Tuesday, August 31, 2004

A Good Four Days!

Over 40,000 words in four days, plus another sale of a short story to DDP and most of Vision done and ready to go up.

Days like that are fun. I don't want to do 10,000 words a day every day, but it's great for the short run. Even in NaNo I don't get much past the first week with 10,000 word days.

Written in the Sand is a joy to write. The opening moved too slowly, but openings are often that way for me, and in the edit I'll likely rework and cut a good amount of material. The outline is wonderful. 80 some entries, and I have them marked at 1000 words each, but they're almost all going over that word count.

I want to go back to work at it now, but I really can't keep doing 10,000 word days. I do have other things that need to be done. Really. But you know, it probably won't hurt to go for 5,000, right?

(Slaps fingers)

Sunday, August 29, 2004

And Raven is off. Well, you know, I could get used to this working in the morning if it weren't so damned bright out.

I had something odd happen with Raven. Right as I was preparing to send it off I had to write a short blurb, and in writing the blurb I chanced upon something that the story needed, so I went back in and rewrote it yet again. Much better. So the story is off to the publisher, and I can get on with whichever challenge I want to do today.

And look, it's just noon.

Good morning.

I mean seriously, Good Morning.

I rarely get up this early, partly because (like last night) I don't go to bed before 5 or 6 am. However, this cold is playing havoc with me today, and since Russ had things to take care of elsewhere, I got up and went to work on the computer. I'm not back to Labor of Love or Unfinished Business yet, though. I have a submission I need to get in, and I'm just about done with it. Then I'm going to work on Paid in Blood and Gold. I keep feeling drawn to it, and I figure I might as well work on it then. It would be nice to have a really good amount done on it today.

Right now, though, I'm going to get Raven done and off to the publisher.


It's very late. I should have been in bed hours ago. However, it is Labor of Love at Forward Motion, and I have been enjoying the work, despite having a horrid cold. Or maybe because I have it -- I can't sleep without choking so I might as well sit here and work. I've written over 20,000 words in two days on a new novel Written in the Sand (was The Sand and the Wind). I'm considering moving over to Unfinished Business and making a run for the end of Paid in Blood and Gold instead of going farther on the new one. I keep feeling guilty that I had been doing so well on that novel and then just dropped it for the challenge. LOL. We'll see.

What else is going on? Can anything else be going on when you write that much? I'm sure things happened around me. I didn't notice. I had a lovely note from someone thanking me for the work at Forward Motion, which is always nice.

On the other hand, I had an amusing (and annoying because of the timing) run in with a couple romance writers who couldn't get it through their heads that I wouldn't list their books at Estand not because they were Romance, but because I do not list individual books or authors. It's a site for Electronic Publishers. It was amazing. The odd thing is that they weren't the first Romance writers I've had this problem with, so I think somewhere there is a list with some faulty information. At any rate, if I didn't know so many truly nice Romance writers, in both print and electronic format, I would really start worrying. These people can be downright rude and pissy! Okay, I've had to deal with rude sf and fantasy writers as well, but they aren't quite so persistent. (grin)

But overall, life is good. Forward Motion is running wonderfully. I have some of the most helpful, wonderful moderators in the world. These people really get out there and work. Some of the ones who have been there for a while have been retiring this year, and I fully understand that. It's a lot of work for nothing, and at least with Holly there they had the ability to say they were moderators at a site for a name author. They've been wonderful, and even though some of the moderators have stepped down -- for life reasons, for work reasons, and whatever other reasons -- it has been a very polite move, and they've all stayed at the site and continued in ways that are not quite so demanding.

I love Forward Motion. I couldn't have said that a year ago, when I had just taken over. I had worries about everything I did, and we had troubles with people who stirred things up (whether intentionally or not) right away, so I learned quickly that it's best to just step in, take action, and move on. That's the way the site has gone for this year, and you know... we've more than doubled in size, we continue to grow, and we have far fewer problems than we ever did before. The site is maturing. It's not that I took over, it's that FM reached a stage where the people who know what they want sorted out their priorities, and because they have those set and are working toward them, the people who join in later are pulled into that level as well.

