Wednesday, July 31, 2002

An hour nap. Now I'm up with some cookies and chocolate milk in hopes of getting a little energy between now and when Russ gets home. And maybe a little writing done as well.

Odd day...
Whoa. I am tired.

I don't know where it came from, but I'm having a real bout of 'let's go nap now' and I think it's going to win. I can't even get my fingers to find the right keys on the keyboard, so I would say it's time for a nice little break.

Russ will be home in about three hours. Maybe I'll be awake by then...

Ack... (Yawn)

Cleaned up bits and pieces of the house. Russ will be home in about eight hours or so, and I'm trying to 'neaten up' some of the areas again.

This week went very quickly. I got a lot of odd work done, and I'm moving again on the novel, so that's good. And I had a couple short stories hit me, which is always nice. Managed to get somethings designed and printed off, and all in all, I can't complain too much.

As life goes, this hasn't been too bad at all. Only one minor kitty emergency -- and that was a case where I thought there was something wrong but there wasn't...

See, Princess Cricket has an ongoing problem that gets her to the vet once every few months. It's a bladder problem, and no one can figure out what causes it. But it clears up for a while and then comes back later. As long as she keeps getting better, we're okay.

On Wednesday I came out to the kitchen to find Cricket on the floor on her side, one leg stretched at an odd angle, and her head kind of 'loose' if you know what I mean. I called her name. No reaction at all. I knelt down and tried to get her to move. Nothing. I prodded her, no movement -- but alive, mind you. I knew that. She just stared with her eyes kind of glazed and her mouth open.

I panicked. I stood and headed for the phone.

The phone is in the same direction as the cat food...

She beat me to the doorway. I did not strangle her. I think that showed all kinds of restraint on my part.

Okay, off to do a little bit more house pick up stuff, and then to work on writing.

Tuesday, July 30, 2002

So I decide that I'm going to do an 'After the First Draft' gathering tonight. I post it. And almost immediately, my little Weather Bug goes off saying there are storms heading my way. I'm not really surprised. It happens nearly every time I decide to do this class. The day is turning ominously dark out there, though.

But I've done some good writing today. I started a short story yesterday. Got barely 300 words on it. I'm a bit over 2000, and it's still moving. Nice to do a batch of short stories now and then. Good break from the novels, though Dacey is going well again, too.

Time to post and get a little more writing done before class!

I did all kinds of odd things today. Brochures for my books. Cleaning up part of the house. Writing.

Not a bad day. A long day, and sometimes a frustrating day... but not a bad one.

And now I am going to head for bed. I'm warn out, I need some sleep before I attack things again. Even the cats are starting to look very tired. I think I keep them up too late.


Sunday, July 28, 2002

Well yes, it was a long day where I got virtually nothing done. Wrote up the rules for the Novel Exchange at Forward Motion. Set some definite rules in place this time, so that there won't be anyone lost, or someone giving critiques without getting any in return. It's a lot of work to do a novel critique.

I was supposedly partly in charge before, but I left it in other hands because I was tired of being told how I kept taking things over. It didn't quite work out for everyone, though. So this time... Well, I can't say that it will work better, but I'm going to give it an honest try.

I wrote most of a new chapter for Dacey's Dream tonight. This is good. It's brought the novel up to 55,000 words. The new sub-plot should do just fine, though I suspect even it will fall a little short. The real final count won't come until I go through and make certain everything is melded together.

But all in all, it's going fine. Just slow today...
It's late. I'm tired. But I did good work today, despite such a bad start. Cleaned, changed room around, did some writing, and did some good notes for Dacey. I am just too brain dead to really go any farther with it.

Tomorrow I'll do more house work and more writing. Right now I just need to recharge the story writing ability with a little rest. It's been a long day!

It seems like it's going to be a long week, though, with Russ gone. I keep getting bored and anxious, walking around the house for no good reason. I've put it too good use, though, by picking up stuff whever I go. Who knows. It might help!

But now... sleep!

Saturday, July 27, 2002

I woke up with a horrible headache. The kind where you just don't dare even move. I stayed in bed for another couple hours, napping on and off as cats came to visit. Why do they insist on walking on me? Especially when I don't feel well? Do they have this little gathering out in the other room and say, "Hey look, Zette's nearly comatose again. Now's the time to go leaping on her back and nuzzling her hair with our cold little noses. She so loves that... Oh, and we must bring Princess Cricket so that she can yell. She yells the best of all of us. And don't forget to lure the dog in, so she can bark at the worst time."

At any rate, after about two hours of this, I finally crawled out of bed, grabbed something to drink in the kitchen, and came straight to my computer... but only because this was where the Tylenol was sitting.

Nearly two hours later, and I think I might finally be seeing a pathway to my brain again.

But there is some good news. Last night I went to bed with a copy of Michael Grant's Cleopatra and some note cards. I very quickly found just the material I needed to work out the next problem in The Game of Time. In this case I needed some time/place where I could create a near disaster that would have changed all history. Easy enough to find, and I worked out a few notes for the story. I think it's going to go fairly easy now, though it will (what a shock) run short. I don't care as long as I get the basic story down. I'm sitting at 16,533 right now and about to have my first physical conflict scene, with one of the team captured. After that, the action will pick up.

I expect to hit 20,000 today, at least. Maybe more. But I also want to do an edit/reworking of a short story and get it off.

Ah, 4PM. The horde has gathered, looking for their food. I best take care of that now, or they'll be no rest.

No hold it. They already took care of that part, didn't they?
There done. 6326 words -- far shorter than I expected, but that's all right. It had a great ending.

And I'm tired now. I might actually go crawl off to bed soon.
Snarf. I was just grabbing chocolate milk and coconut macroon cookies when the end of the story came to me. I started giggling. Cats scattered. I managed not to spill the milk, but it was a near thing. I rushed back in here. The story is sitting at about 5200. It might not go much more than a thousand longer after all. The next step in this story is so perfect for the sort of disasters that happen around these two main characters, that I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

Oh my yes...

This is going to be so much fun...

Friday, July 26, 2002

And later that day...

I have not written a lot more. I did watch a very long show, though, which sort of wore me out. Now I'm tired.


It's been a very dull sort of day. I had a major break through on one story... and then stopped right there while I tried to think the next steps through. Perhaps I should try to think them through in a nice tub of water... sounds like a good plan to me.

