Sunday, July 30, 2006

Lots of work done

This is a picture of tonight's sunset. That's not clouds in the air, it's just haze from the horrid humidity. We haven't seen clouds in quite a while, though they say we may have storms on Wednesday.

There's one thing to be said about this damned heat wave -- I don't want to go anywhere else, so I appear to be getting more work done, at least as long as it doesn't get too hot in the house. Once the heat gets too high here, I'm pretty much useless.

I wrote over 3000 words today, edited a short story, did a critique for my very first writing partner from years and years and years ago, and worked on some cover art. I posted new pictures to the zoo site (only about 40 to go, so I hope to have them done over the next two days), and got some work done for DTF.

I must remember to post the 2YN class stuff tomorrow and write up more material for the August challenges and such at FM.

You know, if I could make $5 a day working on the stuff at FM, I'd make enough to justify the time I put into it. Not that I really have to justify anything, but at times like these when you're looking for income anywhere, a person starts thinking odd things like that. LOL.

Russ has a second job interview on Monday. It's only for a three month project, but it would be a real help right now. They seem enthusiastic. And it's in Omaha, so that's not bad, either. Think good thoughts.

And there is my news for the day. Touched by the Wild is still not done, so no blog yet. I'm beginning to wonder if I'll get to it at all, but -- of course -- I'm not giving up on the story. It's doing well enough, but I'm going to have to start looking at other work again soon. Now that I'm getting past that horrid round of bad mood and terrible stuff happening, I think I can move on to more serious work again. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 28, 2006

I hate this weather

It's hot. It's humid. There is no rain in sight, and I can't think or breathe or concentrate on anything.

It's 85f in the house and the humidity in here is about 45%. It is, of course, worse outside. I've had to take medications to help me breathe for the last couple days and they're playing havoc with my conentration. I haven't been getting a lot of writing done at all. I hate that when I had been doing so well for a while.

I went with Russ today when he drove about 60 miles to a job interview. That helped because the car AC works better than the house one. I didn't even mind sitting in the parking lot for an hour, the windows open and the car shut off, because there was a breeze.

But back here at the house... ack.

And poor Russ isn't feeling well.

I don't think any of us are particularly happy tonight, including the cats. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You can if you try

Sometimes my cats just amuse me. I left the box out for the little kittens to play in -- they love climbing into and under things, and I thought they'd enjoy this one. They did.But then Kwi took it over. Kwi loves boxes and sacks. I didn't think he could get into this one -- he's a big cat -- but not only did he get in, he also turned around in it, and batted the kittens away every time they tried for the opening, too.Silly cat.I looked at this picture and thought of it as a parable about doing things you don't think you can do... but my mood is more inclined to write about things you don't want to do.

I am a lousy housekeeper. So bad, that back when Russ had a good job we had someone come in every two weeks to clean. Heaven! Part of my battle with housework is plain old laziness, and another part is a back problem that makes some work -- like cleaning floors -- very painful. Anything that requires pressure or lifting something too heavy is a problem. I use that problem as an excuse rather than do a little at a time, and the work piles up.

So, I'm back to doing a little at a time. My method, which works as long as I stick with it, is to pick up something or clean up something in every room when I enter it. Little things here, little things there -- it gradually adds up, and then I'm left with cleaning the floors. I can do them a little at time, which is sometimes annoying because by the time I get a big part done, I have to start over -- but I get there eventually. (And yes, the back problem is a big reason why I work from home and don't have a regular job.)

I'll get everything cleaned up soon -- I just don't want to do it.

Life isn't filled with only what we want to do. There are parts of my working world that I love and others that drive me nuts. I enjoy DTF, but I hate reading the submissions. It has nothing to do with being good or bad material, and all with the act of sitting down, making notes as I read, and getting it done. I swear when we open back up for submissions I'm going to apply my 'pick something up' method to it and not let the material amass into huge piles again.

