Thursday, July 31, 2003

Okay! I've gotten some odd things done today, still managed a couple thousand words on one of my strange projects, and I'm goign to get settled in for some good writing tonight. Russ is off visiting a friend who is in the area for the first time in three years. Then Russ leaves for New York early tomorrow. Everything looks pretty nearly set here for now.

Hard to believe that this is the end of July already, though. I am just squeaking by on work. And I don't really feel much like working at all, I'm sorry to say. I'm not sure why. I think it's an increasing feeling of having done it all before. (grin)

I might just need to rearrange my office or something. That often helps.

Okay, back to work on something...

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Well, I can tell this day isn't going to go real well. Pip is sick. I'm sick. My head is pounding, my cats are screaming...

Just the day to escape into some fiction, I would think. It hasn't happened yet, but I keep hoping.

On an odd note, the work on Glory, while it has slowed down to about 500 words a day, is going very well. I've reworked the ending scene yet again, and I think I'm finally getting the feel of it. Time to move past it (or before it -- I'm working backwards through the novel) and get everything in shape.

I have redone the opening to Badlands as well, but I'm still not sure I am there on it.

I need to get to work.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Sunset in Nebraska...

I should mention now, and many times over the next month, that all the pictures I've posted in this blog are going to disappear on September 1. That's when the plug is pulled on the server I have used for years. There is no way I can set up a place to hold all the pictures I've used because the cost would be way too high for that much space.

I might have my own server -- slow connection, but plenty of room -- eventually.

Writing, as can be imagined, is not going extremely well the last few days. I've been working on mostly odd things, with a few hundred words on Glory and Badlands thrown in.

And that's about all I have to say right now. Russ goes to New York on Friday. I need to get myself fired up about something before then, or the four days he's gone are going to be awfully long...

Saturday, July 26, 2003

A good friend, writer Dona Vaughn, died of cancer today. I knew that she was very ill. I kept hoping for the best.

I want 2003 to get over with now. I really think this is enough.

Will this post in the right place? I doubt it...

Temperature 97 °F / 36 °C
HeatIndex 115 °F / 46 °C

I am hiding out in my office with the AC on. I have made sure the water bowl for the strays is full. Russ isn't home, and I think he has a class to teach tonight.

Storm clouds are starting to gather which, with temps and humidity like this could be very bad. Temps are supposed to drop more than 30 degrees...

Ah, the joys of working on the Agenda full of things that have to be corrected before you can hope that the PDF version will work...and with a server that seems to hate me these days. Now I can't seem to get the site to upload the material. I don't think it's asking too much that it let me upload the stupid stuff now that I've done all the work on it!

Headache. This thing is giving me a headache...

But it's almost done, one way or another. If it continues to give me problems, I'll send off the PDF and try for the other stuff a little later.

Oh, look. The weather bug just chirped again to remind me of the heat advisor (like I hadn't noticed the heat index is 108...)

While waiting for programs to do something (Complete the work or bomb out -- after a while I really don't care which), I've been reading a wonderful nonfiction book titled Treason by the Book. Every page is filled with wonderful little bits and pieces of fantasy material, from the way the government worked to the tales of women bandits in the Chinese provinces.

Last night I finished adding in all the scenes I had planned for Glory. Next I'll be working my way through the novel adding in description and explanation where it's needed. If I average 10 new words per page I can bring the total up to close to 100,000 words. Ten words is not that much -- a few colors, a scent, a sound... the things that should make the book come alive anyway. But it will be much slower going.

Not as slow as this cursed agenda, though. I think I'm going to have to stop the program, and restart the work of the upload.


Friday, July 25, 2003

I've had some good days of writing recently. Another 3000 tonight. I'm pleased. And tired.

I'm also having those little doubts a person gets while working. But maybe that's as much because I'm so tired as anything else.

So, I'm off to sleep for maybe quite a few hours. That would make a nice change.

I have work to do tomorrow. Web work, editing work... clean house work. And then writing.