I'm looking at new things to add, new approaches to try. The site grows but it grows in a good direction and toward a goal. And it's great to be part of it.

And I think I should be getting some sleep!

Friday, August 27, 2004

Today starts the Labor of Love and Unfinished Business dares at Forward Motion.

Last night I got horribly ill and spent most of today curled up in bed.


But I'm moving along on The Wind and the Sand. Current count is 4042, which isn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be since it's only coming up on 5pm. I don't know how long I'll stay up today, but if I make 5000 words that's not too bad. I think I might do better. Except for being dizzy when I get up, I seem to be feeling better over all. Russ had this flu stuff a few days ago. I should have realized it would hit at the worst time for me!

I might be late with Vision this month. I should probably concentrate on that rather than writing, but it makes my head pound. Maybe later tonight.

Oh! I have a new story available at Double Dragon:

Year of the Fire Rat
$1 or free with the purchase of Aubreyan

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Cute Willow

I have about 1/3rd of Vision done. This is really good. It's going together well, and it looks great. The only bad part is that I'm sure I'm missing some articles, and it's driving me mad. I generally keep everything in a special mailbox for Vision, and clear it out as I use it. But... I thought there was more in it this time, and I don't know where the other articles could have gone to.

There are days (weeks, months, years) when this stuff just drives me nuts.

On the good side, I sold a short story to DDP today for the new Dollar Downloads. The title is Year of the Fire Rat, a nice little fantasy tale. The story is grouped with a novel there (in this case Aubreyan, the first of the Dark Staff series) and if a person buys the novel, they get the story free. Or they can opt to buy the short story alone for $1.

I have to come up with four more short stories that the publisher likes for the other novels. I'm editing #2 -- hope to turn it in tomorrow and see what the verdict is. I would like to have them all done before Forward Motion's Labor of Love dare this weekend, but I suspect that I'm not going to quite make it, especially since I still have to take the outline notes from my PDA and get them organized for work.

In the usual writing news, Paid in Gold and Blood is still going quite well. If I didn't have other things to take care of I think I would already be done with it. But I've nothing really to complain about. I'm having fun, and while some things drive me to distraction lately, over all it's looking good.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Pretty Macaw

Well, I've done something that I normally would not do. I let one of my house cats go back outside.

Nazir has been inside for nearly a year. He has been increasingly unhappy when we see him at all. He spends his time at my office window crying, and panics if I even reach to pet him. It's very odd because he is absolutely the opposite of his brother, Wind.

Tonight I just couldn't take it any more. So I opened the window, watched to make sure no one else came around, and he showed up a couple minutes later and stepped out. He headed for a bit of weeds and branches, rolled around in the dirt, and then crawled into the fallen branches. He's now cautiously examinig the yard.

If he comes back to the window and indicates he wants back in, I'll let him. But for the moment, he seems happier. The stray cats outside are a bit startled, but no one argued the point at all.

What else today? We bought a really nice book that has pages and pages of guidelines straight from publishers. Most of them are odd magazines, which is really great since that's the kind of stuff Russ writes for, and his prime magazine is changing hands, so he's starting to look at wider vistas again.

I'm trying to figure out if I can get Paid in Gold and Blood finished before the Labor of Love madness at FM, or if I should just plan on doing Unfinished Business and finish the novel off them. It is only a few days away, and it seems wiser to work on it. I have another outline ready, but it can wait. Yes, I know I've mentioned all this before, but obviously I'm still trying to make up my mind. A lot of it, I suppose, will depend on how the rest of this week goes.

