Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Weather and Work

Welcome to winter


It's been cold the last few days. It's very white. We're supposed to get a lot more white tomorrow. We don't often get this much snow so early in winter. Sure, there was that year when it snowed in parts of Nebraska on the last day of summer... but still. Not this much, this cold, this early. It also means that we'll likely be white until March or so. (Looks at calendar.) Ack.

My office window has a huge crack in it. I have a replacement, but the window is frozen closed right now, so I have to wait until tomorrow when it will warm up to the 20's so I can get it out and replace it. Of course, with that 20F weather is going to be more white stuff. Maybe six inches or more.

All in all, I think it's best to maybe drop into some nice pretend world for a while and not come back out until spring. The work of the week is a rewrite of another novella -- the first Cougar (sf) story. I've also been working on Silky 3 and finishing up a couple other little projects. Running out of time!

But overall, it's going okay. I wish Russ was coming home, but I survived the holidays last year and I'll do the same this year. I need to look past it, and start deciding what I can do for next year. I need to start submitting material again. I keep saying that, but I don't really get around to it. I should change that. Really.

I have some good stuff that needs to go out. Time to start doing lists and making plans.

After I get some writing done. I'm about half way through First Run, so I'll have it done quickly enough.
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Friday, December 12, 2008


Thank you to everyone who helped Vera save her house. (See last post!) She's always helped everyone else, and it was wonderful to be part of a gift back to her. Yay!

In news on the home front....

It's now official that Russ will not be home for Christmas again this year. This just sucks. He would at least like to make it for New Years, but that doesn't look likely, either since -- what a shock -- funds are low. And even if he did, we don't have a car that works. And I have some new problems that need fixed here at the house besides.

Oh, I'm sure it will all work out all right. I'll survive the holidays -- I did all last year, and I'll manage again this year. Things are better, in many respects, than they were last year at this time. If we can just get a little bit ahead before the next big disaster, I'll believe there is even hope. Right now, we have to work on the car problem mostly. It's lucky that we really don't depend on it for day-to-day things, but is still necessary. The problem is that we're likely going to have to replace it. We can do that fairly cheaply -- but even cheap is more than we have.

Always some problem, right?

My computer is giving me odd problems. I don't know what I'm going to do if it goes out. I really don't. I don't think it's anything too serious yet, so if I can hold out a few more months, I think I'll be fine. I just wear the poor things out, I think. I do have a new hard drive, so I'm not worried about losing anything except the computer itself (as long as I remember to back up, right?)

Right now, though, I should be finishing up the DAZ Newsletter. I'm late with it. I just could not get going on it for the last couple days, and I don't know why. I finally got through the bulk of it today, and now I have to work on links and cleaning up a bit of the wording. It will be good to have it done!
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Sunday, December 07, 2008

Vera Moose

Several years ago, when things were going especially bad (though
not as bad as they have been this last year!) Vera helped me out
-- and she also sent this wonderful stuffed

Now she needs help. Please Donate:

Even a few dollars will help her keep her home.

Vera is a wonderful person. Many of you have been
helping me out of a serious problem, but if you can ...
just a few dollars more, or a donation for the auction,
or a plan to buy something -- any of it will help.
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Thursday, December 04, 2008

Having fun

Let's start with a thank you to Mar for this: Stray Thoughts Of Margaret Fisk: Ruins by Lazette Gifford. What a wonderful review! And I'll admit to something... like many writers, I find that I can rarely look at a published work after it's been released, because I know it's going to have something (or many things) wrong with it. I'll see everything I should have changed or done differently. That she liked the novel anyway is a good sign.

And I do hope to do a paperback of it and the others, but I haven't had the time to figure out the formatting. Sad, but true. I think my brain tries to turn off every time I decide to do it.

So, it's off to writing instead.

I can't find the rewrite of Such Gifts as These. It's not turning up in any of the directories on any of the hard drives. The last version if Have is from about 2001.

This annoyed me. So I sat down with the 2001 version and began to rewrite it. Apparently, this is the way I should always work, because it's going wonderfully. I've been getting about 3k a day done since I started, and I think that will pick up now that I have a couple other things out of the way. I'd like to have some of the types of writing days that I usually get with NaNo but kind of missed this year. It's easier, of course, when you're rewriting a novel rather than working with something new. Even a massive rewrite like this one.