And more writing. (grin)

Thursday, July 24, 2003

(This has posted out of order again. I don't know why it does that sometimes...)

I managed to write 4000 and some words last night, plus sell a short story. So all is well. But today is the first of the two agendas -- a short one for today, but there will be a longer one soon. I'll be happy to get it done and out of the way so that I can...

Ah, do a couple other web site things I need to get done.

And then write.


Tonight, a snippet from Badlands. This is mostly for the people in chat who have been following the story.

... She saw the last of the people part from between them, and faced a half dozen Los Gentes Rojos standing in a line, blocking their way. Taja's warning had helped; she never broke stride until she stood only a single step from Enrique. For a moment, his eyes flickered and he must have wondered if she would try to push right past him.

Stupid child, she thought. He had that childish look -- short and stocky, shaggy chestnut hair, sullen gray eyes, and a perpetual pout. Today he also had a bright ugly cut across his right cheek. His finger touched the spot and the glare he gave Angel told Carmen all she needed to know about how he got that wound. This wasn't getting any better.

"I don't have time to stand here, Enrique," she said. Her voice stayed cool and even, but strangers backed away nonetheless, and members of both gangs dropped their hands to their belt knives.

"I don't like you, Carmen," Enrique said.

"Fine. You don't like me. Call your puppies back and I won't bother you any more tonight."

He suddenly smiled back at her. It gave him a vicious, calculating look, but didn't make him appear any less of a child. Carmen cautioned herself to not fall into that trap. He couldn't really be as stupid as she thought. He wouldn't have held on to the Rojos even this long.

"Carmen, everyone says you went soft. You're too old to hold the Calles. I think they're right." He looked away fromher to the other Calles who stood at her back. "Aren't you ninos tired of always backing away from a fight? She's an old woman. What does she know about gang honor any more?"

Carmen had at least six years of gang fighting experience over Enrique, no matter how high up the ladder this infant had climbed. She proved it now. She drew her belt knife and took that last step forward. Her left hand caught startled Enrique by the shoulder (fool to have looked away!) and spun him around until his back pressed against her chest, and her knife rested against his neck.

Everyone -- his gang, her gang, and the outsiders -- looked stunned. Enrique stood stiff with rage in her hold, but she finally learned he really wasn't as stupid as he looked. He refrained from fighting with certain death pressed at his neck.

"What do you think would happen if I slit your throat right now, General de Los Rojos? Do you think your gang would consider your death worth open warfare? Maybe they'd decide that they need someone with intelligence, maybe some experience, to lead them. Don't play these games with me, Enrique."

She pulled the knife aside without even scratching him, hard as that proved to be right then. She shoved the leader of the Rojos toward his people, and by the time Enrique had recovered, she and her Calles had gone past. She didn't look back.

Show no weakness.

"And you told me to stay out of trouble?" Angel said.

"You the one who cut his face?"


"You didn't mention that to me."

"I didn't think you'd really want to know."


Tuesday, July 22, 2003

I am not leaping into work just yet. We have some lovely clouds, so I went out and did pictures. A cool day, too! Now, if I can just get past the bit of a headache and actually look at something...

I am so close to finally really finishing the first draft of Glory that I'm likely to just run with it soon and go all the way to the end.

Yes, I know that I said I had the first draft done a while back... but after I cut the ending I realized I could no longer really claim that it had been finished. And adding some 20,000 words to it... well, I've done 21,000 at this point, and I still have maybe 5 to 10,000 or more to go. It was about 73,000, then dropped to 67,000 when I cut the ending, and now I'm up to 88,000. I hope to get it closer to 100,000 -- and as strong as the story is going, I think I can do it. I might be able to do that by the end of the month.

Then it gets set aside for a while again before I do the real edit on it. I hope that it all holds together.

The Badlands Submission Project is going along pretty well, too. I hope to have it done about the end of thos month as well. Then I'm going to look at one of the contemporary YA novels to submit somewhere. I think I need to branch out a bit.