I have been writing over 3000 words a day for a couple months now. It's gotten easy -- at least while I'm working on this novel. I imagine the next one will not be nearly as easy. I'm happy with the work, though. The story has been great. And, in fact, I think I'll get back to it.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Silly Maynard and Wind
I'm still on a good writing streak, and the work on Paid in Gold and Blood is moving along wonderfully. I'm close to 40,000 words and working on an entirely new chapter. If this wasn't a 2YN night, I would believe that I could hit 40,000 without a problem. But I am a bit behind on my class stuff (shame on me!) and I need to work through the section this evening. I've got a small part of it already written, but I need to do more.
And I would really like to work on the pictures from the zoo, too.
Well, if I don't get to work on something, though, I'll be even farther behind! And I'm having fun with the class, so it's not too bad.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

A snippet from Paid in Gold and Blood:

When he started forward with the body all the horses turned, their ears back and looking far fiercer than he had expected. Taking a dead body, and especially one imbued with magic, past already half panicked animals did not seem wise. He would have to get them settled first. More magic and more time -- and when he looked back outside, the tendrils of fog moved closer to the walls.

Then he unexpectedly heard the clap of horse hooves on the stone of the road. The sound echoed eerily, and he couldn't guess which direction the animal traveled from, though it seemed unlikely there would have been anyone that close behind them.

A moment later the sound centered on trail leading away from the mountains, and a ghostly figure of horse and man came into view. The figure riding sat wrapped in a black hooded cloak, the same color as the horse he rode, so that they looked like a single piece of night taking shape in the mist-filled darkness. Katashan took a step back toward the gate, ready to yank the body inside and brave the others.

"Ah, I made it!" the stranger said. He threw back is hood -- dark hair, pale face. That did not much help Katashan's feeling that he ought to be retreating to safety. The man swept off his remarkably calm horse and looked around, his eyes settling on the travois and the ice packed blankets.

"She's dead," Katashan said.

"I would certainly hope so at this point."

Someone, at least, with a sense of humor. Young, too, but he didn't seem to have the bravado of most young men Katashan had known at home.

"They're not going to let you in, I'm afraid," Katashan said, waving a hand toward the door. His finger ached, but it had stopped bleeding. "They're spooked by the fog, and the body."

"Ah. I see." The stranger looked out at the fog and made a little dismissive gesture. "They're not from around here, then. We have such fogs quite often. But then, from your accent, you aren't from here either. Are you a Northerner? Tarisian?"

"Yes. You are local?"

"Mostly," he said, and flashed a smile. "I travel quite a bit. Shall we go inside the walls? There are bandits in the area, and the weather is cool besides. I think there is a shed we can share? Providing, of course, there is room for the three of us."

"This does not bother you?" Katashan said, indicating the body.

The smile left his face. He looked older. "It bothers me a great deal. But I do not want to stand out here in the night and invite the sort of people these walls were made to protect us from. Shall we go in?"

"The horses are spooked. I think if I get them food and water, they'll settle. Can you --"

"I'll stay here and watch," He said, and drew back his cloak. A long-bladed knife showed in a sheath. "You get to handle the horses."

Katashan glanced back out at the fog, and then hurried to the work dragging feed and buckets of water over -- and imbuing both with enough magic to keep them content. By the time he had finished, the stranger had brought his horse and the travois inside the walls. He shoved the gate closed with such haste that it worried Katashan.


"I might have seen a figure in the fog," he said. "I thought it best to get inside."

Katashan nodded, and moved to put the bar into place. "Your horse is well behaved. Do you think he can be left outside a stall tonight?"

"Night will be quite content with a little hay," he said. "And, since we are spending the night in close quarters, we should introduce ourselves. I am Peralin."

"Katashan," he said, started to bow and then offered his hand instead, the custom in the south. They clasped each other's wrist. Peralin had warm, soft skin, and had not been traveling long from the state of his clothing. Katashan felt as though he would never be clean again. "Can you take her back toward the shed? The sooner we get her out of the area with the animals, the better. I'll get gate secured, and make certain the horses are settled for the night."

The man picked up the rope to the travois, whistled to his horse, and started toward the back of the enclosure. Katashan silently thanked the Goddess for the presense of someone willing to help, and not as omen bound and skitterish as his other companions.

Katashan kept an eye on Peralin until the man had slipped into the shed. Then he hurried to the gate, pulling out his blade and slicing the poor finger once more. He made quick dabs on the inside of the bar, out of notice, and whispered an incantation as he put the bar in place. Fingers of fog that had started to work their way through the crevices and over the top of the wall retreated even before he finished.

