Friday, January 29, 2010

Trying New Things Again

I am, quite obviously, running behind this week. I got caught up in some editing and really just didn't feel like stopping to try and write something for the blog. Or for much of anything else, to be honest. But I got the work done on Kat Among the Pigeons and I really like the end result. I also learned that reading aloud and fixing things is better than fixing things and then reading through and fixing things again. I'm not claiming the story is perfect, but I really enjoyed the process and I feel as though I've made significant improvements in the prose and the story line. I don't think a writer can ask for better than that!

I also learned that pushing through, rather than taking it slowly, kept me in touch with the story. I caught things I suspect that I would have missed if I hadn't stayed so close to the story.

I'm pleased.

I also think I'm going to be doing a lot more of this over the next few months and get more novels ready for submission, rather than pressing a head for more new work. Oh, I'm still working on something new, of course, and I'll start something else on my birthday (I love that tradition), but I'm going to be focusing a lot on the better of the novels I already have: Paid in Gold and Blood, The Servant Girl, Summer Storm -- I'm sure there are more that will come to mind.

I hope my voice is up to it. I suppose living alone is helpful in this case, except that I sometimes drive the cats nuts. I think that's fair, given how much they've driven me over the edge some days. Like at just before the dawn this morning when they made so much noise that I thought someone was at the door. I leapt up -- twisted my thumb -- dressed and came out to find them playing tag. My thumb still hurts.

Now that I have Kat done, I'm going back to finishing the work on Silky 3. I am, I think, going to do it in the same way, in fact. I'd been rewriting, editing, reading -- in that order rather than all at once, and I'm starting to think this might be wasteful.

Maybe I'm just feeling older and a need to get things done rather than messing around so much. Maybe I'm finally coming out of the shock of Russ having to take the job in New York and living alone for the last 2 plus years. Maybe my decision to fret less over Forward Motion and Vision are paying off. And the fact that I'm more confident with the weekly newsletter for DAZ Studio 3D also helps.

Or maybe I'm just, finally, at a point where things are working. We'll see if they pay off.

And here is a bit of UPI #1 -- the new novel, so this is first draft. My agent, Scout, has been off duty for some time because of injuries. He has links to his team in his head, but no one has been talking to him. The storms mentioned are Time Storms. Someone had unsettled things, and now storms blow up, drop stuff out of time sequence.

Storms could hit at any hour. The night ones were the worst, though. Far more dangerous to go into an area where things were unstable at a time when you couldn't see clearly.

The next night a big one hit, and not far away, too. Lightning ripped through the sky, and the cold wind sucked the breath out of him. He looked back at the sight with a growing sense of panic. This one was bad --

"That's too damned close," Ted said, coming up beside him. "We don't usually get them out this far.

"That's not good," Maxie said. She was looking frantically around. "If there are Feeders in that one, and they get loose --"

"I know," Scout said. He pushed both hands through his hair and thought about heading that way. He could do something. He had the training, even if no one was talking to him.

"Get ready to go in Scout," Prentiss suddenly said inside his head.

He jumped, he was so startled. "Son of a bitch. A little warning!"

"Scout?" Maxie asked, looking at him, worried.

"I just got called up for duty," he said, glancing her way. Then he looked back at the storm. "Where the hell have you people been?"

"You needed rest," Dr. Desmond said, his voice clinically cool and as detached as ever. "Though I have to say that your paranoia levels have been worried."

"Paranoia keeps me alive out there. What have we got?"

"Hell," Lindow said and he looked at Scout, startled. "You're a UPI agent."

"Yes. Sorry -- I'm a bit distracted here," he said, and didn't know if he meant that for the team or the people he was with. Probably both. His heart had started beating too hard -- reaction to being called back to duty more than worry about the assignment. "What do we have? Warm or cold storm?"

"Warm," Prentiss said. "We haven't had any cold storms -- no Feeders -- since your last encounter with them. I have the feeling we may have unsettled some plan."

"Good." He turned back to the van, hurrying to get equipment. A warm storm meant something historical -- but that didn't mean they weren't dangerous sometimes. Often, though, they were a small group of people, scared out of their wits and easy to tag and send back. It was even doing them a favor.