I also have a last read-through and such to do on my chapbook submission package. I need to do the cover letter to that one as well.

Yes... busy. But having a good time!

And tonight... over 5,000 words.

And three raccoons. I wish I could have gotten some good pictures of them!

Anyway, the writing has gone very well, obviously. I'm up to 52 pages on Badlands. I'm going to 100 and then doing the synopsis and that stuff. Then I'll ship it off and go to the next novel. I hope to get two or three of them out before the end of August.

I should do stuff like this more often. I get too caught up in 'new' and don't do enough with the older material I have more than enough to work with. And it's not like I fear rejection slips. A lot of it is lazyness.

I'm done with writing for the night, at least. I'm going to work on a couple other projects and relax for a bit.

Monday, July 21, 2003

Okay. I did all right. 3176 for the night, and introduced one of my favorite characters. Over 10,000 words on Badlands so far, and 87,000 on Glory. And now... time for sleep!

But it was a good night.

When I woke up early today, my first thought was that I would spend the day writing. I even had a plan for several thousand words, everything all laid out, ready to go...

By the time I reached the computer that day was already blown to hell, so to speak. I remembered that I needed to get the two downloadable versions of Vision done, first off. And, of course, that's never as easy as I think it should be. Not any real problems while doing it, but still annoying now and then.

I got it done. I got it uploaded. I went to have a nice salad at Perkins with my husband... And he asked if I had done the work on the other site. Huh? Well, it seems that someone sent material for their web site, but they sent it on his email address and it dropped into his box. He had seen it, but hadn't realized where it had been. So... I spent more time working on that.

It's almost 1am. I have not yet written anything but a quick little critique. I'm going to be lucky to get 500 words done.

Days like this just happens sometimes, of course. You never know what will come up.

On the other hand, having gotten all this work done tonight... maybe I will have a chance to write all day tomorrow...

Saturday, July 19, 2003

I have an idea for a new sf novel.


Having an idea is not bad. And this one just sprang up out of nowhere, taking over my brain while I tried to sleep. It's going to take a good amount of research, but writing it will be easier. Of course, writing is always easier for me. But still...

I'll be doing the research on it. Okay, I'll likely be doing a lot of research on it... but I think I will have fun.

Yes, there are the other projects. Don't worry. I'll still be working on them. But this one is something that will allow me to pull out some science books and do a bit of reading in them. I'm going to need to create a space station and some reason for it's existance -- planet, important star, observation post...

I'm going to go work on Glory right now and let my brain play with this one a bit more before I even start to look for information. I don't want to go leaping all over searching for info before I define my needs. I can kind of get caught up in that sort of fun and lose track of what I want. Or have it mutate so much that I can no longer get a real grip on it.

Ah, but it's going to be fun. I'm not going to do it like one of my normal books. Several people, each with their own stories, but some intertwining threads. Each story in a short story form. People will cross from one story to another, but the POVs will be different. Maybe six characters, and one more who has an on going story, moving between them, so that there are interludes where this person is pulling the main thread along.

Cat feeding time. I better go take care of that right now!

Friday, July 18, 2003

Yesterday turned out to be another great writing day. with a little over 5,000 words, most of them on Badlands. I haven't had a chance to get back to work yet today, but I'm almost there now. I've done the agenda -- the beast tried to be trouble, but I got it straightened out. And it is up and done, and life is good. I think.

I've managed to do my 1000 a day on Glory... and I've enjoyed it. I feared that trying to add 15-20,000 words was going to wear me down, and I think it would have if I'd try to do it all in one rush. I've played with the characters more than I usually do, drawing out little pieces at a time. I don't know that it will make a better novel, though. I'm waiting until I get all the way to the end, and then I'll go back and reread and do the real edit.

I have definitely decided on submission projects for the next couple months. I'm starting with Badlands. I'm also going to do at least one YA non sf/fantasy book, although I can't decide between Differential Equations and Waiting for the Last Dance. There is time to think about it.