Or hold it. I think I finally have the next step in the story. Okay. Write first...
Despite several interruptions, I still got the story done. 2099 words. Good.

Now for some food for me and the cats before I go on to the next project.

And now we're on to another day. I want to start clearing up my backlog of unfinished material. Here's a list I just made up:

A Walk in the Wild -- Short Story (I completely forgot this one until just now!)
May Day -- Novelette or novella, probably
Ada Nish Pura -- Novel
Game of Time -- Novel, but likely a very short one
Dacey's Dream -- Novel that needs the subplots plotted and written

That's really not bad for me at all. I think I can get the short story done in very little time if I just put my mind back to it. And if I can find where I saved it... Ah, there it is. And I had gotten farther than I thought on the story. Excellent. Time to get it done...

Starting count, 1202
Late. I've written a bit over 3000 words. I suspect this story will go to about 10,000. Maybe longer since I'm looking at an expansion of one section.

But right now I'm tired. Tired enough to go crawl off to bed and go back to work on everything tomorrow. I did a pretty good job today, though. I got some things cleaned up, I got part of my office situated around so that I can move through it, and I wrote a good part of a new story.

Yeah, time for some sleep.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

So I wrote all of that (second entry down), and then thought about it for the next few hours wondering why I had kept thinking about it before. (grin) And I came to the conclusion that I just think about that kind of stuff too much. I suspect that I expect better of people than they are often willing to give. She was not the only one perpetually late with material that she had promised for the issues -- she was just the only one who waited that long to get them in. And it still does happen. Holly and I are looking at some possiblities for changes next year... when Holly has time to look at anything at all. She's a very busy person, in case no one noticed that. (grin)

But in the end, I realized that I just shouldn't waste my time thinking about this kind of stuff. That doesn't mean I'll quit doing it, of course. Just that I shouldn't.

And back to the real world stuff....

I had to do an agenda for tomorrow which has put me just a bit behind on my work tonight. Not really much since I've already written over 2400 words on a new short story. A fun new short story with two of my favorite silly characters. This one takes them into the jungles of Africa where they will find a lost Celtic civilization. Yes, it is all very silly, and none of it meant to be taken seriously. And it's just the kind of silly stuff that I need to get me in the right mood for some serious work.

I'm sure there's a flaw in my logic somewhere....
I finally made my first million keystorkes at Project Dolphin! About time!

Let me tell you, that editing stuff can really slow down your output. But I did it, finally!
You know how little things can just sort of stick there in the back of your mind, surfacing now and then until you find an answer? I have been spending months... really, seriously months... trying to figure out why one person was mad at me. Now and then it would come to me, and I'd wonder about it for a moment or two. Today, while doing dishes, the answer finally surfaced. It was because, as editor of Vision, I finally had to call her on something unprofessional she had been doing since the first issue.

This woman is an excellent writer. She did some incredibly good articles for Vision. But she inevitably turned them in late... not just past the deadline, but with (if I was lucky) 48 hours until the material went up on line. Once it was within the last 24 hours. That meant the stuff not only had to be edited (because, though she was good, everything goes past our copyeditor), but also get it into the issue, make sure it was formatted correctly, get the links right... and this was in the days when we were doing the pdf and the pdb files on the same days. So not only was she holding me up, but also Beth (copyeditor) and Holly (who did those other versions).

I finally called her on it. I finally told her that a piece she was working on (already one issue behind when she said she'd have it) would have to wait until the next issue because I had already told someone else (who had already gotten me the material) that they would have that spot.

It was an important piece -- an interview I would have loved for the ezine. And if she had said that she'd told that person the interview would be in the upcoming issue, I would have switched things around again. What she did say was that she'd already told her friends it would be in that issue. I wasn't going to bump the other person's material for her friends.

If she had said she would get the the material to me the next day, rather than that she wasn't done yet, then I would have held the spot one more time. As it was, I was hoping that giving her yet another issue to get the material done would help get it to me on time. She never got it done. And she left Forward Motion not long afterwards over other things... but I had heard she was miffed with me, and wondered what the problem was.

Oh, and there was another problem that just occured to me. When Vision first went up, she and her then boyfriend made a list of things that they thought should be changed. I told her why some of them were the way they were, and that I'd look at the others for the next issue. I outright fixed some real problems, and was glad they'd pointed them out.

When the next issue went up, I incorporated nearly all the changes they'd suggested, and emailed asking for comments. As I recall, I never heard back -- but considering how hectic things were right then, I might just have missed it. I have come to suspect, however, that she really wanted to be the one in charge of putting the ezine together. Given tha she couldn't even get a single article in on time, this probably wouldn't have been a good idea.

I realize that I learned something very important from her during all of this. It issomething I suspect that all editors, even ones of little ezines, figure out pretty early on. It doesn't matter if you have the best writer in the world working on material for you... if they don't take it seriously -- if they don't treat it professionally -- it's going to be a hassle, and at some point you'll have to make a decision on it. How to deal with it is never easy.
I swear, if Russ was ever ready to leave on time, I'd probably fall over dead. And it's not always his fault... but he does tend to wait until the last minute to pack, gather his CDs, etc. -- even knowing that there will be other delays. There always are. Today it was calls from various people with computer problems, so that he wasn't even getting ready to take Kin to the vet until ten minutes after Kin's appointment.

But we have a great vet. He got Kin in, gave him two shots, and combed him out, which Kin did not like but will help a great deal.

Then Kin got to come right back home. I gave him cheese treats...

And that's when I realized that there was no sign of Princess Cricket. I put out a little food. Still no sign of her. Russ finally found her hiding back in the library. Apparantly a combination of the weird weather and seeing the kitty cage had her panicked. He chased her out of the hiding spot long enough for us to make sure she could move, and then we let her back at it.

And now Russ has gone, only half an hour later than he wanted to leave. Of course, he still has to stop by three places on his way out of town, and drive 100 miles to the airport.

But here I am, all on my own for a week. I think I'll manage. What I'm hoping to do is a massive clean up of the house... though that will all depend on how well my back stands up to it. I also, of course, want to get some writing done. A lot of writing done, in fact, since this is the last week of the month.

If it comes down to it, writing will win out, of course.

I just hope that Russ makes it down to Omaha with plenty of time to get on his flight...
I went to bed early last night (a bit after 3am) and fell almost immediately to sleep...

