Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Plot Bunnies are Ready for NaNo!

Unfortunately, I'm not. I want to finish at least one more outline before NaNo, but I am running out of time. I don't have Vision done yet, though a good amount of it is put together. I posted the 2YN classes today, just so that I didn't forget. Besides, those who are joining in NaNo might want to get it out of the way before the first week.

I still have the site updates to do, though that's partly finished as well. In fact, there seems to be a lot of 'partly' done things. My ability to stay focused on anything is pretty much shot. I have lists for my lists, and I'm still not getting much of it done.

I have two short outlines done. I do not have the outline for Broken Journey finished, but I still have hope for that one. The other two are I'm Not Who You Think and Written in the Wind. The last one is an older outline that I pulled out and did considerable work on. I wrote an earlier novella with the characters and intended to do a set of such stories. Now I'm going to do the new novel and then maybe work the older novella into it later. I think it will make a much better book than it would have a bunch of stories.

In fact, I think my original plan had been to write a couple novels, but when the first one came in at about 30 or 35k, I thought novellas would be a better answer.

Anyway, I think it will be a fun story to write. Providing I get a chance at it.

I need to go get THINGS done!
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Friday, October 24, 2008

Time Out for a Thank You to Holly

As some of you know, Holly has set things up at the Holly Shop to help me out as winter is setting in. I can't begin to explain how grateful I am, since things are looking... well, I'm sure I'd survive another winter here as it is, but it would not be comfortable. It's been a rough year, and though we are technically doing better than we were last year at this time, there are still problems. (Last year at this time we were about three weeks from being homeless. Things could be far worse than they are now.)

Thank you to Holly, Peter Nix and Katherina Gerlach for their kindness... and to everyone who has been buying books to help out. The money from these sales is going to fix a number of things, from broken house problems and get the car ready for winter. I do not drive, but Russ has to take the car from Omaha to Sioux City whenever he comes home, and it's very dangerous once the ice sets in.

Russ will be home from the November 1 to November 9. During that time, we're going to make a decision on where I am going to stay for the winter and work on repairs where it is the most likely to help. We have two very small and houses that are side-by-side. Russ used one for his office, and it is in better shape than this one. I might be there for the winter, providing we can get the water pipes and heating fixed (it may mean some extensive work), and get the utilities turned on. With this money, it is an option. Otherwise, we were going to have to try and find a way to keep at least one room in this house warm enough for me and the cats. We went through this last year, and it was not pleasant.

This has been an incredibly rough year. I knew I would come through it anyway, but Holly's help and everyone's kindness means I'm not going to be sitting here worried about everything that is wrong, from broken pipes in both houses, to fuses that keep blowing for no good reason here. A house with a fully working heating system sounds very nice, too.

I'm going to believe that everything will be better by next winter. If Russ can get a job closer to home, we will have fewer expenses. Having a place to live in Long Island (even just a room) costs money, and coming home every couple months is far more expensive than it was just before Russ took this job. However, having any job is better than being out on the street. Between my three paying jobs, I've managed to pay for a number of Russ's tickets home, feed myself, and pay some of the ongoing bills. Russ has been concentrating on getting us out of debt, and we're nearly there. This means if a job does turn up in this area, even if it is less income, Russ can take it. All we have to do is make certain that we don't slip again. The last came suddenly -- we were doing well until the economy tanked and no one was hiring Russ for the work he'd been doing for years.

Having things work properly here in the house will cost us less in the long run. And -- something that is very important to me -- it will mean the kitty gang is less likely to be ill this year.

So thank you again to Holly and everyone else. I feel like for the first time in months I can look at next week without worrying.

And, amazingly, I'm starting to have more fun with writing again.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ten days to NaNo.

Only ten days left and I am not ready. Not in the least bit ready. I've had a bad week that has added on to a bad year... and it's been hard enough just to keep up on work, let alone do anything more. My sweet Pip cat died a week ago. It was completely unexpected and I've had a hard time dealing with the loss. This was a cat who was never more than a few feet away from me. It was like a final blow in a time that was already not going well.