When he looked back, Peralin stood at the doorway to the shed. Katashan unobtrusively pushed the blade away again. "I thought I better check to make sure it's sealed."

"Yes, that's a good idea." He pulled his cloak tighter. "The night is going to be cold. Let's get settled, share a little dinner perhaps?"

"I have very little left in food."

"And I'm over stocked for the short journey I'm going to make."

"You are very kind."

"And glad for the company," he said as Katashan came to the shed. Peralin had already set a little candle in place, dispelling the darkness. It didn't seem like such a bad place. "All in all, I thought at best I would be spending the night alone, since I had no intention of sleeping with a group of snoring, bad-tempered men. You seem the far better choice."

"And my companion?" he said, nodding to the body that was settled against the wall.

"I doubt she snores."

"Perhaps you should know something more before you make a final decision about staying here. I found her, bound in ropes and chains, and with a knife through her heart, at the base of a Verina Guardian. I believe she had been sacrificed, and I can't guarantee that she is such safe company as she appears."

The man's dark eyes didn't flicker, though he remained still for a half dozen heartbeats. Then he shrugged. "I'm glad you told me. It makes things much easier. Here, have some wine. I think you need it."

He reached within his cloak and pulled out a decanter and two crystal goblets.

He could not have been carrying them there.

Katashan would have sensed magic had he used it. He knew of no spell strong enough to hide such power from him. This stranger had no magic. But he did have power -- and there was only one other way --

"Gods protect me," Katashan said. He put his back to the wall, and knew he had no chance to make it out of the shed and the stables before -- whatever this was caught him.

"We shall share wine," Peralin said, putting the goblets on a ledge by the door. He poured the liquid; it sparkled as it fell, glittering in the candle light. A scent, rich and heady, filled the tiny area and left Katashan half dizzy. When Perelin held a goblet out, he shook his head and pressed harder against the wall, his hand reaching for his blade.

"Don't," Perelin warned. "Take the wine."

"Who -- what are you?"

"A guard," he said. "You need one tonight, don't you?"

"I might need one from you," Katashan said.

"Not everything of the dark and the night is your enemy."


Thursday, August 12, 2004

There are odd creatures in the world...

I finally got my poor journal uploaded. That's the other one that I have kept, without missing a day, since October 1998. I sometimes am late getting a day up because of storms, travel... goofy servers not working... but I have not actually missed any days. It's boring as hell most of the time, but still -- it's there.

It's where I get the pictures for this one, too. And why the earlier pictures disappear since I cull the journal when I have to cut back on space.

Now the real news for tonight is that I finally wrote 500,000 words for this year. I'm very happy to have made it this far since so this year started out rather poorly as far as writing goes.

I now have three major submissions to go out that I need to print up tonight. I have other work that I need to do as well for FM and for Vision.

But I've written my 500,000. Makes me feel much better. Oh and Paid in Gold and Blood is going VERY well. It's over 13,000 words already and moving forward in great leaps.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


I'm well into Paid in Gold and Blood. The rewrite from scratch is going along very well -- about 7,000 words so far. Mirrors is also going nicely. I've added several new pieces to that story, including a wonderful new scene last night that I really enjoyed writing.

What I haven't done is gotten my submissions out the door yet. I think I have three ready to go -- all of them mail submissions, too. If I can get them out in the next couple days I'll feel a lot better.

Other than that, I'm getting my office sorted out nicely. The upload ability is still down for my Journal, but I add to it every day as though it will actually post. I am sorting though a few hundred zoo pictures that I never looked at from last January. I plan to redo my zoo site again, and this time with some information on some of the animals. I've already written about 2000 words on it. I'm going to have to skip most of the fish for now until I can get back to the zoo and get some IDs on them. And telling one tiger from another is kind of difficult, too. I know there are ways to do it, but I'm going to have to do some far more serious study before I can tell.

Good thing I love to learn this stuff.