So, now I get to go open Glory and do that work before I turn to Badlands again. I also have a short story I want to rework and get out. Another non-genre piece that I think I can sell, if I can just find the right market.

Okay. I'm about ready to go write now!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

The days keep kind of slipping past me. In a good sort of way, actually. I've been getting some serious work done. I finished a short story (The Magic Place, now called Uncertain Waters), and I finally made a decision on a book submission. This was a very difficult choice because it didn't matter which one I did, it would have to have a rewrite. I was going to go with Glory. I think Glory is a great book... but it's not even done yet, and I need to let it sit for a while before I do a rewrite. So I started looking at some of the books that I've been hording for a while. Three of them leapt up and started screaming 'me, me, me.'

I think I've settled on Badlands. I started reworking the first chapter last night. The opening pages have so many infodumps that my eyes starting glazing over, and I barely got 1000 words done... but the new ones are much better.

This isn't an edit. It's a complete retype everything from scratch version. The story is the same. The prose is entirely different. I have not worked on this novel since about 1997. It is amazing how much I've learned in that time.

And I've enjoyed those first 1000 words. So now I have two projects -- a thousand words on Glory and a thousand words on Badlands. Glory will be done soon, at least in this draft. Badlands is over 100,000 words long. I expect to be working on it for some time... but it's a good thing to do.

See, I tend to write things... and then go for the easy stuff to submit. Badlands has not been out since about 1998. It made it through Ace's slush pile and a rewrite before being turned down because they wanted a story that had more of a space opera feel -- wider scope than just one world.

I put Badlands away after that and haven't seriously looked at it in years. When I pulled it out this time... It felt right.

I'm starting to feel like a more serious writer again. How odd.

So, off I go to work on Glory and Badlands, and maybe a few other things just for fun.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

After a couple days of feeling absolutely lousy, the fever broke about 8pm last night. I then wrote 3000 words and had a very good time. Almost a giddy time in, some ways.

I got up today and did some work around the house before I came in here to sit down. I have two pieces I'm working on today, Glory and the short story, A Magic Place. I finally realized where A Magic Place fits in my storyline for that particular set of characters. It's going to make writing the ending all the better... though, in fact, it may go far longer than I anticipated. We'll see. It's all ready over 10,000 words.

Glory is up over 81,000. Not too bad, all in all. The adding 1000 words a day is both confining and liberating. Confining in that I usually really want to write more... but liberating because I can focus on such a small piece for a change, that I don't feel like I need to leap and run with every word. Since 1000 has been my minimum goal per day for years, it works very well in that respect, too. I can work on the novel, spend hours on those few words and editing the material around it, and still do fine in word count.

Last night many of us tried a new mini-goal type of writing in chat. 100 words at a shot. Great for those nights when you really want to chat, but need to get the writing done. It was kind of funny. Every few minutes someone would say they were going for another 100... and we'd all leap into our WIPs, work for a few minutes, and then start talking again.

Russ will be home tonight. There has been a problem with the email server the entire time he was gone... people are unhappy. Well, considering the entire server is going away in a month and a half (along with many of my sites, like my regular journal and the zoo site), they're going to have to get used to it.

Okay... is it time to write now?

Yeah, I think I kind squeeze 100 words in. (grin)

Sunday, July 13, 2003

Somewhere around 4am this morning I hit 500,000 words for the year.

Not bad, especially since I hadn't planned on it. I almost missed it, in fact -- but I was feeling a little uninterested in writing much, and took a look at the numbers on my spread sheet. Seeing that I was so close gave me the little push to write a couple thousand words.

I'm mostly amazed because I've been doing far more editing than I did last year, and editing means no new words when I'm working on that stuff. I am farther than I had been last year at this time...

However, I did 180,000 words on the NaNo Month last year, and I really don't see myself doing that again. I could be wrong. I've done odd things before -- obviously -- but I'm not sure I see it this year.