And woke up about an hour later to an incredible hail storm. They reported golf ball sized hail across the river from us, and I think we got a couple of those ourselves. The front yard had patches that looked like snow, and the noise was incredible. This morning I see that my flowers are shredded (sigh), and every time the wind blows it looks like fall in the back yard, there are so many leaves and pieces of leaves coming down.

But the house appears to be fine.

Russ will be leaving for New York just as soon as he brings Kincaid back from the Vet. Kin was starting to get his kitty asthma back, so in he went for his shot before Russ leaves.

It's going to be a long week here by myself. Expect to hear from me a lot...
Storms and more storms tonight. And... tired. Really very tired.

I think we have most everything set to go for Russ tomorrow. It's going to be odd here without him over the next week. Since he went free lance, I see a lot more of him than I used to. I think I'm going to be a bit lost this time.

I thought I was going to stay up and do all kinds of writing, but I just can't see it tonight. My head is swirling and my fingers can't find the right keys. So, off to bed early tonight.

Wednesday, July 24, 2002

As always, we're on the day before Russ leaves on a major trip and running around like crazy. I'm not certain why it works that way, even when he doesn't have a full time job. But here we are, stocking in supplies for me, getting all the bills paid, and preparing him for his trip out.

So, not a whole lot done here today. But I'll have a week to get caught up, though to be honest I hope to spend a lot of time working on house stuff over the next week, so I probably will still only be doing about my minimum of writing. It's hard to say. If some story catches me and I take off with it, it could be different.

We've had storms off and on all day, too. That slows down my work, but only because I'm rushing out too see if I can get neat cloud shots.

But over all, it's not too bad. If I can just settle in and do a little writing, all will be well with the world.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

I have done nothing for work so far today. Nothing at all. I worked on something for my web site, I looked over some other material... I posted and I sat in chat for a little while.

It's not that I don't want to write (well, duh, zette... like we wouldn't figure that one out), but only that I am having trouble narrowing down what I want to write. I have a very good reason to look at one of the SF novels that might be possible for publication, even though it's not on the list of sold stuff. It's part of a plan I came up with last night... And I would like to try it. And that is distracting me.

On the other hand, I did get The Good People of Coralville done, althought I haven't heard back on it yet.

And I have to run. This was just a few moments free between running.
3000 words on Game of Time. Not going really well at the moment, but that may be because I'm tired, and not because of the story. But I sort of hit a point where the group is told what's going on. Now I'm sort of... so what do they do about it? I mean I know in a general way, but actually doing the work takes a little more thought.

I had hoped to get this book done by the end of the month. After all, it's going to be a short YA novel. I had always planned for this series to come in around 50,000 each. But until something clicks in my brain again, I may have to set this one aside.

Ah... ah. They need... something. Oh. And I see it. And I know where they need it to be. All right. I can do that. A magnet of sorts. Otherwise, they'd have no way of finding the pieces. It's a bit like what I used in The Dark Staff books, but oh well. If I come up with something better later...I'll rework that part.

I think I'll open the WIP back up and add a couple notes to the end so I remember this when I start to write tomorrow, and go back and add it in. Good plan.

See, that wasn't so hard.

Monday, July 22, 2002

The writing is a little slower than I would like, but partly because I couldn't find some important notes. Then I remembered that I had used those notes to write a short story based on an incident in this book that I'm writing now -- sort of a world bulding short story. I tracked it down and printed it off, and found most of what I needed there in those eight pages. Life is good again.

And here I am at another day. The work on The Good People of Coralville went very well last night. I got the entire book done in one sitting. Today, I'm rewarding myself with some writing time. The Game of Time is moving along pretty well, though I think I'll get bogged down in a bit. But for the moment... time to work on it and see how it goes.

I'd like to have a good, solid writing day. I can do that... though there are other things I should be working on as well. I'll see how far I get on this one.
I wrote a bit over 1000 words and then I went through all the final edits for The Good People of Coralville. That was fun. I'll be sending it back tomorrow, and that will be another one out of the way. I am still working on the cover for it, though. I'm doing a photo cover, but I can't quite get what I want. Annoying, but I'll get it worked out.

We had storms and more storms. I'm happy. I took a couple nice pictures earlier. Some lovely clouds.

But now, with almost everything done, I think I'm going to go take a nice bath. I could stand to relax for a bit.

Although, I think I'll play with some graphics first. (grin)

Sunday, July 21, 2002

And, as expected, now that we own an AC unit, it has cooled off. Dramatically, one might say. We had a lovely storm blow through, though it was a bit disconcerting to be setting in the van with loud hail pinging off it. Not the first time that's happened to us, but I always find it a little troubling at the time.

I did get a couple mpg movies on the camera with the sound, though. That was kind of neat.

I have gotten next to nothing done tonight. Not a good sign. But, as time goes for me, it's still early. I should be able to get moving soon.

We might have some more stroms tonight, so I probably shouldn't waste this time. Especially since I can finally 'see' a pivotal scene for The Game of Time. I better get to work on that one!

We have a cool house. Finally.

Hot, humid weather and I do not agree. At all. So I am now a happy, somewhat chipper person. I think my brain might even be making a comback now.

I'm nearly 10,000 words into The Game of Time (book 1), and I have the scene laid out in my mind where things go strange. This is good. I could not quite grasp this first step away from reality for the group. I'm looking forward to the next step in the story, even if I'm not entirely clear how it will go here.

Oh, my little Weather Bug just let out a few chirps letting me know there's an alert. Looks like a Severe Thunderstorm Watch. Good. We can use the rain. Any rain.

I have work to do. I better get to it, rather than sitting around here.

I did get the agenda done, eventually. And I've manged to write about 500 words so far tonight, between other odd things. My brain is not focusing. Never good. But it is moving along, so I can't complain too much.

Except that I need to do a read through of the copy edited material for The Good People of Coralville. And then get the cover done. And that's a problem because I have not been happy with any of my pictures so far.

Though even as I said that, I might have an idea for another one. I'll see.

Right now, I need to do a few pages of read/decide on edits in Good People. And then back to the other novel. And then... on other things.

Saturday, July 20, 2002

You know, it would have helped if I had opened the proper file folder for attachments. I was about four pages into it when it suddenly occurred to me that these attachment numbers were not the same as the ones I had done for the pdf. Duh.