I am trying to focus on NaNo as something I've always enjoyed. I have one outline done and part of another one. I need to get that second one finished, and see if I can even do some more. But I have newsletters, Vision, site updates... lots of things to get done in the next ten days, and getting focused on any of it has been difficult. I did remember another outline that I have... somewhere on my hard drive(s). I'm going to hunt it down because it's complete and that might be real help. I will probably need to add a little to it, but still.... And it's the sequel to another book, so if I can read it and then go straight into the outline update that would help. I liked the story. I could use something fun to work on.

I would like to get fired up about NaNo and enjoy it. I would like to just 'turn off' reality for a while and leap into a story and write without worry.

Actually, I am doing that somewhat with Summer Storm. That was one of my earlier NaNo novels. 2006? 2005? I can't remember the year, but it came in too short for a full novel (so many of them do, even if they reach 'NaNo' length). I don't know why I had pulled it up a few weeks ago. I think Russ might have mentioned it. Oh, yeah -- when we were in Omaha about a month ago, I took some more pictures of the area where the story mostly takes place so that I could write some of it in.

Summer Storm has already grown by about 7k, and that's the easy part. I'm going for another 10 to 15k.

And I had sort of a glimmering of an idea for a sequel to it, too. That might be fun. There's nothing really coming together, though. (Why is my mouse pointed moving? Ah, Edmond. Of course.)

I keep hoping for something to leap out and inspire me to rush forward with all the work at hand just so I can get to it. I don't think that's going to happen until I can get past this horrible week. I don't know how long that's going to take. Maybe mid November.

If I'm lucky.
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Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Working on Summer Storm

I'm posting the opening to the rewrite of Summer Storm. This is not the complete chapter, just the first few pages. I'd posted it in my regular journal, but I think this is the far wiser spot.

The work is going very well, and I'm really enjoying it. And I'm going to get back to it, rather than posting more here. (grin)

Chapter 1

Lightning flashed so brightly that for one heart-pounding second I thought a bomb had gone off over the city. I hit the brakes at the same time thunder shook the world and the wind picked up with a frantic gust, bouncing my Subaru. I still thought it might be the end of the world until the hail started hitting the car.

Just a storm after all.

Although just didn't appear to be a good word for the sudden fury unleashed around me. I had gotten lucky. If I hadn't played the good son and gone out to help with some paperwork at my parents' house that morning, I would have been walking to work in this mess.

Hail the size of nickels began to fall, and then got larger. I hit the gas and darted for the underpass beneath the railroad crossing about two blocks ahead while hunks of ice pinged against the roof. The car slid on the hail-slick street, and came to an ungraceful stop beneath the old corroded bridge. The ding of hail stopped on the roof though I could still see if falling in droves outside my little shelter, turning my view up 13th Street into a veil of running colors, swirled by a vicious, erratic wind that changed direction with each gust.

Dangerous storm -- lightning hit a tree somewhere not far ahead. Even through the torrential rain, I could see it shatter and blinked in the after image. Odd patterns played across my eyes, and for a moment I thought I saw odd shaped things racing across the intersection a couple blocks away. I blinked: They disappeared. Good. I had enough weird in my life.

I leaned back, intending to wait it out, and turned on the radio. The lighting still brightened the early morning day, and trailed static on the stations, but I could finally hear voices.

"....totally unexpected. An unusual cold inversion along the Missouri River came out of nowhere, and the warm front hit it and... chaos," a woman said, her voice breathless. "We're getting some of the wildest readings on Doppler that I've ever seen!"

Static rose over her words. The storm didn't look any less wild.

".... Laka Manawa," a man said. "Damndest think I ever saw! The sky lighted like a bomb went off --"

"There was no bomb," the announcer said so quickly he cut the man off. Wise man to stop that one before it went very far. "Just a very unusual storm. We have another call..."

"... angels calling out to hold tight, to hold back. It's the apocalypse..."

My. The storm had obviously unsettled a few people. I fiddled with the controls a little, watching hail build up on the ground like a fall of hard snow, though the winds didn't seem as strong now. A huge limb swept past me in the growing rush of water which had begun gathering in the depression beneath the bridge where I sat. I'd have to go soon. Lucky for me I only have about five blocks left to get to work.