I love having Vision done, but it has been a problem. This one is mental. I know I owe money to people -- and with any luck everyone will be getting a check next week, since it looks like the state of Iowa paid us a huge amount of money for some work Russ did for them. Once I get everyone paid, I'll feel better about Vision again.

The one thing I do remind myself is that there are far worse things that I could be doing. I'm lucky. Despite going through some bad problems here while Russ tries to find a job, we're still holding on pretty well. Yeah, I'm out of blood pressure meds again and we're trying to figure out how to juggle the current small amount of money and keep utilities on... but we can see the top of the hill. Today three different companies called Russ for job interviews. He talked to the IRS, with whom we have been fighting for years, and they agree that they probably owe us a lot of back tax returns they've been holding. The state of Iowa says they cut the check -- is it actually in the mail? Who knows. It's already six weeks later than they first told us, so we're kind of waiting to see.

I have a possibility of doing cover art for another publisher. I'm working on my first piece and we'll see if she likes it. Do I need another job? No, not really. But it does pay, and that's important.

We've weathered this long, bad year with a lot of 'but I don't want to do it' problems that still got done. Sometimes you just have to be grateful for the work you can get, and both Russ and I have taken on freelance jobs we really didn't want at the time -- but we did them, did them well, and moved on.

And in the end, I am grateful for even the work that drives me nuts -- because I know I'm lucky. There are far worse jobs. I've done office work and factory work, and my favorite out-of-home job, running a bookstore for several years. None of it compares to the many facets of writing that I am involved in. Yeah, I would love to just write all the time instead of some of the other stuff -- but the other material has rewards as well. People like FM, Vision -- and one of the DTF books is up for an award. (Sara Reinke's Book of Days -- you can find it here:

So now I'm down to two practices which are helping me in life. One is my 'Writing Comes First' Campaign in the newest Vision ( and the other is the 'Pick Something Up' work in the house. The first keeps me happy and the second... Well, that keeps me happy, too. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 24, 2006

Bryce-rendered ship

I really like the way this one turned out. It's my first attempt with the ship model I bought today. I decided I needed something to improve my mood, and it worked wonderfully, even if it did cause a few problems while I leapt between Daz and Bryce programs to get it wher I wanted it.

But I'm happy for a very first render of this type.

I also wrote nearly 3000 words today and I'm into the last section of Touched by the Wild. I'm still not certain if I'm going to put it up on a blog or not, but I have identified a few problems that I'll work on correcting.

The outline for Sudden Storm is going very well, too. I have an insight into one of the characters that's going to make him fun to write. I have one more minor character to work out, and then some material for the final scenes and how it will go. Being close to finished with Touched by the Wild gives me hope that I might start Sudden Storm in August.

Other than all of that -- things are going well enough. It was hot today, but I hid in the house and didn't pay it much attention! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 22, 2006

That's better

It's not even 6 pm and I've already written 4000 words for the day, uploaded some new pics to the zoo blog, and worked on some Daz art. I've also finally moved my printer out here from the office, much to the amazement of the kittens who aren't used to things moving in this house.

I don't know what else I'm going to get done tonight. I plan to add some more pictures to the blog and do more writing, but knowing me, I'll wander off and do something else instead. It's that kind of day -- and I don't mind at all. I'm happy with a 4k day!

I also have figured out one more link to the Sudden Storm novel. Links and hints, and little bits and pieces of things... damn, I love writing sometimes. Well, actually, I love writing all the time. But I'm especially happy when a story makes those kinds of connections that just make you grin. I told Russ about one of the scenes and he thought it sounded pretty amusing, too.

Ah, what fun.

Anyway, I better go add that bit to the outline. Yay!

(Yes, much better mood. I got tired of the other one.) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Today was one of the hottest days I remember in this area. Miserable weather, and it didn't get much better after the sun went down. It's finally dropped down to around 80 for both heat and heat index, and it's not supposed to be as warm tomorrow. We might even have rain on Friday.