He felt better than he had in days. That was the adrenaline rush. He didn't even need Desmond to tell him. He grabbed his weapons out of the hidden, locked box where he'd kept them while staying on the beach and looked around. He only glanced at the ocean and then out the window that looked toward the storm.

"How close? Is there any reason I can't walk in from here?"

"Walking in would probably be best," Townsend reported. "Otherwise, you would have to take the freeway, and it's full of panicked drivers right now. No one expected a storm out this far from the usual area."

"Yeah, I thought about that." He climbed down from the van's back door, closed it up and started to hit the alarm system on. He wouldn't need that here. So much for his paranoia. "Any idea why it's out this far?"

"We've had a number of small storms popping up," Prentiss said. "We suspect that the Feeders may have unsettled something."

"Any idea what it is that I saw --"

"Not yet. We're still looking for answers."

He nodded and started back around the side of the van. Almost everyone from the camp had gathered, watching the storm that sent green sparks into the sky.

"It's not feeders," he told them and saw looks of relief. He hadn't ever considered how most people wouldn't know, just looking at a storm. "That doesn't mean there isn't something dangerous out there, but I should be able to deal with it without too much trouble. I hope. Anyone else coming in, Prentiss?"

"No one anywhere near close," Prentiss said and sounded worried and annoyed. "Even we're still an hour out from you. If you want to wait a few more minutes --"

"No, that's okay. I'll start walking in. That's going to take me a while anyway."

"Yes. True." Prentiss sounded distracted. "It doesn't look bad, but be careful. Things have been odd."

"Odd how?" Scout asked. He hadn't started away yet.

"More storms, but you've noticed that. Spread out farther. And more people seem to be coming through. It's like ...."

Like the tear is getting larger, Scout thought, but he didn't want to say it aloud. Instead, he dismissed the voices in his head for a moment and looked back at Lindow, Maxie and Ted who were still standing by him, looking quite shocked.

"It's not a bad storm," Scout said, trying to reassure them.

"You are a UPI agent," Maxie said. "I never took you for one."

"I've been out of work for a while. And the voices in my head were silent." Prentiss made a coughing laugh of a sound and he smiled. "If the people were on in my head, you would have known. Or you would have thought I was crazy."

"I'm not sure the one precludes the other," Lindow said.

Townsend laughed this time. "My team agrees. But then they think I have to be crazy to be a field agent. Keep an eye on the van. I don't know how long this will take."

"Good luck," Lindow said and gave a nod.

It was good. He felt better heading into this storm than he had in any for a while. Maybe he had needed that contact with real, living people again. It helped him make this more than just another storm, another job.

So, maybe he could forgive them for cutting him off and making him live like other humans for a while. He'd have to think about that for a while.

"You were saying that it's like the tear is getting larger, right?" Scout said after he'd climbed up to the road. Cars went past, but no one else was on foot to hear him.

"Yes," Prentiss replied. He sounded worried again. "More storms, though not any as bad as that last one you were in. More influx of people though. A dozen at a time, sometimes, rather than only one or two."

"Any prevalent time period showing up?"


Scout nodded. They kept hoping for some sort of pattern, but nothing had shown itself so far. Scout really didn't think they would ever truly understand what was happening. He didn't think they would ever be able to fix it. Just keep plugging the holes until dam broke, he supposed.

"You're thinking too hard," Prentiss said.

"Not used to talking to you guys again," he admitted. "And just wondering if we're ever going to make a real difference in this."

"We may not. If we stop trying, we definitely won't."

He nodded, and then thought to speak, though they would see the nod through his eyes. "True. I've drifted far too much into introspection. Don't ever let that happen to me again."

Townsend, Kristi -- he thought even Desmond -- laughed at that one.

"Your body had gone through considerable trauma," Desmond said a moment later. He sounded serious. "And you were denying it to yourself. You needed to rest, and you weren't going to get it if you didn't disconnect from work, so to speak."

He started to say something and stopped. "Yeah, I can see that," he admitted. "It was a sobering time, though, seeing how the others lived."

"Yes, that part didn't work as well as we hoped," Prentiss admitted. "You're about two miles from the epicenter of the storm. If there are people heading your way, you could start seeing them soon."

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