Russ is off on a teaching expedition in South Dakota for the next couple days. I'm recovering from a bad bout of flu, or something akin to it. I'm going to be taking it easy while he's gone. So far, I've slept and fed the guys. Next step is to open a WIP or two and do some writing. I'm living on Tums, though. I hope to get past that, too.

Off to work. It's the best way for me to feel better. I pulled out one of the short stories -- A Magic Place -- last night to get at least 1000 of the words I needed. Amazing -- I fell right into the story, and now I want to finish it. Of course, I still have Glory to work on as well. I've been adding 1000 words a day to it, and quite happy.

I'm having some thoughts about Glory again. Like I'm not sure I should have cut that ending off... but rather moved the action in it up to another scene. I might do that still. I have the new scene blocked in, but I haven't filled out the action there yet.

Time to go write something...

Saturday, July 12, 2003

There. A query letter has gone out. I don't do those often enough, and I'm sure I didn't do this one well... but you have to start somewhere. I've been exchanging notes with the editor, and although she is not accepting any packages until August, she did say to go ahead and query early.

I could have sat and played with it for a few more days or weeks, but what's the use? It was as good as it was going to get. All I could have done is changed the words to make them different, not better.

Sometimes even something as simple and short as a query letter has to be released into the world.

So now it's back to the novel. I'm happy with what I've gotten tonight -- over 600 words so far -- and I think I should be able to make 1000 before I fall over dead again.

Friday, July 11, 2003

I let the kitten go back to mom and siblings this morning. He was way too upset when he could hear them right outside the window, and I couldn't do that to the little guy. At least he's still close by, and it's not like they're going to starve out there. In fact, he might have been a bit upset to learn the indoor cats don't get the canned food the outdoor guys do. They don't need the extra calories

Anyway, he was out there running around, so he's doing all right.

I had a horrible bout of sinus headache dizzyness for most of the afternoon, and I'm only now starting to get back to work. I need to get some writing done on Glory at the very least.

And then I'll likely sleep some more. It's just that kind of day.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Well... maybe not. He's been calm, but he went totally wild when I tried to feed him. Nearly destroyed my modem trying to get past it. I will not put him out in the middle of the night, but we'll see how he's doing at first light.

Russ brought some baby kitten milk home with him, and I managed to get a bit of it into his mouth. He even swallowed some. But I am beginning to think, despite the calm appearance, this one is not going to do well. I've had a lot of stray kittens, and you kind of get a feeling for them.

At any rate, I gave it a try. We'll see if he comes around in the next few hours. If not... well, he'll have had quite an adventure.

Ah... yes. That would be a kitten.

I grabbed one while he ate at the window today and brought him in the house. I'm not sure it will last. Not because he's too wild. He's very calm... too calm, in fact. And the other cats have ignored his presence so far. He's sitting on the desk beside me, in the cat carrier with the door open. I pet him every couple minutes. He has not hissed, growled, scratched or bitten. He did go crazy for the first few minutes he was in the house, but then he quieted right down.

If he eats tomorrow -- he won't right now -- I'll seriously consider keeping him in the house. I'd like to catch his brother, too. If he just keeps staying so still and upset, I'll likely turn him back loose. Over all, he'd have a much better life as a house cats. All my former strays have lived to at least 12 years old, while my outdoor strays rarely make it past three.

Writing? Yes, actually. I've gotten quite a bit done today, even with this distraction. And I'm going back to it...

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Hey, look! Two posts in one day!

I've discovered something interesting while working on Glory. I can only add about 1000 words a day on it, even though I do have several big scenes to write in. This isn't bad. The words I'm getting are very good, I think. I've been really pleased with the progress, little though it is. Still, at this rate, I should have the novel done in a month, so that's not bad!

I really am enjoying the work, too. I've always loved rewrites and edits, and this one is enough of a challenge to really keep my attention. I am going to try and work on the two unfinished short stories as well, but right now, this one is fun enough.