It's fun. I need fun sometimes.

That's going to be my theme for the rest of the year, I think. Even without celebrating the holidays, I can still have some fun!

And thank you again to everyone who sent me the wonderful box of fun things that arrived at my door. I love the pictures and the fairy and the food and the scarf and cups and toys for the cats and... well, everything. It certainly brightened my end of the year!
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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Doing well, and a snippet

(A brick wall at Mesa Verde)

Today I received a wonderful box of goodies from members of Forward Motion. It was so much fun to unpack! Thank you everyone!

(Nibble, nibble)

It certainly improved my mood, especially going into yet another holiday by myself.

Work on Written in the Sand (second NaNo Book) is going far better than book 1. I'm up to about 28k right now, and I think I'll be able to make the 50k without a problem, even with so few days left in the month. For a while there, it seemed like November would never end. Now it's too close to the end of the month!

I'll be somewhere over 100k for the month, which isn't bad considering how much trouble I had with other things. There were plenty of times when I thought 'I have 50k, I can quit now' but I'm glad I didn't. I'm really enjoying this second book.

And with that in mind, here is a rather long snippet. First an introduction to the three characters:

Iwan is the young chieftain of the Cath es Tear, a very powerful tribe that usually keeps to the desert. Because of various trouble (Gods area awakening, return of Chaos, possible end of the world), they're involved in some rather exciting events right now.

Camee is his sister the priestess of the tribe. She's a bit outspoken (and considerable fun to write).

Gareth is a northerner who as a soldier with the Laclan army, but who got caught up in the Cath es Tear trouble, and now finds himself bound by an oath to protect an important object that will help to save the world.

At this point, Gareth has been with the tribe for a while. He and Iwan get along very well.

Gareth went with him as Iwan spread the word. People looked resigned and no one complained. They crossed paths with Camee twice. She looked worried, but she smiled and went on to whatever it was she was doing.

"The two of you seem to have equal power here," Gareth said, watching as she walked away again.

"Mostly, we do. There are times when one or the other takes precedence," Iwan said. He stopped and leaned against a tent post, trying to ease the ache in his leg again.

"Is that normal in the tribes?"

"It varies in tribe and generation. There are times when the Priest or Priestess is not interested in anything outside of religion. And there are times when one or the other has a far stronger personality, and there is no hope of equality. But Camee and I get along."

"She seems to do well."

"Yes, she does."

"Will she ever marry?" he asked, and then hastily added. "Will you?"

Iwan almost laughed, but he managed not to keep control. "Most of us do and I imagine Camee will some day, if anyone will ever be able to put up with her. She's rather outspoken, you know."

"Is she?" he said. "I didn't notice."

"We better go check on the feast," Iwan said. He didn't trust himself not to laugh at Gareth's interest in Camee, which had been obvious for some time, even if he did try to hide it. Iwan found it amusing to be acting as the older brother -- especially at a time like this. He did not, however, think that Gareth would share the amusement, especially since he seemed so worried.

The meal went well. The two days at the oasis had helped and he thought he could sense the relief they felt to be going on to Tiamarta and the end of the journey. It was hard to say what would happen then. He tried not to worry about it.

Some of the Laclan soldiers joined them. It reminded Iwan of the times Gareth had come to the square in Tianal and listened to their tales and heard their songs. How simple everything had been back then. He had known that things were changing, and he was at Tianal for a reason -- but even so, he could not have imagined that it would be this drastic of a change so quickly.

He didn't think this was the place he should be. He looked at the Standard, which seemed so common place to him now. He remembered when he and Gareth had first take it up, and the weight of the decision that went with it.

Nothing he would have changed. That lifted an odd weight he had carried and hadn't realized it until now. What if questions disappeared from his mind again. There could be no 'what if' in this case. They had done what needed to be done -- he, Gareth and all the Cath es Tear. From taking in Princess Tyne -- which seemed such a little thing now -- to taking Gareth into the safety of the Tear and away from Kaven, he couldn't think of a single thing he would have changed.

They retired early that night. Gareth took his place out in the moonlight -- he seemed to like it there, with some of the others who slept in the area outside the tent. Maybe it helped him feel more like one of the tribe.