So, back to work...
Well, I am still working on the agenda. I always expect it to go better than it does. I don't know why. (grin)

I did post a couple things at Forward Motion. If I can just get this work done, I'll be able to write again. Have you noticed how bad tempered I get when I have to do work. But then again, Maynard G. Krebs has always been my hero. (Ha. I bet most of you don't get that one!)

Though I suspect, at the rate I'm going, I'll not even be done with this before Russ gets home. Ah well. It still has to be done sometime, right? (No, don't try to answer that one. I'm still trying to answer that one.)

On the good news side, Russ does not go to New York until Thursday, which gives us both an extra day to get things sorted around here.

I am waiting for my server to acknowledge some of the work I've done before I go on. This happens every few minutes, so I might be back here in a bit again...

After I posted that, I realized the last line could be taken two ways -- not that it's all that important. I could mean that I could not wait for the pizza and had to eat now. Or it could mean I'm really looking forward to the pizza. As it happened, in this case it's both. I'm looking forward to the pizza, but I couldn't wait that long to eat. As some people (who have been with me in chat) know, I get massive 'I can't even think' headaches. I've started to recognize the 'oh here it comes' symptoms and I grab food as soon as I can. It's nice to be able to function the rest of the night.

And now, since I have managed a couple sandwiches, I'm going to do the web agenda and then... write!

There. The agenda is finally going out in the email right now. I still need to do the web site, however. And while I was doing that work, something else dropped in.

But the really good news is that we have an AC unit out in the rest of the house. The bad news is that there wasn't any really large units available, and the one Russ got is not cooling down as fast or as much as we would like. Still, it's better than it was. Considering today we had a heat advisory and that area of the house gets warmer than it is outside... well, you can see the problem.

Yes, we need new siding and insullation. It's not going to happen any time soon.

Now, however, I am going to go find something to eat. Russ is off doing the intros at the comedy club tonight. I can't wait until he gets home for pizza. (grin)
On today's agenda is... well, the city agenda first. It doesn't look too bad. And, in the really good news, Russ got one of his checks and he's out buying an AC unit for the other part of the house. We're under a heat advisory today, and I pretty much feel awful, even here in my office.

But once I get past this work stuff, I should have time to write... because I don't think I'm going to leave this room until fall and the temps start to drop again.

We are back from the great adventure...

I love going off with Russ for a day away from home. We get to discuss all sorts of things with no interruptions. Today we covered his articles and my upcoming novel. I was even going to start the novel tonight, but by the time we got home, I was just way too tired. Haven't slept in about 36 hours, except for a couple less than an hour (total) naps in the car. I would like to go to bed, but it's too hot. Really and truly too hot.

Anyway, Russ and I left about 7:30AM and got home about 11PM. We were in Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa looking at historical sites and small towns. Great day.

Russ leaves for a weeklong job in New York next Wednesday. We have a lot to get done before then, but I think we'll do fine. And it even looks as though it might cool down a little before then. It was awful out there today, and then we came home to a house so hot we could hardly stand it, and Russ has a high tolerance for that sort of thing.

This weather sucks. I hate it. I feel totally miserable when it gets hot and humid.

Part of the reason is that I do need to lose weight. I know it and have started the first small steps in that direction. And I also need to walk more. That is one thing that will help with my current calcium problem... but I cannot walk in this weather. I walk around the house as much as I can. I have an exercise bike... but I cannot ride it because of the ankle problems related to the calcium problems... it's a vicious circle.

But I will, nonetheless, start to lose weight again. And if the weather ever improves enough that I can step out of the house without falling over gasping, I'll start taking the dog for walks again. She could use them, too. I wish we lived somewhere more interesting to walk, of course, but hey... that's life.

Time for me to go do some writing.

Thursday, July 18, 2002

People seemed to like this snippet of Aubreyan (see yesterday). I have asked my publisher if I can change the one we have up for this one instead. (grin) We'll see. If not, it's no big deal.

Today I have been getting caught up on a number of little things around here. Agenda done and out, etc. We also found that the AC unit in my office had been leaking water all over some pictures and boxes. So we had to pull all that out. Argh.

I have received the final edits for The Good People of Coralville and have to go over them soon. This weekend, if I get really lucky, would be nice. And that will put another novel up for sale in the near future. It would be nice if they actually, you know, sold.

But that's the way epublishing is. It might yet take off. In the mean time, I look at all the groveling and misery that some of my print-published friends are going through... and you know, it doesn't exactly make me want to jump up and push for print publications. Not that I'm saying I would absolutely get a print contract anyway.

I wish I had something really interesting to say tonight. Instead, I'm going to go off and write a bit and then try to head to bed early. We are finally going on that trip tomorrow. Really. Russ has a meeting down in the area, so there's no way we can get out of it this time... which is good and bad. It's going to be another really hot day.

Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Today I am making brochures for Aubreyan.

I will not have a real use for them any time soon, but Russ and I found this lovely paper today and it looked perfect. I've brought it and started laying things out. It went much better than I had hoped. Tomorrow we'll go around and price ink for the color printer. But overall, it looks good.

Below is the cover to the book and the excerpt I'm using... let me know what you think!

The Dark Staff # 1



Some thing, small and helpless, nuzzled at her arm, seeking warmth against the cold that never seemed to touch her. Altazar went closer to look down at it, the little arms and legs, the head with a fine covering of dark hair. He shivered with the realization that he had once been this small and his father might have killed him with a single blow, or a snap of the tiny neck. He started to reach, but her hand caught his wrist, powerful and stronger than he had expected.

"I call him Aubreyan," she said.

His gaze shifted from the rag-wrapped bastard and he pulled his arm free. When he looked into her face, he found himself -- as always -- staring into the bottomless depths of her green eyes. No wonder she never felt cold, with spring always in her eyes.

"Call it want you like," he said. "It will be dead before morning."

"No," she said. She sat up, the dark hair falling like a shield across the child. "You want this child."

"Why would I want a rival?" he demanded, and found that he had stepped away, his back pressed against the door as though he faced some danger. The movement angered him and gave him power to fight...something he couldn't even name. "What do I want with that bastard of yours?"

"Empires pass." She smiled, capturing him with a different look, and one that made him shiver this time. "This child is the only piece of eternity you will ever possess, man."

Not a woman's smile -- not a mother's smile. If the Kiya had not assured him that no human magic could penetrate her protection around him, Altazar would have suspected Starwind of bewitching him. For a moment he feared this creature enough that he wished she would leave and take the bastard with her.