I'm up to 75,004. I want somewhere between 90 and 100,000 words when I'm done.

I really am still alive.

I'm back to work on Glory (AKA, Doors), and it's really dragged all my attention to it. Which is good. I want to be able to fall into this novel and get it right... Well, at least as 'right' as my skills will allow. I'm having a good time, and I've come up with a few new scenes that I really like.

Unfortunately, I need to add a lot more in words. But they are coming to me -- a bit slower than I would like, but fitting where they should, and filling in some of the blanks that I hadn't even noticed the first time through.

Loud thunder! Yes, storms again tonight. It doesn't look like anything serious on our end, and I do love to hear a storm.

Getting late. My mind is starting to wander. I think I'll upload this and get to bed soon!

Sunday, July 06, 2003

I have come up with my writing project for this month. It's to add 20-30,000 words to Glory. Glory used to be Doors, Which used to be The First Open Door. It is now the first of a trilogy. I always knew there would be more stories -- that's obvious from the ending of the first one. But now I have the titles and the first hints of plots. The titles are Glory, Dreams and Eternity.

The main character's name is Glory, so this works very well for the first book. Or at least I think so this week.

I cut some material near the end of book one to start out book two instead. That dropped the book down to about 67,500 words. I added in around 3000 words last night from notes I'd been doing. Now the question is whether I can do that for another ten days or so. (grin)

Anyway, I'm excited and happy about it. I like this book. I snippeted it chat last night and got a good reaction, too.

Other work is going well, too.

Obviously, I'm getting back into the swing of things!

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Projects to the right of me. Projects to the left of me... will I actually ever get any of them done?

Not likely. But you know... I'm having a good time working on them. And my file cabinets are about 2/3rds organized again. I have to clear one complete drawer of junk out and use it for actual story stuff. LOL.

I also have found that I don't have printed copies of all the stories I've sold. I have copies printed from the websites -- I keep notebooks of those -- but many of the stories I wrote and sold directly to ezines never made it to print. For that matter, neither did the latest copies of some of the books. I'll be doing that over the next few days. Bought an entire case of paper, just to make certain I'd get through them all.

Had a pretty good day today, including the absolutely incredible rain storm while at Pizza Hut. I just got the city agenda work done and mailed off, too.

And now... back to work on something fun!

Thursday, July 03, 2003

I can't tell if I'm farther behind or finally catching up. I had computer problems last night, right after I uploaded Vision. I am so grateful it waiting until that long! I spent the night doing handwritting stuff and cleaning out my file cabinets. I actually felt productive doing it.

And today I came up with the clear plan of how to fix the ending of First Open Door or whatever the hell the title is this time around. It does mean moving a set of scenes at the end of the novel to a second book which really isn't that much of a surprise.

I still have a few more things to do on the Access project, too. Then I'm going to show it to a couple people and get their ideas on it. I can't believe how much fun I had doing it! In fact... I think I'm going to go check something out right now, and see if I can do it. (grin)

I also have several handwritten pages for a new short story. I've had the first couple pages for a few weeks, but last night allowed me to pull some more of it together. It was one of the short stories on my 'to do' list that I posted here a while back, but I can't remember what I called it then. The name now is The Sins of Youth.

The temp is 97 °F / 36 °C with a heat index of 108 °F / 42 °C . I'm going to just hide for a while...

Hmmm... type of first part of story, work on Access program, clean out last drawer of file cabinet, clean up and archive a bunch of stuff from computer.... Yeah, I can be busy for a while!

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Oh. A couple days without posting!

Nothing really drastic going on. I do have a project in Microsoft Access that I'm in love with and can't think of hardly anything else. Lucky for me it involves a lot of writing, or I'd be in trouble on my word counts!

Vision is going to be a day or two late while I work out a glitch. Things should be fine there soon.

And now, back to my project -- which I will announce soon, I think. I'm really having a great time with it! I needed something just a little bit different to get my brain moving again, and this seems to be the perfect answer. I'm having a great time!