Thursday, August 31, 2006

Doing well

I'm just over 24,000 words today. I have Vision stuff to get done -- but it's a short issue, so that's fine. I've noticed that this issue is often short of articles, and I think it's the end-of-summer and back-to-school combination that makes it harder for people to write articles.

It's the last day of the month. Amazing. I wish I had a little more time here, but it's always like that, isn't it? I need to get Vision put together tonight. I have most of the material in hand now.

I have also just brought the huge laser printer from my office to the dining room. I think the cable is over at Russ's, so I'll need to get it, and probably down load a driver before it can work -- but I need to do some heavy-duty printing, and the ink jet won't stand up to that much work without costing a fortune in ink.

And that's it for today. Summer Storm is moving along quite nicely. My main character has just learned that he's not going crazy -- which makes the current situation much, much worse. (grin) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Summer Storm

I wrote over 10,000 on day one. But today I'm just over 1,000. Russ leaves for New York tomorrow, and we were not in the least bit prepared. Today was grocery shopping, vet visit, Taco Bell, and just general insanity. I might do better after he's gone, but it's hard to say.

I still have a few hours to the day, of course. And I should get a couple thousand more written.

But I also have Vision to get finished in the next couple days. There have been some things that slowed this issue up more than usual, but I think it's all coming together finally! I just have to take the time to put it into place now.

Bad timing for a challenge of this type. Remind me not to do this again. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Summer Storm -- Counting Down the Minutes

I've got less than an hour to go now. I did this quick 'fake cover' for the story, just for the fun of it. The guy looks too young, but it was fun to do anway. I don't have time to mess with him any more today. Maybe I'll do something better after the marathon.

My plan is to get in maybe two or three really good days of writing and then get back to work on other stuff. A few 5k days would be really nice again. I'm going to start with a couple thousand after midnight tonight -- providing I don't get too tired.

Oh, and the book used to be Sudden Storm, but now it's Summer Storm because I kept callilng it that -- and because the main character's name is Summerfield. So it fit. Sometimes you have to go with your feelings on it.

I'm tired. I don't want to be tired.

If I can get through the first couple scenes, I'll be really happy. Then I can sleep and hit it again tomorrow. I just want to have a nice start.

Only a few more minutes to go! Posted by Picasa

Hmmmm... wouldn't post. Thankfully, it was still here, though. I'll try to post again in a couple minutes.

Saturday, August 26, 2006


On Monday, we start Labor of Love/Unfinished Business. I have definitely trying to get things done so that I can take part. I think I'll go ahead and do the first day, no matter what. Maybe even two or three days, if all goes well. After that, it's all up in the air because I still have Vision to do. I've got part of it done, but it always takes more than I think.

I am doing Sudden Storm for sure. I've been working on the outline again, fleshing it out and filling in the blanks. I'm into the 'end' section of the story, and slowed up a bit, but I think that it'll go pretty well. I'm looking forward to it. Right now I have 72 entries in my outline. I don't think I'll have trouble getting as many as 90 written since I'm still a ways from the end -- but I also don't have a lot of time to do it in. I had the story points all written out, but I hadn't divided them into chapters and scenes, which is how I work -- so that's why I'm redoing the outline. Anyway, if I can get it to 90 entries, than each one doesn't have to be more than 1000 words and I'll have a good, long novel. I like working this way. It makes writing each of those little steps far easier than if I wrote less detailed outlines and had to do (say) 3,000 words for each of 30 entries. The smaller the bite, the easier it is to write. I've also found that the more of the story I have in place, the easier it is for me to add in details.

I have other things I really need to get done as well, and I'm not getting very far on anything. Ugh. I almost feel like I need a break from everything right now, just to clear my head and get a clean start. De Soto Wildlife Refuge would be nice. Ashfall would be nice. I think I'll settle for a trip to the store to buy food. (grin) Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A little more work done

I'm finally making some headway on the DTF material. I hope it keeps moving forward like this. I don't think it can, though, since I have Labor of Love coming up in a few days.

And I am going to take part in it. I don't care if I have to let other things fall by the side for a few days. I have a novel to write. I have several to write, and I want to get at it!

My current novel of choice for LOL is Sudden Storm. I'm really fired up about writing it, too! I have finally named one last character I have 39 sections plotted out. Don't have it divided into scenes or chapters, though, which is very rare for me. I may have to look at some new divisions in the outline before I start the book.

Like I have time for doing something like that, right? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Too many projects, too little time....