And now for an odd bit of a rant.

I've noticed a pernicious problem lately in people I know, both on line and off. Someone makes a choice, it doesn't work -- and rather than stand up and admit that they had any control whatsoever in their own lives, they'll harp on and on about how someone else is at fault for a failure, as though they were never involved at all. I'm not sure when we became a nation of 'it's someone else's fault' cry babies, but I sure see a lot of it these days. Those people will jump up with a cry about how they have been ruined by parents, spouses, children, neighbors, teachers, bosses -- but rarely do I see someone say 'I made a choice and it didn't work out.' And far fewer times do I see any of them say 'well, that's past time to move on.'

I'm not talking about cases where malicious harm was purposely done to another. There's more than enough of that as well. But I do see people refusing to acknowledge their own choices in life -- and using that as an excuse not to do anything to change as well. They're wounded. They're injured in the soul, and it's all someone else's fault.

I find this especially interesting in writers, who wave their 'poor me banner' like some kind of writing crutch so that everyone can see they have a problem, and it's not their fault. They can't write, they can't write what they want, they can't write well enough -- whatever they've decided they can't do, it is the fault of parents, teachers, spouses and old friends.

It's often something that happened far in the past and has scared them forever. And it's true. As long as they use it as a crutch so that they don't have to work any harder, it will be with them forever.

Sometimes it's hard to put aside those crutches and accept that everyone of us has some control over our lives, and that if we make mistakes it's all right to admit it. And admitting to ourselves means that we have the control to move on as well. As long as you tie your mistakes to someone else's life, you're never going to have control over your own.

End of Rant.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

With the first draft of Farstep Station completed and put aside, I suddenly found myself having to choose the next project. That's always dangerous for me, you know. And this year more so than usual. On my list there were only two unfinished manuscripts, a short story and the novel The Wind and the Sand. I had started The Wind and the Sand back in March, but I didn't like the way it was going so I went back and started reworking the outline. I have quite a bit of it done, but it's not completed.
And I didn't want to start on that novel again until I did have the outline where I wanted it.
The short story is not much of a problem. It's silly and wont take much work to finish it, I just have to be in the proper mood. (It's a new Sangre story for those who remember anything about those stories.)
I have two other partially completed outlines. I didn't want to leap into those without doing the work either.
I pulled out Paid in Gold and Blood the other day to read it. It was written back in 2000, I think. Story is solid, prose sucks. I've started a rewrite from scratch on it. The work has started out very slowly, and I've rewritten the first four paragraphs a half dozen times in the last two days. I've only written about 500 words so far, but I think it will pick up once I get the feel for the storyline and get past this opening.
Ooops. Ran off and had dinner with Russ and forgot that I was typing this in! Not that I've really had anything important to say. However, it's time to upload this and get back to work on the other material. I have about 1300 for the day between my projects, and it's starting to look good!

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Today is Russ's birthday. We're not doing anything particularly 'birthday' like. He bought some stuff to work on House #2 and has been over there putting up walls and such. I'm trying to figure out what I will work on next and get the 2YN novel class stuff done. I will not be around the site much today, though.
Two in the morning and I'm done. 75888 -- not bad for a first draft at all. And it came together in the end, mostly because I found the notes for the ending. (grin)
I'm much happier now.

At the zoo, of course....

Here it is just after midnight. I have a novel I'm almost finished with, and I think I could have had it done before midnight, but I decided to hold off and get a few words on Saturday's count with it.
The current count is 73,781 -- a bit longer than my usual first drafts, but short by a finished novel standard. Unlike a lot of people, I really enjoy going in and adding material after I get the main story told. And in this case, there is a lot of room for expansion in several areas. I have two good subplot threads with different POVs that I could write out.
But those changes will not come for at least a year. I write the first drafts and then let them sit for a good long time before I look it over again and decide what to add in. I'm too close to it right now.
However, I do have every intention of finishing. I think it won't be much more than 1000 words, if even that much.
So it's time to get to work!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004


My journal will not be updating for several days while they work on the server. At least they sent an email warning people this time! I'll have a whole series of days to upload when they're done.