I'm not really a hot weather person. I like spring, autumn and winter. I love summer storms. I don't like summer heat. So I pretty much hid out in the house today and fought my way through about 2000 words to reach the half million mark for the year so far. I should be happy about it, but... it's been an odd writing year. Nearly all of those words are in rewritten-from-scratch older stories, which makes the amount of imagination used really kind of lacking.

However, Russ and I have been discussing a new book I'm going to write and some of it is finally coming together. I'm even getting those scenes that come to me at odd times -- a real sign that this one is finally becoming a true story for me. Right now it's called Sudden Storm, based on the opening incident -- but I need to find something better, I think.

Anyway, I'm still working away on Touched by the Wild, though my feelings towards it keep bouncing around a great deal. I'm at about 40k and I think it's only going to be about 60 to 70k long. But... not right. Something is just not right.

We'll see. It might be that I'm just hot and miserable and nothing is right just now! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Wednesday already?

Well, I've done all right so far with my plan to write this week. Monday I did about 2000 words and yesterday I did over 4000. I haven't started today because of a headache, but I'll get there soon.

We're having hot weather again, so the guys and I are held up in the house, shades pulled and lights off. We had a power outage again last night, but things seem to be fine today. I think they were maybe fixing something late at night so that today -- with the heat index already at 105 -- there might be fewer problems.

I will go write soon. Only a couple thousand words, I think, and then I'll do some Daz stuff and just relax for the day. The last couple days of not fretting over things (though the 'things' are still out there, of course) has helped. I need to do this more often. Should I set it up as a once a month vacation? That might be fun!

Oh, and that's Zaphod on my rocking chair from when I was a kid. Pretty cute, huh? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Staying Cool

That's Edmond curled up in the sink. He was pretty happy there, too, even with the water dripping on him. Of course, it got pretty hot here today and the one little AC unit wasn't cooling much of the house. But we survived.

I am really, seriously, honestly considering taking Monday through Friday and doing nothing but write, read and play with Daz stuff. In other words, no work. I won't do it -- something always pops up and I end up doing it anyway... but it sure sounds like it would be fun! Let's see how far I can get!

Personally, I'm betting I don't make it through the first day. But hey, it's a goal!

So off I go to consider how I'll enjoy this time. (grin) Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 14, 2006

Doing a little better

Really. I've gotten my writing done a couple days in a row without much trouble. I've caught up on the zoo pics (like the one to the left -- is that cute or what?) and I only have to resize and copy them over into the right spot to upload.

I have not done the PDF of Vision yet, but I'll get it this weekend. I decided not to drive myself nuts over this stuff -- for a few days, at least.

I have a wonderful email about the new novel. Nice to get those notes and one of the great parts of being epublished -- almost instant contact with readers. it's nice to hear when someone likes a book!

I'm tired tonight, despite a nice nap earlier. Hate that. I need to get to work on the book so I have a few pages done before I go to bed. That's been very helpful. Then I think I'll take the HP Pocket Comp to bed with me and do some notes on the new book before I go to sleep. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, July 13, 2006


Archeology and business don't mix....
Leander Consantinos had his life ripped apart when he went to prison for a series of murders he didn't commit. Now, free again -- but with his wife remarried and his son renamed -- he has no choice but to rebuild his life on the ruins of the other. After taking a job at a museum in New Mexico, Lee is caught up in a new drama as a local landowner fights to hold on to his land and protect the archeology sites it harbors, while an unscrupulous land developer does everything in his power to get what he wants.

Lee is willing to take up the fight. After all, he has nothing left to lose.

Available here

Yes, the latest book is out!

And I did the cover art, too. I really like this one. I did the work in Bryce, and it turned out very nicely.

I hope the book does well. I think it's a great story.