It's only a few days until Labor of Love -- a 3 day or 1 week writing challenge at FM, depending on how you approach it. We used to do just three days, but it was unfair to a lot of the members who couldn't take part on those particular three days. I've expanded it out to a week, and you can take the full week (like a somewhat sane person) or you can choose three days. The point is to write something new.

There is also Unfinished Business, which is the same week, and offers the choice to finish up something still hanging around the files instead.

I am going to try to do Labor of Love (LOL -- seems appropriate, somehow). I have a lovely new outline called The Servant Girl... but I may do Sudden Storm instead.

But... I have other things. Vision, of course. Getting it done and ready to go. The stuff for next month at FM. I have a couple pieces of work for DTF, though neither of them should be too difficult. Just time consuming, and I have no time.

I have one more thing I'm doing -- something that's fun for me, and I would like to get some time to approach it and do it right. The University of Michigan would like to use a good many of my zoo pictures on their Animal Diversity Website. I volunteered for this since I use their site a great deal. I have to get the pictures into a certain format and off to them, along with an Excel sheet of information on each pic. I can't wait to do this, but everything else keeps getting in the way!

At the moment, all my own writing has turned to outlines. I'm working on the Mirrors2 outline, and it's finally moving forward! I want to do . I have one nonfiction project all but done, just waiting for a piece to add in. I think I want to work up the outlilne for my abandoned 2YN novel. Yes, I abandoned it very early on when I realized (big surprise) that I just didn't have time.

I have more notes on it somewhere. I wonder if I can find them again.

Like I need to find something more to do... Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The new and the old

Those lines in the old 'N' key are made by the way I hit the key with my fingernail. I popped the key off when I changed keyboards to see how long it will take before the knew keyboard is that way.

Just thought I'd add that in before I go off to other work again..... Posted by Picasa

Outline almost done

By some miracle, the outline for The Servant Girl is nearly done. I have about fourteen chapters and close to sixty entries, plus a bunch of notes on people and places.

This despite a couple days of a horrendous headache -- but it's eased, finally. My keyboard tried to give me problems, but Russ had another one -- and a Natural Keyboard at that! -- so I'm working with it. I hadn't realized how much I had worn out the other one until I started working on this one. Wow. What a difference! This is great!

(It's amazing the things that can please a person, isn't it?)

Tomorrow Russ starts his new part time job -- teaching math nine hours a week at a community college. It's about sixty miles north of us, and the job is only four months -- but it should get us out of trouble for a while. Russ is excited about it. He loves teaching and he loves math, so it's a great combination for him!

I am getting some material ready to be mail off in submissions. They'll go out on Tuesday, I think.

I really like this keyboard.

Time to get some work done! Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 18, 2006

I need a new list

I've gotten to the point where I need a list to work through of all the projects that I need to get done. Some of them are getting out of hand, and every week seems to bring something new.

And it doesn't help when, for no reason I can really name, I pull out a novel and decide to start editing it. Granted, it's going very quickly -- but it was not something I needed to get done right now!

I am almost done with another of the small nonfiction projects, though. I would be done, in fact, if I hadn't gotten to the end and realized that I had messed up the font formatting. This meant going back through the entire work to make certain the pages lined up properly again.

And look at this. The damn Internet is down again tonight. Just in the last couple minutes again, too. This is starting to be a nightly problem, and I wish they would either get it fixed, or send out a warning that it's going to keep happening.

Good news today -- Russ is going to teach math at a community college for the next four months. That's three hours, three days a week. The pay is not great, but it will be enough to keep the house payment up (though balanced against what it will cost in gas -- since the town is about 60 miles north of here -- it isn't quite that good. But still....)

Ah, there -- we're back again. I'm going to put this up, even though I seem to have lost track of what I was going to say. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Yes, I went to the zoo

That was yesterday. I could probably go back tomorrow -- Russ has another class to teach -- but I think I'm going to skip, hard as it is for me. I had a great time. Got a few lovely pictures, like this tiny ruby throated hummingbird. The picture at the left is at least twice as big as the actual bird. And I mean that about the small version of the picture, not the click and see it larger one.

I love my camera.

I'm outlining a new novel and having a good time at it. I tihnk I'll write this one for Labor of Love at FM...though Sudden Storm is still out there, ready to go as well. I just think I don't want to do it quite this soon. I have the feeling I'm still missing something there. We'll see. I'll do it when I'm ready.

People still ask me how I manage to come up with new ideas all the time. It's not a gift -- it's something you have to learn to do and accept when it happens. If you don't want to write as often as I do, that's one thing. But if you want new ideas, and you want to enjoy writing, then you have to accept that it is fun. I know it's an odd thing to say, but over and over again I see people taking the joy out of their writing. It's the old problem that all artists face when confronted by the expectations of our society: If it's fun it can't be work, and if it isn't work, it can't be important.