"What do you want of me?" he asked, soft words that he'd never asked of anyone before.

"Oh, there are many things," she said, and leaned back. "But wisdom would be wasted on you." His rage at the answer almost brought his sword to his hands, but she waved a hand, dismissing that threat. "I'll tell you this much: Aubreyan is no threat to you. Go, Altazar. Go back to your Kiya and rule these men with all the barbarism that you can manage. It doesn't matter to me."

"I want it killed!" He shouted, enraged because she unmanned him so easily.

"You will not kill him," she said. His hand rested on his sword, but he drew it away. He would not kill the child. Would not, because she said so.

He shivered and his hand sought the edge of the door, pulling it open without daring to look away from Starwind. He fled before a spell for which there was no warding -- magic, even if the Kiya said he was protected.

Available From
Double Dragon Ebooks

Tuesday, July 16, 2002

I got up today feeling much better. Both ankles look (and feel) good. My knees don't ache today. I've a little pain in my right wrist because of my mouse pad, which I will replace as soon as I can.

Life is good.

And yes, I do have a good life. I probably don't say it often enough between the snarly stuff about novels that are not getting finished fast enough, or heat waves with the AC out. Or the fact that I can't seem to get to this one little town down in southwestern Nebraska for some world building.

But you know, in the scheme of things, that's not bad at all.

I see so many people wasting their lives away in unhappy jobs and relationships, and I sit back and wonder what the hell they think they're doing. They will never get that time back. I don't mean 'oh we had a bad day' so it's time to quit this job. Or 'Oh, we argued about the new car for a whole week' time to get a divorce. I mean people who go on for years in situations where they are unhappy and where they have to know it's not going to get better. What do they think they'll get out of it? Martyr awards? Do they think that sticking with a job where they are treated like shit is going to get them the big break?

Sometimes I think people let this happen because then they can be self-righteous and prove what good people they are by putting up with it. I can't believe that they are all blind to the fact that their bosses are not ever going to suddenly look at all the work they've done and say 'hey, you know, here's all those raises you should have had.'

It's never going to work that way. At best you will end up, like the woman down the street, in the HR department trying to explain how you've been a good little worker and bowed your head every time the assistant manager slapped you on the butt or made a rude and sexual comment about your body. Why you, the person who has worked the longest with this person, never did anything about it.

They aren't going to give her the martyr award, by the way. At best, she might keep her job... but since she was willing to sit still for all of this for three long years -- which encouraged the person to just keep doing it with others -- they are likely going to think that maybe she deserves what she got -- because stupid and martyr do not equal the same things.

And why did she stay? Well, she had put all that time into the job already. It was close to home. She didn't like to look for work. It was only a job...

It's a life, people. Everything you do is part of your life, and if you let people walk all over you because it's easier, or you have some skewed vision of 'doing the right thing' then there's not much hope it will get better.

You are never going to get that time back. And you're never going to get your dignity back if you can't even stand up and say 'time to move on' and find something better.

Go for it. Enjoy life. This is your only chance to save this day.
This blog has a bad habit of changing the code back after I've made corrections. If I glare at it, do you think it will stop?
I may have worked it out. Ack. I need to get to work on other things, you know. Ah well. At least I'm getting some keystorkes in for the pulse, right? ack...

Okay, have I got the code worked out this time?

And are the comments showing?

And is there a reason I'm still messing with this thing?
Okay, have I messed it up again?

I don't know why I have so much trouble with this blogger thing. I've obviously lost all hope of coding again... and you know, I'm kind of happy about that. It's not the work I want to do. (grin) But still, I feel pretty stupid some days when I look at this and realize I just can't see the problems...

testing two...

Testing three...

And another test...
Well, yes. I did mess the template up and I've gone back to the original version. (grin)

I'll get this right yet!
test again and edit and post
Well, okay. That's better. My left foot was so badly swollen for most of the day that I couldn't get my shoe on. Is at on the recliner and grumbled a lot. Hot day. No AC. Foot hurt. Not a good mood.

I didn't even have my Visor because I was in too bad of a mood to use it. But that didn't turn off my mind. And by the time the foot was somewhat better, I had come up with a great new addition to my new novel that I am doing the worldbuilding for. I sat down and did a little mapping, even.

Then I came back to the computer and learned to nice things. First, Aubreyan is now available at Fictionwise, and second was a nice note saying Dark Moon Rising accepted a story for the August issue.

So, not such a bad day after all, even though I have given up all hope of going out on my world building trip.

Monday, July 15, 2002

I think I found a major problem with the short story I'm rewriting, and I may even have gotten it fixed... mostly. I think the fix went too long, but the story overall will be better for it. All I have to do is survive to get it all settled into place. That doesn't seem very likely at the moment.

I'm hot, uncomfortable, and both of my feet hurt for totally unrelated reasons.

I'm going to rest for a few minutes. This is rediculous, but at least I'm getting there... Somewhere...

Sunday, July 14, 2002


47,496 plus the 2529 and what do I have?

50,025 words. LOL. I said it woud come in right around 50,000. And even with all the cutting I did to get rid of some really horrible plotting -- as well as just skip over entire conversations that went nowhere -- I still had it pegged. And it's midnight. Good time to have finished.
Okay, another short break for the journal and a little food. I think I can get the last of the draft done now. Yay, yay! I want to get this finished so I can map out the additional material to it! And I would really like to work on something else for a little while as well. I think it might be a good idea to put a little distance between myself and the series for a few weeks, so that I don't get too anxious to have it done and mess up.

But right now... back to work on book 4. I'll come back when I'm done.
45,699 and on to page 90. That's 90 of the original material, by the way. The new is at page 228.

But I have to take another break here and do my regular journal entry. There won't be much to it, but picking out the picture might be difficult.

A couple hours break while I sorted out my headache, a resurgance of feeling yucky, and a bout of 'le'ts just nap' from my two brain cells. We seem to have gotten it all settled, and I'm back with the hope I can get through the last of the story.

Also, had a nice good-news letter that Fables should be back up in a few days. Their server fried. Would That It Were may yet be up and ready for viewing soon!

I'm still on page 89, but at 45,258 words. Lots to cut. Problem to solve. Not much more to go.
45,039. On to page 89.

And a plot hole. Bad place to find one, though not as bad as it would have been if I had not found it at all.

Ah... I can see the way around it. Easily, in fact. Well, that was much better than I had hoped.