Today I sorted through the last of my zoo pictures. Over the weekend I'll make the final cut, resize things for blog use and upload them. Then I'll start dropping them into the blog. It's going pretty well, really. But I'm going to have to go take more trips to the zoo and get more pictures. (grin)

That's about it for the day. I'm going to do some writing since I'll be out of the house for a good part of tomorrow. Should be a nice ride, at least!
 Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Working away

I've spent most of today fixing problems with various sites, getting the back issues updated for Vision, and I'm about to attack the PDF version. I hope it won't be much trouble for a change.

I've been following my own advise in my Vision Article on doing the writing first... but in my own odd way. I've started writing for the day after midnight so that I start out when I wake up with a few hundred words. It's helped. I don't feel quite as much pressure about not doing what I really want to do in order to make time for the work.

I still need to get more writing done, of course, but at least there's 500 words there already today.

Touched by the Wild is not going as well as I hoped. I think this section just needs an entire rethink I'm even having doubts that this is the novel I want to put up on a blog. We'll see. It's not like I don't have plenty of others to share, and I'd rather do one that I feel good about. I liked the way this one started, but it's gotten lost and I'm not sure I want to work that hard to fix it, especially since I have so many other projects that I really want to get done. We'll see. It might just be my state of mind at the moment.

But there it is... my work for the day. I need to get back to it. PDF of Vision next. After that... we'll see! Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Funnel cloud

We had to run out to the store for kitten food about 5:30 this afternoon, and this is what I spotted while sitting in the car. Actually, this is the second one -- it came up just after Russ got back.

This is a funnel cloud, not a tornado. It never made it to the ground, and it was neater than hell to watch, but hard to get a clear picture because of all the humidity and dusty in the air from the winds.

We didn't even get any rain out of the storm, though they did get stuff to the east of us -- the direction of this storm from home.

My little slinky jaguar kitten (Edmond) is in my lap while I type tonight. He's in a real 'love you' mood tonight -- hold on. This isn't Edmond. It's Zaphod. Well, that explains it! Zaphod is a teddy bear in cat fur.

I did a good amount of zoo picture work today and now it's time to get back to work on all the writing projects.

Now I have Edmond in my lap, too. I don't know how I'm supposed to work like this. They're such distractions! Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I went to the zoo!

These are three douroucouli, a South American night monkey. They make me laugh every time I see them. They always look like they're smiling.

It was a good day at the zoo. It didn't get is hot as I feared, and though I had a couple 'bad moments' when I felt weak and ill, I was able to sit them out and go on.

And, for once, the zoo seemed to be filled with mostly polite people. I was only kicked by one kid today who was swinging on some bars by stairs while his mother talked away with a friend, oblivious. Sometimes parents amaze me. And sometimes I wonder how their kids survive.

I'm considering doing a short writing day tomorrow and and maybe again on Sunday and getting the rest of my zoo pictures in order and posted at the blog. It sounds like fun -- once I'm awake enough to handle it.

I think I can post a few pictures tonight, at least! I might go do that now and then go off to bed. Posted by Picasa

Friday, July 07, 2006

Going to the zoo

Unless something drastic happens in the next five hours, I'll be heading to the zoo. I'm looking forward to it, of course. I need a break, and though it's going to be hot (around 90f), I think I can stand it.

I did some writing work today -- most of it in notes on nonfiction work I need to write -- and I'm glad to see things moving forward. I'm editing Ruins, and it's going very well. I thought I had it done, but the ending went on for too long, and I've cut about 4,000 words out of that part.

Othewise it's been quiet around here today. I kind of hope that I can keep things calm for a few days. Kwi seems a bit better, too.

Okay, off to bed to try and get a few hours sleep before we take off tomorrow. I hope I have fun. I hope I remember to collect all the batteries I have charging in various places right now, too! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th

It's finally quieted down here a bit. Not nearly as noisy as it was last year, but still quite a bit of the stuff. Great for taking a few pictures, but the smoke is pretty thick, and the noise has been a bit much. The cats don't appreciate it, of course. I don't mind so much once a year -- but they've been doing some of this for days now, and I'll be glad to have it all over with.