So people, trying to live up to some stupid cultural expectation, make writing into something they don't enjoy so that it's acceptable.

I work very hard at my writing. I also love it, enjoy it, work at improving it, and accept that it is imperfect.

And the more I write, the more I learn.

And the more fun it is.

I am working on a final edit of Paid in Gold and Blood. I'm glad I let it sit for a while. This is one of the better books I've written in a while. I'm so happy with it that I love this last editing part. I'm about 40 pages into it, and I think I can get it done pretty fast. Yay!

I have 345 pictures in my Access file now. Not a huge number, but I do at least ten a day. The problem is days like yesterday. I did ten -- but I took 294 pictures at the zoo, which pretty much negates everything I've already put in. Eeek!

I'm still, obviously, adding in the pictures from 1998. This is going to be a long project, but it's reaquainting me with some of my early work. I look forward to seeing some of the trips we've taken since then.

And now....back to writing! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Well, that's better....

First, this is a black and white version of a Daz picture I did over the last few days. You can see the original here. I really liked this red-filtered black and white, though, so I thought I'd share it as well.

We have the car back. Everyone is convinced it's right this time. We had to drive out of town this afternoon, and it worked fine. Tomorrow Russ teaches in Omaha, and I'm going to dare fate and go to the zoo.


So that's it for me tonight. I need to go take a shower and be all ready in the morning.

This is best I've felt in over a month, so I'm going to take advantage of it. Probably not wise -- I'll probably be miserable by the time I get home tomorrow. I don't care. I'm going to do it anway. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

Without car

Yes, it's back in the shop. Since it's now apparent that the belt was not the problem -- it shredded part of another one -- they're looking it over again.

This should be faster. They're actually in town this time -- the last time they were on vacation.

In the meantime, I'm kind of floating along here trying to get focused. I finished the draft of Touched by the Wild last night. For some reason, I haven't been able to focus on anything since then. I need to start an outline today since I joined the outline marathon, and I even have a story I want to do... but for some reason it's not coming together....

Or maybe it is. Maybe I've just been looking at the wrong point to start the story. I think I'll start the outline earlier, and maybe use that stuff for backstory if I don't like that point to begin it.

Yes, that' s much better. I need the early part worked out anyway, because much of what happenes later depends on it.

I guess it's time to open SuperNoteCard and get to work.

It's a good thing I can so easily entertain myself. Makes being stuck at home again not so bad.

I should talk to myself more often. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 13, 2006



Ummmm... that's the sound one makes in utter and complete frustration when the car that was just fixed starts making odd noises in the morning and has a breakdown that night.

The good news is that it didn't do this when we took a 12o mile trip on Friday to see about a job for Russ. We were in town, we were able to get the car home, and though it made sounds similar to when it broke down on the Interstate, it was not the serpentine belt this time. We don't know what it was... but it's sitting in the driveway and Russ will talk to our nice repair people tomorrow.

But... argh. I want a break now.

Oh, and Russ hurt his leg and can barely walk. He looks miserable, poor guy.

I finished the current draft of Touched by the Wild. I have a bunch of notes that I want to add in.

But right now... just trying not to think about being annoyed is hard enough. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 12, 2006

With Egrets

I swear I'm going to do a picture book with that title someday. (grin)

I should be in bed. I have a chest cold, I'm bouncing between too cold and far too hot, and besides -- I'm tired.

But I just got one of my nonfiction projects done, so I'm feeling pretty good. I didn't think I'd get it done tonight. I still have to go over it again, and there's one more small piece that needs done, and a tiny bit of formatting -- but it will go off in email no later than Sunday, and I should be done with it.


Only three, or maybe four, more nonfiction projects left.


I signed up for the outline marathon next week at FM. I have a story I want to get laid out, and I'd like to do it quickly, and this looks like a good time to do it.

That's if I still have a brain by the time I get that far. Right now, with this cold, I'm not going to guarantee it! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 10, 2006


I think I'm going to need all the help I can get, so having Zaphod here to help me type is a good idea, right?

I've decided to take part in the Paperback Writer Challenge because -- well, come on, this is the sort of thing I love. I don't know that I'm going to write something new, though. I might.

It won't be Touched by the Wild, though I will be done with it soon. I'm just not happy with the story over all, and I know some of the things I need to do to fix it... but I don't know if I want to take that time right now. I might need a little distance on it.