A year ago I took over running Forward Motion. It wasn't until January that we officially took Holly's name off the site, but I had been running it for several months already. In fact, I had unofficially run it several times before while Holly worked on her books. In this case Holly had just gotten tired of dealing with the Children (and that is not a designation of physical age) who were determined to play games that had nothing to do with writing and everything to do with ego. She enjoyed the others, but the people who were less interested in writing had made it impossible for her to just hang around.

And, of course, Holly had a whole new direction in her writing career starting up, and she had to devote herself to that work. The people who had created trouble at the site took too much of hr time and energy. She had to give it up.

I also remember how close it came to a choice between me taking over the site or closing it down. It took me a couple days to decide, and I think I made the right choice, but it has played havoc with my own writing this last year. I'm finally starting to get the hang of doing the work for the site and still getting my own material scheduled in. My writing count has finally picked back up, I'm glad to say.

So here we are, a year down the road. There have been a number of changes in the site, but nothing that has taken it away from the original vision. Forward Motion is a community to help writers with their work. We have more than doubled in membership since I took over, and we're coming very close to 5000. Last month we had over 8000 unique IPs visit the site. We have several thousand posts a month from active members and good many more lurkers.

Today we began the work of finally transferring the site registration over to me. I also paid the site dues for the upcoming year. The trial period is over, and now it is all officially in my hands. That doesn't mean anything new for the site. It does mean a full acceptance of the responsibility for me. Up until a few hours ago I could have still said just close it down and pretended that it had not been my site anyway.

Now things have changed: My site, my decisions. There are always going to be people who disagree with the way Forward Motion is run. That's the nature of the world. There will always be people who disrupt a site that others enjoy just because it does not suit what they want, and there will be people who disrupt a site because it's not their site and that annoys them. I have learned one important thing over the last few years, and that's just to make a decision on how to deal with them and don't count on reasoning to win anything. I make my decisions in a way that I think will best suit the site.

But there are also ten times as many people who have found something helpful in Forward Motion and who are also willing to help others reach their writing-related goals. Forward Motion is a unique showcase of International cooperation in a field where we are competing for those few publishing spots. We don't have to help each other, you know. We could hoard whatever knowledge about writing we have to ourselves, berate new writers, or give them bad advice (and I have seen a LOT of bad advice out there on other writing sites).

Instead, we have a site dedicated solely to helping other writers become published.

The site is not going to change from that goal or the way in which that goal is presented and enforced. I wish that it didn't have to be enforced, but sometimes such things have to be done.

If you are looking for a site where you can espouse your favorite political views and berate others for theirs, or proclaim your religious beliefs preach to the masses, Forward Motion is not the site for you. However, if you are looking for help to become a better writer, and if you are especially interested in trying to make your way into the world of publishing, I don't think there is a better site on the Internet.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Tiger Wall

Odd days. That's all there is to it. I'm getting my writing done, but not much else. I've been doing it at about 300 words a shot with breaks between to rest my hand. The hand was better yesterday, worse this morning, better tonight.

Farstep Station is very close to being done in the first draft. It should come in close to 70,000 which his not bad at all for me. I'm hitting the final confrontation and I've had to delete several hundred words -- twice! -- because I haven't gotten it right. But I am getting there, and it will get done soon.

Oh, Russ is back home and will need the computer! Time to upload!

Current count is 65,312. I'm getting there!

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Southwestern Nebraska

Welcome to August.

Sometime last night I noticed that my left hand ached. Lucky for me I had already done my writing.

It still aches today. Worse, in fact. Obviously just a little strain -- I slipped yesterday and caught myself.

May plan is to write about 300 words a hour between noon and midnight. I'll have a good amount by the end of the day, shouldn't overwork the hand. (Even doing some of the typing with an on-screen keyboard.)

I got my first hour done at 434. I'll even work 'ahead' on some hours so I can take nice long breaks for dinner and such.

It's an inconveninece and I'm very much annoyed -- but I'll get through it.