn’t want to go downtown an hour and a half early, and nobody else in the house got up. Which didn’t really hurt my feelings. (‘Cause it was hot.)

But we did go to the fireworks. We headed down toward 39th Street about 45 minutes ahead of time, because they shoot them off out the 37th Street jetty. (It’s paved along the top, so they could drive the Budget Rent-a-truck out onto the rocks.) There was a really strong onshore wind (isn’t that what you call a wind that blows from the water onto the land?), whipping up the sand everywhere, so we had to hunt a little while to find a place where we could actually keep our eyes open and not have sand in them. The kids on the beach below the seawall digging in the sand like puppy dogs did not help, but it wasn’t too bad, once we moved upwind from the sand ramp down to the beach. And shortly after it got dark, the fireworks started. It was a good show–lasted about 30 minutes. I’m not sure if it was longer or shorter than last year, because I don’t remember how long last year’s show lasted. But there were plenty of great big sparkly, splashy, flashy fireworks. It was fun.

I am hoping to have a chance in the rest of the week to plunge deep into the deadline cave and get a bunch of this book written. The fella and I are leaving the boy behind to hold down the fort and keep the dog in the yard to go to a conference of his. I plan to spend my time in Fort Worth writing. And maybe going to some fun stuff. I’m not sure what’s playing in Bass Hall. We talked about going–but I don’t remember if we ever did anything about it. Wish me luck. I have GOT to get some writing done!!

Blogging Here, Blogging There, Gail is Blogging…elsewhere

I am definitely not blogging everywhere, but I did blog in two different places this week. Which has sort of left me all blogged out. However, you can Read my blogs from those other places and know what I’m doing.

On Tuesday, I blogged at the To Be Read blog of the published authors chapter of RWA, all about my weekend spent at ApolloCon. So if you’re more interested in my day-to-day life (which admittedly is not that interesting), go read that one.

Today, Wednesday, I have a blog up at the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal chapter’s blog, all about steampunk and what it is. And of course, a blatant promo job of the NEW BLOOD book…

More blogging? Here? Let me catch my breath, ‘kay? I’m going to be busy the next couple of weeks. I need to catch up and try to get ahead… Oh, and I have my page proofs to go over, as well. I have plenty of time, but there’s so much ELSE to be done! Ack!!