Part of the problem may be this horrible chest cold I have right now, made worse by an incredible amount of humidity. I've been ignorning it, then dealing with drugs that make me sleep for most of the day and make my brain go wonky. Writing is... a challenge. Even changing cat litter is a challenge, and my husband stepped in to help.

I have about three chapters left to do on Touched by the Wild, so I'll at least have this draft done soon. I've started making notes at the top of the manuscript to tell me things I want to change when I do a rewrite. As busy as I am... Don't know when I'll get to it. It depends on how much work it really looks like when I get that far.

I do have two other projects in the nonfiction stuff that are nearly done, though, so that's good.

And I have Zaphod to help, right? Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Day 5....

This is day 5 without a car. We're managing well enough in the short run, but it's cost a lot more than just the repairs. I think Russ is going to cancel the class he should teach tomorrow in Omaha. He already had to cancel the trip to New York to do work there -- and that was the second time he had to do that, but they've rescheduled for the Labor Day Weekend. Potential income is better than none at all.

Both the Forward Motion and my accounts are due. I have about half of it on hand. If one person pays me for some work I did, I will be able to cover them both without a problem.

I'm stressed, of course, and that never helps me. I've had one bad stress-related problem that made any kind of work miserable for the last few days, but I'm finally settling back down and reminding myself that things could be worse.

I spent a good amount of yesterday working on a blurb for Farstep Station which should be out in October. Yay! I am so looking forward to that one!

I am nearly done with Touched by the Wild, though I see some major changes I need to do before I'm really, really done. But it's been a good book to work on because it is already plotted -- and not a bad story, either, though it has a couple holes that need shored up.

I also completed a cover for another publisher and I'm waiting on word about it. We'll see how that goes!

Oh! And a major change to the photo catalogue collection. Russ showed me how Microsoft Office Picture Manager can take groups of pictures and make them into thumbnails. This makes a huge difference in what I've been trying to do -- and also allows me to use Access to input the data and afterwards manipulate it into whatever structure I want for printing. It took me half a day to get the Access database the way I wanted it, with some drop down lists and stuff, but now that I have it, entering the data will be much easier. I'm back up to about 200 pictures in the collection, and I expect to be able to do at least 100 a night without much trouble. As long as I keep the number of pictures I take per day less than the number I enter, I should eventually get caught up. Yes, it will be years.... Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Weekend Projects

I have been trying to come up with projects that will allow me to step away from writing for a few hours and let my brain rest and play with ideas without forcing them. I have other projects -- The big one, of course, is pictures. And when I can, I love to go off and do pictures. I should go take some right now, in fact.

But one of the huge things that has driven me nuts over the years is the inability to find older pictures -- like anything more than a month ago. I have tried all kinds of picture sorting programs, but the problem is that I have too many pictures. I could not possibly get them all on one computer. So I end up doing sets, sorting them, putting them on disks -- but then I have to go through disk after disk trying to find stuff.

I decided the only way I could keep an easy way to find things would be on paper. I began thinking notecard size -- but then I realized I don't need much in info, so I could do it on business card size.

And this is a screen save of how it's working. I'm actually pretty pleased! Yes, it will take me years to get everything added in, but it's such a simple process that I think I can keep up with it.

I started with the pictures from my first digital camera, the Sony FD7, because I have the least number of pictures from this camera and they're all on one disk. There are only 2638 of them, and some of them aren't going to make it to the cards. (I've already taken 6810 pictures with the new camera, by the way, which I've only had since February.) The old FD7 was a less than 1 megapixel camera, so the pictures are quite small. I rarely look at them -- but there is some fun stuff here, like the house before we remodeled and cats who are no longer with us.

The great thing about this is that I can really do the cards of the pictures in any order I want. All I have to do is number the disk they come from and store those disks in sequential order somewhere so I can find the pictures later. If I skip from disk-to-disk, I'll have to be certain to put a slip of paper in saying which pictures on a disk are already done -- but again, no real problem there. I'll only do pictures off of disks -- nothing still on the hard drive since I wouldn't be able to tag it for a final destination. Eventually I'll even scan the print and slide stuff.

I can print off the pages at any time, and just save the original pages in sets and copy them off to disks without filling the computer up with every single picture. I'll likely buy some cheap thick paper instead of buying the actual business card stock, and cut them up myself. Though I think I have some business cards around here, and I'll probably start with them. I can print them in black and white if I want, but I think I'll go ahead and just do a draft color printing instead -- just enough to let me know what the picture really looks like.