"... flying through the sky..."

When another limbed wedged into my little sanctuary, I started to ease the car forward, despite the hail. The road was slick, the hail immediately chipped my windshield, and the rain came in torrents.

"... Adams Park," a woman said, her voice breathless. "And it's raining huge rocks!"

I glanced upward and discounted that one. The hail was bad enough. I fought the wheel of the car and pushed down on the gas, fearing I would be swept up with the fallen limbs and other debris --

And my cell phone went off; Age of Aquarius rang out, startling me into a breathless curse that was more sound than words. My boss calling, of course. She has an incredible knack for calling at the entirely wrong time. I ignored it for a couple rounds of 'This is the dawning...' before I pulled over to the curb and yanked on the emergency break. I had made it a little more than a block. My hands shook as I took out the phone.

"Julia," I said, hoping I didn't sound too breathless.

"Summerfield." She sounded distracted, and I could hear the police band radio in her office squawking in the background. Things sounded pretty lively, too. I turned down my radio and could still barely hear her. "Where are you?"

"About four blocks from the office."


"No. I drove out my parents' house today."

"Well, Bless the Lady for that one," she said. I heard her lean closer to the police band, but the feedback made me yank the cell phone away from my ear. I thought I had heard someone talking about Valkeries this time, though. Damned odd weather when you can get the Angels of God and the Valkieries in the same storm. "You still there?"

"Yes. Just waiting the storm out."

"What's that odd pinging noise?"

"Hail hitting the car." I could count the insurance money with each of those pings.

"It's hailing here, too," she said.

"Five blocks away. What are the odds?" I smiled.

"I don't know. I'll have to find someone who can find that one out."

Irony is lost on this woman.

"I'm glad you have your car," she said. "Tessa told me last night in a reading that today would be important. Hold on. I have to check something."

Tessa, the astrologer, had a little shop about two blocks from the office of Wolton World News, where I worked. Julia ran the small, but rather well known (or maybe infamous), privately owned newspaper. Wolton World covers stories on the unusual side... and Tessa had been right predicting this one. Angels and Valkaries...and falling rocks.

Julia Wolton, owner and publisher of Wolton World News, had a knack for smelling out good stories that fit the paper, even here in Omaha -- not exactly the arcane capital of the world. She had people who reported to her from several places around the world had two reporters locally -- me and Jacobs.

Well, if you could call Jacobs a reporter. I knew he got far too many of his stories from the bottom of a beer bottle, and I don't think he went out to investigate anything unless he feared he might get caught skipping out on it.

There would be an accounting for his actions someday, I knew. Karma. I'd seen it work too often in the past to doubt that Jacobs wasn't setting himself up for a good fall. I would try not to snicker.
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Saturday, October 04, 2008

Into November

Right after I put this post up, I decided I liked the picture so well that I went and changed the template a bit and added it to the top. I think it's cute! That's Zaphod, pretending he's hidden. He's a big cat. There was a lot of him sticking out the other side!

The writing is going well, though oddly. I've cut so much out of the original story -- that's from Infiltration -- that it's down to about 40k. I'll be done with it in the next couple days. I don't quite know what I'll work on next, except for the outlines. But I want another story to rewrite, too. It's really helping me get focused again.

I did something odd this afternoon. I sat up my camera and shot a short video of my fingers as I typed. I wanted to see how I work, and it was interesting to see the rush of words, pauses, the backtracks and all. I'll have to try it again with the focus set a bit differently. It was interesting to watch it focus and refocus as my fingers moved, though.

What else? Russ will be home Wednesday night and leave again on Sunday. But then he'll be back again on the 31st and be here for a week! Yay! He has a lot of local work to do on both trips (classes to teach and stuff), but it will still be a lot more time together than we've had in a long time! Well, I guess in a year, since he left the day after Thanksgiving last year.
It's been a miserable year, but we're getting through it.

I can't really say that there's anything else to write about tonight. I'm trying to get all kinds of work done before he gets home. And I'm trying to gear myself up for NaNo, but it's not quite as easy as it usually is. I need to work on those outlines!

But not tonight. Right now, I'm going to go get a bit of other work done and then get some sleep!
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