Iwan watched the group settle down, and then stared at the Standard for a while longer, watching the flag flutter, and the lettering change. He wanted to know what it meant, but staring at it only made him more tired tonight. It was going to be a difficult few days after this. He needed rest.

But he still paused, looking at out the camp. Everything looked deceptively peaceful out there tonight. He missed the sound of the sheep, but otherwise, it might have been a perfect night. A shame it wouldn't last.

He turned away and headed across the tent, surprised to find that Camee had begun packing away some of the blankets and pillows, which surprised Iwan when he came to his sleeping area.

"What are you doing?" he asked.

"I thought I'd make it easier for us in the morning," she said and folded a blanket away.

"I can pack my own things, you know. Leave that pillow. I want to be comfortable tonight."

"I'm just trying to help!"

"Go get some rest, Camee. You're going to be scouting tomorrow. You need a clear head."

"I will have one. Don't worry. I hope Gareth is up to the journey tomorrow."

"Why wouldn't he be?" Iwan asked, stretching out on his blanket.

"He's worried, isn't he? Does he talk about it? What does he speak to you about?"

"He's mostly curious about how the tribe works," Iwan said. He turned to his side and closed his eyes. "Sleep well, Camee."

"What kind of questions?"

"Culture, rules -- leave that blanket alone! I don't want to be cold."

"Does he say anything about his own culture?"

"No, not really. Good night --"

"Do you know anything about him? His family? What was his life like before he came to Tianal?"

"I have no idea, Camee. Go to bed."

"I just wonder what it is he wants out of life. What does he want from us?"

"Probably a good night's sleep. Camee --"

"I wonder what kind of culture he came from. Does he have a family? Is there someone waiting for him --"

"Oh for the love of the gods!"

He leapt up and grabbed her by the arm. She yelped, but he didn't let go as he pulled her out of the tent and into the square where several people, including Gareth, looked up with shock. He crossed to his friend, and pushed Camee toward him.

"Gareth, take this woman to bed. I give you my blessing. I give you my tent. I'll even give you gold, if it will just shut the two of you up about asking me questions about each other!"

"How much gold?" Camee asked.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The sound of hard drives crashing

Yes, I'm having problems with a hard drive. I tried to blame the loss of about 4k words on the cats, but the problems have spread. I'm clearing what I can, reworking a lot of other things, and rewriting those lost words. That part is going pretty well, actually. I've gotten about half of them rewritten, so as things go, that's not too bad. I might be back to where I was by the time the night is out.

This is obviously the NaNo that will have problems. It's almost amusing after a while.

The story is probably about 2/3rds done. It's not a great story, but at least it has kept me busy in ways that I never expected. I can't believe how close to the end of the month we are already! I would like to get to at least 70k so this isn't my worst NaNo ever, and I'd like to think that wouldn't be a problem.

But then I start seeing hard drives crashing. Outlines disappearing. 4k worth of story devoured by some story-eating creature living in my computer. Maybe I should be happy if I can just stay above the 50k mark.

Here, at least, is a snippet. Not a great scene, but at least it's still there, in the story!

Another group was coming. Jasha looked at them and a whisper of worry crossed his face before he pulled back the mask he normally wore. "Science," he said with a sigh. "And in full force. They've even brought out the apprentices, to make a show. That's the full fifteen of them, and I fear that this can't be good. Utley, if anything happens, do your best to help these good people get back to the ship."

"You don't really expect --" Utley began and then stopped and looked worried. "I'll do what I can, Jasha. Don't provoke Ti."

"The only way I couldn't provoke him is to lie down and die. And then he'd complain that it was inconvenient to have to walk over me."

Utley let out a bark of a laugh that startled chickens. Felicia was looking at the group of dark-robed people who were heading their way, and she could see that the laugher had not set well with the man in the lead. That, she suspected, would be Ti.

"Welcome, Science," Jasha said and gave a very low bow of his head. Ti still scowled. "I'm glad to see you come to meet our new friends."

"You had no right to bring them out here, to show them our secrets --"

"Secrets?" Jasha said. "Chickens and sheep our secrets now? I trust that you had not meant to keep such things secrets for long. Every child in the village knows about them, and how to care for them."

"Probably better than I do," Davis said with a little laugh. "You've done a wonderful job here."

A few other of the people were finally coming out. She had thought, at first they came to back Science in whatever they planed, but from the looks some of them gave the fifteen, Felicia began to suspect that they were really here to make certain Science didn't do anything wrong.