Back to work. Only about 4 pages left to go. obviously the word count isn't even going to be as good as I hoped, but that's all right. This story is so bare-boned that I can see the heart beating. Not far to go, though, and I can start working on the outline of the expanded story.
44,249 at the end of page 87. Very close to ending this battle. So much stuff that doesn't belong here in the story at this crucial moment.
Break. A little one. I'm having trouble with this scene, and I would like to get it as close to right the first time as possible. I think I'm going to cut most of the dialogue here. It's dragging an action scene down. But I am doing well enough.

To be honest, I don't think I'm quite as up to this as I thought I would be. Tired out far too quickly, even when all I'm doing is typing. Odd. But I've had this cold/flu stuff for a few days, and I'm probably not quite as up to stuff as I think I should be. Probably lucky to be working at all, in fact.

Break seems a good idea. I'll go find out what's happening on the site. And maybe nap.... (grin)
43,799 and another page down. That's page 87 out of 93, by the way. And the total for the story is 46,328 counting the couple thousand plus that I did before the dare.

Going to take quite a bit to get this one up to the proper word count, but that's not a surprise. With the exception of Abby, they've all been that way. It'll be fun to work with some entirely new material this time. I know the type of stuff I want to add, too. It's become increasingly obvious as I worked through the novel.

Closer and clsoer to done.
43,062 and another page down. Doing well so far. I hope this keeps going... though right at this moment I have to feed creatures. (grin)
42,322 and the end of that page.

And only two chapters left, one very long, another shorter piece. Good, good. It's going well, even if my fingers don't want to type today.
The first page is done -- 42,092. A bit more there than I expected.

However the next page is only a few paragraphs. A lot of very short chapters here during the battle, while I move from one POV to another. But it is going well, obviously. Good to have a day like this!

Oh, and it's actually 11 pages of material, though a few of them are so short that it will hardly matter.

Back to work...
Okay, here's the deal. I have ten pages of original manuscript left. These are about 300-500 words each, depending on how is dialogue. That means only about 5,000 more words, right? I can do that.

So I am going to finish this run through Dacey's Dream today. I'm close. This is by no means the end of the rewrite... this is just culling all I can from the original manuscript before I go in and do new chapters and such.

My starting count is 41213. All of that has been written in July, by the way, so I'm not doing as badly as I thought. I can get through this.
Back for a new day. I might possibly get the first draft of Dacey's Dream done if I really sit down and put my head to it. Although Russ and I do have to go out sometime this afternoon for a bit so maybe I shouldn't get too invovled. Yet. I feel a surge of writing coming on, I think. I'm ready for it, but it might not be ready for me.

You know, I think I'll suggest we go out now rather than start typing on the work and get called away.

Okay, false start. Be back later... (grin)
Ah, and just as I post that, an email from one of my other publishers discussing yet another book... I hope to have the copy edits of The Good People of Coralville in my hands soon. I'm getting ... well, if not exactly good at this editing stuff, at least used to it.

Time to work on something new though. Really. I was going so well on Dacey's Dream, but the break for all the editing does draw away from that. I should do better on my time scheduling of writing. But I don't. I suppose I should really stop worrying about that part and just do the work, right?

Starting count for the night: 40,083 (plus another 2529 of pre-dare words).

The good news is that I have finally done almost the very last really honestly edits on Living in Caine's Hold. Now I have to go over the last 100 or so pages with Russ. He's been a great help with this particular book, and will probably be a lot of help with others too. The problem is that he's just launching his own writing career with a ten article series for which he's going to get about $5000. So, you know, that kind of takes precedence over my novels.

I hope that he gets his work done early tomorrow so that we can go over this stuff. We'll be out of town on Monday if all goes well. This is a trip we were going to take on the weekend of the 4th, and still haven't been able to pull it off. Research trip, by the way... mostly for his articles and partly for a book I intend to write.

I have not actually done my writing tonight. I'm going to start that now and do about a thousand words and call it good. The editing, of course, takes far more work than writing new text, but I do enjoy it. I just wish I could get a better word count out of it. (grin)

Saturday, July 13, 2002

Test, test, test...
I'm bound to keep playing around with this. I'm just still sick enough that concentrating on anything much at all is a bad idea. But I have wanted to change things for my blog, and this seems like the best way to do it.

Huh. That one is much easier to read, even without messing with it. Good. I think I can work with this. I have plans... (grin) Like a little test...... and one more... and again...
Okay, a different look then...
Another test... Isn't this fun? And editing this test to see if it changes again...

One more edit. And why have the arcives gone odd when they were fine a moment ago?

Who knows. I think this thing just doesn't like me much today. Going back to original to see if it is right this time.

Oh, I like the new look, even if it doesn't work as well with the regular journal. I do need to change that upper color, though. And I am going to add comments soon. But overall, not bad at all. I can work with this.

I can never remember which book I have that has the color codes in it, though. I want ot get rid of that orange at the top. If I find it, I'll change that.
This is a test...
So, are we working better today?
And can I get this one to post? Trying again...

Friday, July 12, 2002

I've barely written 300 words. I've wandered around the Internet a bit and checked other things... but my head is not into this writing stuff tonight. 1000 words and I'm going to call it quits. I can get that far. Right?

I think I'm finally narrowing down a theme for an on going discussion here. If I do, I'll even look at comments and archives.

Not publishing...
I'm ill. I'm not terribly surprised by this. I could feel it coming on for the last few days, but kept pretending it was just a bad mood. I slept today. I slept a lot. Got up. Fixed dinner. Ate. Slept again. I'm not even going to pretend that I'll get a lot of work done today. I don't care.

At least the weather is cooler. I would hate to feel this way and be so miserably hot at the same time.

I don't want to think about writing. But that's what got me up, of course.

This is not posting. Test...
The Buffys were good. I enjoyed the last two shows, much better than any of their earlier two show sets, I think. And now I want to see the Angel series as well. Oh, and the next season of Buffy would be very nice, wouldn't it?

But in other things... argh. Just can't seem to get moving. I would like to get up to 40,000 on the novel tonight. Should have been there last night. I don't know why I'm not getting there.

Just not a good attitude right now. Odd. Things are going well enough. I'm not having trouble with the novel. I have enough other ideas plaguing me to keep me from getting bored. I'm sleeping pretty well. Headaches have eased with the return of fair weather.

But I'm just not moving very well on the novel. And that annoys me. And that, of course, makes it harder to write. Stupid stuff, right?