When I have the cards done they'll be put in boxes by the top tag on the card, and then sorted by the second tag. (Cats/Zelda, Things/Computer, People/Russ, etc)

How many pictures do I have? I'm betting over 100,000. So far I've gotten 43 cards done. (grin)

See, this is the kind of thing I do because I think it's fun (yeah, I'm crazy) and because it's not hard work and keeps my mind off of other things -- like broken cars, lack of money, sick cats, etc. And it also allows my mind to wander though things like thinking about the new novel and coming up with bits and pieces to add in.

So, not much writing so far today, but a nice relaxing time.

As long as I keep the kittens off the keyboard. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 04, 2006

A Muse Giveaway!

Anders Bruce is giving away a copy of Muse at this site:

Go and check it out!

I am working on putting together the workshops Holly and I have done for Vision. It's turning into an interesting collection of about 55,000 words. Lots of interesting things in there!

In other news, check out my second entry from yesterday if you missed it:

And that's about it for me right now. I'm going to throw myself into this Vision Workshop thing, and see if I can get it done in a coupel days. Most of it is just formating, after all. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Okay, we can use a break now....

Russ had to go to Omaha today to fill out a few more papers for a three month tech job. I went along -- not to go to the zoo this time, but to take a look at a couple spots in Omaha that I want to use in a story. It worked out well, especially since the one area I had thought of using was not the area I thought it was. Good to have that worked out!

We talked story and I'm all fired up about it now! I can't wait to start Sudden Storm.

On the way home we passed by a spot that had dozens of egrets in a nearly dried out pond. Russ went to the next exit and went back so I could get some pictures. Yay!

And half a hour later I heard an odd noise. Russ thought we drove over something. Then we heard it again, and a couple minutes later the car was way over-heated. We pull off.

The new belt he'd had put on yesterday in Omaha had shreded. Russ called the place and had words with them, especially since he'd talked to them about this, explaining that it had to be good because he's on the road so much. By the time he got done -- for all the good that did him -- the car had cooled down (even if he hadn't -- and it takes a lot to get Russ worked up!). We were about twenty miles from home on the Interestate. Not where we wanted to be at all. We knew there was a turn off to a town about a mile further on, so we drove that far and lucked out, because the guy at the little shop there was able to look. He even had a fan belt.

And that would have been great if the other belt had taken out several other things with it. There was nothing the guy could have done until at least Monday and probably longer.

So... we get back into the car and drive a bit farther on the Interstate and make it to a rest stop just 15 miles from home. Russ can't reach the tow company. He calls the guy he's supposed to teach class to tonight to cancel -- and he comes down and gets us.

Russ is now out with the tow truck picking up the car and getting it to our garage here in town, but even they said it would be days before they could do anything.

Russ was supposed to fly to New York this weekend on a job. Would have been nice, but no way he can get to Omaha to catch the flight. He might even have to cancel the class in Omaha next Wednesday. So more money we won't have when we obviously need it.

So, can we have that break now, because, really, we could use it.

On the good side, it was only 15 miles from home rather than say, 50. And we have the money to scrape together to get it towed.

If we hadn't gone back for the egrets, we likely would have made it all the way home, so I'm feeling very guilty about this, and the running around Omaha to look at places for me. It had been such a nice day, too. Posted by Picasa


Okay, I'm taking things a bit calmer this month. I have been feeling far too stressed again and it's time to back up and remind myself of what I keep telling Moderators and copyeditors -- if we're behind on something, no one is going to die of it. Don't stress.

I'm not involved in anything that is going to cause major problems if it doesn't get done quite on time.

So, I'm slowing down. I've only written about 1000 words a day for the last couple days. I've been working on a bit of cover art for someone, and I think it's almost done. I have something fun coming in the mail tomorrow or the next day -- new things for my lovely little camera. I found quite a deal on ebay the other day, and though I shouldn't have spent the money... I did. And I'm glad. I can't wait to try out the filters and stuff.

Russell got me a pedometer the other day because (a) it's obvious I need to walk more and (b) I can deal with numbers and make them work for me. Just like word count numbers -- if I can see a number I can push myself to make that number go higher. I think this is going to work, especially if the weather doesn't turn really bad again.

Zaphod just stuck his head in my water glass and started drinking. It's not like they don't have two water bowls of their own.

And yes, I got pictures.

It's 1:3o am, and I think I'm about ready to go to bed.

I might not even take my HP and edit in bed tonight. (grin) Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Storm (test -- it works!)

Well, look at that! It worked on the first try! Excellent.

And yes, we finally had rain today!