Today is also Lady Jane Pudge'ums and Princess Cricket's 14th birthday. Everyone got a little bit of fish for a treat. The babies had never had such a thing, and they behaved quite well. I still have all my fingers, at least.

And that's about it for the day. I'm tired out -- had a horrid time sleeping last night and I hope to do better today.

Kwi has a cold. At 16, and the way everything else has been going, it worries me. I think he'll be going to see our very kind vet on Thursday.

Right now, though -- rest time, I think. Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 03, 2006

Good bye to Gracie

We had to have the dog put to sleep this afternoon. It was not an easy decision because, while she'd looked bad this morning, by this afternoon she was up and moving around again, and pretty happy.

But she wouldn't eat and her constant panting had started to get a slight whistle sound to it. And her inability to stand this morning clued us that things were going bad quickly -- although that turned out to be a slightly different problem.

Rather than let her go to where she would be miserable, we said good-bye this afternoon.

So, no, it' s still not a good day. I thought 2006 was going to be better than 2005, but so far I've not seen an improvement. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, July 02, 2006

There, that's better

After a dismal June total (my worse in years), I have redeemed myself with a 4000 word first day in July. And I edited 50 pages of a novel. The 4k words are divided between several projects, but that's okay.

I am not going to start Touched by the Wild as a blog for a few more weeks. I've gotten slowed down on it -- so much so, that I think there's a plot problem, and I want it all corrected before I go on. In fact, posting touched might just wait until I'm done with the book.

I am still not feeling great, but I'm doing my best to ignore it. I'm sleeping far more than normal, and that's all right. The naps in the middle of the day seem to be helping me stay calm. I've gotten tired of all the stress, and I think I can handle most of that problem myself with just a bit of good sense. Things will get better.

And now it's 2:30 am and I think I'm ready for more sleep and to start over tomorrow.

Oh, cute turtles, huh? I am just reading about turtles in the GALE books right now, and I thought it a good picture to pull up. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, July 01, 2006

July will be better

I am determined that it will be a better month. Yes, I know Gracie isn't going to survive the month, but I've come to terms with that part. It's not easy, but it is inevitable.

Last month was the worst writing month I've had since April, 2000. I'm determined that won't happen again. I like writing. Writing is what I'm supposed to be doing -- not all this other stuff that looks like writing, but really isn't. I am caught up on DTF. I'm going to be caught up on Vision in a day or so. I have been working on the outline to a new book, and I think I finally found the missing piece, so that's going to be fun.

I am holding off on Touched by the Wild until I get farther into the story. I don't want to have only a few weeks work to post and then find myself in the same situation as I was with the first 2YN classes -- and sometimes with Vision -- where I am driving myself crazy trying to get something ready to go up. So I think I might not start until August.

I am going to be doing more Daz work again. I like doing the pictures, and it's relaxing. I need relaxing.

This is the new, relaxed-Zette attitude (for a few days at least). I have three nonfiction book projects right now -- I'm not certain how that happened. I have two unfinished fiction outlines, one novel (Touched by the Wild) and one Novella. That should keep me busy for a while. Posted by Picasa

Maybe July will be better

I just figured up my numbers for June and found out I had the worse writing month I've had since April, 2000. Not a surprise.

Vision is not up and might not be for a day or two. We're working on it.

I have not yet started the work on the novel blog, either. I hope to do that tomorrow after I've slept for a while.

The good part of June was the 2YN book and sales. That has helped. I've started work on the second book, and I think it isn't going to be as much trouble as I thought it would be. I'm glad and relieved. It will be my major July project, with Touched by the Wild as the 'fun' stuff. Between the two of them I think I'll get my numbers back up. I have to write and rewrite nearly all the second 2YN book, so it's going to be a lot of work.

But I'll get there.

Beyond that, I think I want to make a nice clean break with June and hope for better next month. Posted by Picasa