I'm sure I'll be past it in a day or two. No reason to rush, after all.
I think I've been... surging is a good word. Lots of work one day, very little the next. I've gotten just a bit over 1000, and while I'm not stalled... I'm not exactly motivated, either. I do believe it might be Buffy time. The last four shows of second season are calling to me.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

I've spent this afternoon catching up on everything but writing. Agenda is done and out for tomorrow. I'm going to be writing soon. I think I needed to pull back for a few hours and just relax. The weather is lovely and I'm actually relaxed now. Good. But can I write? I don't know... (grin) I'm kind of betting it won't be too much of a problem.

Closing in on 6,000 for the day so far. I may well go on. It's going very well. I'm having a good time tonight. Cool enough that I even turned the AC off for a abit and just using the fan. The trouble with that is that it blows my hair, and I hate that.

But Dacey's Dream, as I expected, is moving along much better than Crystal did. It will, of course, run short. They all do. But I see enough open holes in this one that I think I could write an entire new novel to fill them. (grin)

I don't want to be tired, but that may win out as well. We'll see. I'm sitting at exactly 38,800 words for the novel, 36,271 since the start of the dare. Hmmm... even with some really bad days, that means I've done about 4,000 a day just on this piece. Good.

Time to get back to work.

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

I'm doing better today. Moving right along with Dacey -- about 4500 words so far, I think. Good. This also brings it very close to 40,000 and 'novel' length. I don't think I'll make it that far tonight, but it's nice to see it so close. The last novel drove me nuts with the length of time it took to actually get anywhere with it. This one is better. I see several places where I need to add some material. I'll be intersted in seeing how long it takes to actually get it all done.

We had lovely storms early this morning, and the day stayed cool. Very nice. I took pictures and got a few lightning shots. Those aren't easy to get with a digital camera. With a 35mm, I would just set everything on Manual, and open all the way up, waiting for a few lightning stikes before I went on to the next shot. I'm really surprised that I've done as well as I have.

Okay. Time to do my regular journal, and then get back to work on the novel...

Well no. I haven't been writing. Several odd things happened. There was almost a storm... I could see the lightning off to the north, so I got out the camera and took a few pictures. Better than nothing.

I had just finished my bio, blurb and picture for Double Dragon Ebooks when Writer's Exchange Epublishing asked for the same for a different book. No word when it will be out, but I got all that material done and off to Sandy tonight. Yay!

Then... I found that I had made some major mistakes with Vision. I think I caught most of them. but I've asked for people who wrote for the issue to check to make certain. The last thing I want is to find out about mistakes after I do the other two versions!

For the moment, until I hear from anyone else, I am free to write again. This is good. Dacey is actually moving along very well, and I think I'll have this draft done in a week or so. Then I'll go in and add all the new material that I've been considering and bring it up to about 80,000. I see it going to about 55-60,000 in this draft. If I'm lucky.

Back to work...

Tuesday, July 09, 2002

And Aubreyan is now available!
30,296. I got sidetracked by food and Russ needed to use the computer for a little bit. But I'm back now. It's still hot. I'm still not happy with it.

I see that there is a huge storm out by O'Neil. I wonder if it will wander this far. Usually when they start up that far away they aren't much by the time they reach us... if they're even heading in the right direction. From what I can tell, this one is mostly going to miss us. I wonder if I could get Russ to go for a nice long drive... (grin)
29,532. I feel like I could use a little break, but I also feel as though I should get to the end of this chapter and the 30,000 mark. Word count wins out, of course. I'll do a little more work.
28,873. Good. I had hoped to make 30,000 and it looks like I might not have much trouble with that... though I've probably cursed myself now.

I am having a strange problem with my keyboard, and Russ thinks it might be the humidity. It's gotten stiff. Makes it harder to type, and my right hand is actually getting sore from it. But I am typing away and getting a good amount done anyway.

I'm up to Rimsky-Korsakov, by the way... The Wedding march from the Golden Cockerel. Very nice, quick paced music.
Ah. That's better. 27,160. A thousand words, and that didn't take too long, either.

I have a small desk. How is it the cover to a CD can disappear on something this small?

I'm in an odd music mood today. No more Yaz... (and how many of you even remember Yaz, huh?). Instead it's off to a spattering of classical. I haven't played any classical in quite a while. I'm even going with something very traditionally classical to start with -- Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition.
Well, I haven't actually started writing yet. I will. I am ready. I just had to get a few other things out of the way.

My starting count is 26,131. I'm off and... crawling, actually. But I'll get moving here soon.
Okay, the weather is a bit better. Cooler, but unfortunately, the clouds are clearing off now and it's bound to get nasty again. Argh. I've been up for about an hour, trying to kick my brain in, but it's not cooperating today. I would really like to get some work done, but I feel like a total slug. I just want to sleep. My arms feel too heavy to lift up and type. This is not a good combination for getting any work done...

Days pass...

The heat is oppresive. I spent a good amount of today in bed, too hot and ill to get up and do anything. I'm feeling better now, although my head feels like it's going to explode still. I'm just no where near as ill as I have been.

Russ is waiting for a check to arrive. When it arrives, we get a new AC unit for the living room area, and we'll be much better people for it. I hope to be able to get some work done tonight, though. It's been a long few days, and I need to get back on track.

Sunday, July 07, 2002

Well yes. Hello there.

I'm working on Vision now. I hope to have it up before I go to bed tonight. It's hard to say. I've had a lot of work to get done on other things, and some of it was even fun. I have a new story up at Fables that I think is one of the really funny stories I've written. I have a new novel that will be up at Double Dragon EBooks in a few days. Life is moving. I'm not sure I'm ready to move with it.

The weather is horrible. It's hot, miserable stupid weather and it can quit now. I'll take winter back.

But right now, off to work!

Saturday, July 06, 2002

I hate nights like this. Well, maybe not entirely hate. I've had worse. But dinner didn't agree with me, the agenda took me hours to get into shape... it took me a long time to figure out the reason the table kept moving is because they had anchored it improperly, so it kept jumping up into the header... I should have figured it out sooner, but I had baked just enough in the heat today to have lost a few brain fuctions.

Writing... I did some. I wanted to do more.

And now, alas, my worldbuilding trip is off. It doesn't matter in some ways... As much as I would like to write this novel, I suppose I can just put it off for the time being. But I had really been looking forward to the trip because I was having a great time with the worldbuilding. I suspect I might as well just set this one aside for now. If we get to the town later , fine. I'm not going to count on it. Russ has a major project going on, and may be called back to work in New York again in a few weeks, so I suspect we won't have a chance at this trip. The only reason it worked for my part of the trip was because we were going down for some research he needed to do. Now he says he can do the work without going back.

We will be out of town tomorrow, though. I'm not sure this is the best idea for me... but we're going to a BBQ in Omaha. It will be nice to see everyone, but heat and I do not agree -- part of the reason I'm ill tonight -- and it's supposed to be in the 90's tomorrow. Argh.

Ah well.

Thursday, July 04, 2002

We just watched Independence Day. Odd...

Of course you can see the World Trade Center towers in the New York scenes. That was disconcerting enough. But worse, of course, was watching the buildings blow up and fall down. Nevertheless, it is a good movie. Not the best ever made, but exciting enough.

I'm hoping to drag Russ out for a little while to get a few fireworks pictures tonight. I love getting those shots. We'll see. It was miserably hot watching the movie -- no AC in that part of the house -- and even with two fans I started feeling pretty ill by the end. So ill, in fact, that I'll haven't been able to concentrate on anything since I came back to my office.

Have I mentioned in the last five minutes how much I hate this weather?

Russ will be out of town tomorrow. He says that if a check comes in, he's going to be an AC for the other part of the house. I pointed out that this is a sure way to make certain we are hit by unseasonably cold weather. He feels the price is worth it...
Happy 4th!

Or happy Lady Jane Pudge-ums and Princess Cricket Day, if you hang around this house. This is their tenth birthday. They still don't like all the fireworks.

I'm having a hard time settling into work today. My mind refuses to kick in right, partly because I didn't sleep well, and then had to get up when I finally did get to sleep. Ah well, life is really horrible, isn't it?

Time to kick this up and see about getting at least a little writing done.

Long writing day. No brain left...

Will not be going anywhere before Saturday. More days to write, if I can find my brain again. But not tonight. I'm just dead now...

Wednesday, July 03, 2002

Just a quick note to point out that I still have no life, but at least I'm writing a lot. Not as much as yesterday, but a good day nonetheless. I did get started way too late, though. Well, maybe tomorrow, unless we go off on our trip...

Who knows, maybe if we go somewhere, I might find a life there and bring it home...

Tuesday, July 02, 2002

And on to another day. I'm starting out with web work for the tourism department... kind of interesting stuff, really. However, I haven't done anything for them in so long that I'm having trouble accessing their site again. I always hate it when things take longer than they should.

I am also back to editing on the non-dare novel. It's going well in those moments when I'm waiting for one thing or another to upload/download/scan/whatever.

And yes, I know I write the most boring blog in the world. I'm still looking for a theme to change the world, you see. In the mean time, you're stuck with me. Writing, cats, occasional trips. I'll try to put some photos in here. I might even add comments soon.

Who knows. I might even get an interesting life...
You know, it's bad enough to have the site down. Or chat. But to have both go down at the same time is just plain evil and should be outlawed, especially on the first day of the new dare. Well, especially on the day when I'm doing so well. I'm going to be heading to bed soon. I'm hopign to get about 400 more words on the worldbuilding notes for the new novel first, but I'm not certain I'll get that far.

It's been a very nicely productive day. And it cooled down tonight, and I'm going to take advantage of that and try to sleep for a while. It should be nice tonight, and I could use a little more sleep than I have been getting.

I'm pleased that Dacey's Dream is going so well right now. I hope that it continues this way... it will be (as usual) a short first draft, but I can get it all down and worry about fleshing it out afterwards. I would love to have this done in one month.

I still haven't quite decided which book I'm going to rewrite for the Dare. Yes, I have another book I'm working on in a rewrite -- a very serious rewrite, since it's sold. But I want to start a new one for the dare. I may hold off until I'm done with this one, though. That way, if it bogs down, I don't have to worry about getting the other one done as well. If it doesn't bog down, but keeps going as well as it has, then I'll have time for one of the shorter YA novels -- Waiting for the Last Dance, Differential Equations, or maybe even Circe's Gifts.

Short story rewrites are something else. I'll get to them soon and get a few new pieces out.

But right now... well, now I only have about 300 more words to do on the worldbuilding. So off I go!
I've written 6668 words so far today. It's going well. I'll have the first section of the book done before I retire tonight, which is good. I don't know if I will get anything else done, but I'm happy with such an excellent start. It may be that I will get this round of the novel done in good time, and have a chance to work on something else as well. That would be fun.

We were going to be gone tomorrow, but it looks as though the trip might be put off until Wednesday at the earliest. And we'll be going to Omaha sometime this weekend as well, so I'll lose some work time there. Yes, I know. I can't work all the time. I try, mind, you, but I just can't seem to get it down.

Despite a late start and a rather half-hearted feel for this off the start, I am doing quite well. I'm pleased. I haven't had such a good day in quite a while, and even if I fall short the rest of the way through the Dare, it's good to feel this way off the start. I like it. So, back to work to finish up this section!

Monday, July 01, 2002

Well, I talked to my sister for a little while, and that slowed down the project... but it was good to talk to her. She lives in Tuscon and we don't talk very often at all. Now, if she'd just get email, everything would be great.

I've managed 4466 words on Dacey so far today. That's good too, though I am starting to slow down. I would like to make it through another chapter, though, before I quit. Not sure if I will or not. And no, I have not gotten to any of the other dare things, yet.

We might be gone tomorrow. I'm not sure yet. Ah well, I might have quite a bit done before then anyway, so we'll see.

Right now... back to work.
Hi there. We are now into Dare mode. Not only that, but I joined the Project Dolphin thing that counts keystrokes... part of the team for Forward Motion. (grin)

I'm actually doing pretty well today so far. I've gotten the first dare chapter for Dacey done, and I'm working on the second one. I have other fun things to handle too, but Dacey is moving so well that I actually dont' want to quit and go work onsoemthing else. I should, though, before I go to bed.

It's still miserably hot here. I hate it. But we're surviving. I'm hiding out in my little room and getting writing done. The cats are shedding like... well, like cats. I take the dog out with me when I water my flowers and water her as well. She seems to like it a bit.

But now it's time to get back to work. No time to waste! I mean I only have two months on this dare, after all! (grin)