She should have expected such power plays within the group. It might help her if she could study them a bit more... though she couldn't say she liked being part of the trouble right now.

"You have brought your devices," Ti said, waving a hand toward Davis's hand. "You are spying on us --"

"Scanner," someone in the crowd said. "We all know what a scanner is, Ti Mar Anne. Don't try to act as though we are all such fools as you would like us to be."

Jasha winced at those words. Ti snarled and looked back at Jasha again. "You've trained your followers well."

"I am the Speaker," Jasha said. "I do not have followers, Ti. I don't even have an apprentice yet. What I do have is the ability to speak to others, even to the Eriasin. I hoped that these people can help us."

"It’s not their place."

"It should be yours," Utley said. "But you've already told us that you won't help since Jasha has chosen to go to the Sleepers instead of to you. But we had gone to you, for years, Ti, with no result."

"And you shall have none from them, either," Ti said and glared at Davis and then at Felicia. "They are not our people."

"We're willing to try and help," Felicia offered. She kept her voice calm, even though this fool was pushing all her buttons right now. "I can't guarantee that we'll find the answer, but --"

"You won't find the answer."

"Well, there's a challenge if I ever heard one," Davis said and laughed. "But maybe we would do better if we worked together on this problem. It seems to me that it is something that needs to be fixed --"

"You don't know. You have no right to step into our work --"

"Ti," someone said from the crowd said. "Don't be a stubborn fool. We need help. We all know it."

"You think I've failed."

"We think you haven't found the answer yet," Jasha said, his voice still calm. "That is not the same as failing."

"Your aliens haven't done any better."

"No, I don't think the Eriasin have. I hope that these people, who have a closer relationship to the plants we are trying to grow, might have a better chance at finding an answer. Ti --"

"You cannot talk your way past me, Speaker," Ti said. "These are not our people. They have come to late to be a part of your community, and you have brought their contamination of ideas to us --"

"You have no idea what my ideas are," Felicia said. She felt a whisper of suppressed rage start to rise. She'd been angry since she awoke, and this man was looking for an enemy he could fight. She might just be the one he wanted. "You are making judgments based on your own personal agenda, and if this is your version of Science, then it's no wonder you are failing in your work. A scientist must have an open mind and be ready to explore all --"

She hadn't expected him to grow so angry and so quickly. Ti spun on her, and before she knew it, he was striking --

But somehow Jasha stepped in before she could react. She hadn't expected that, either. Neither, apparently, had any of the others. They were all moving. Utley came over the top of the fence, grabbed her and swept her into the animal pen where she had some cover. She had reached for a weapon she wasn't wearing -- that had been a wise decision on her part, to leave it behind. So far this had only gone to blows. They could survive --

Villagers had come at a run and pulled back all the people of science, many of whom had moved in on Jasha, Utley and Davis. There were still shouts, and then -- as though they had been the ones wronged -- the science group turned and walked away.

She only now noticed that Jasha was still on the ground. She scrambled back over the wall and down to her knees beside him, where Davis was already kneeling and looking worried.

"That was just uncalled for," an older woman said. She sounded so angry that Felicia feared the rage was directed at her. "Ti mar Ann is running scared. That gave him no reason -- Jasha, boy? Are you all right?"

Jasha had both hands to his chest, his eyes closed. He opened them and gave a nod that did not convince anyone that he was in anyway all right. He started to sit up, and then went pale white --

"We need to get him to help," Felicia said, and knew she sounded worried and panicked. The woman nodded, and apparently they had found common cause, at least in this. "Where can we take him? Or can someone come --"

"Science," Utley said. He wiped blood from his cheek and shook his head. "Science takes care of our medicines."

"We don't dare take him --" the woman said and sounded worried again.

"Up to the ship," Felicia said. "Move him carefully. I have a medic, and she'll be able to help."

"Yes. Good. I am Carilyn mar Kara, the eldest of the village."

"I am honored to meet you," Felicia said and gave, what she hoped, was a proper bow of her head. "I am Felicia Anazar."

"Oh yes, I know who you are. Utley, can you lift him? Gently, though. I fear cracked or broken ribs. Ti -- Ti will have to be called to count for this one. No, Jasha, don't try to come between me and justice this time."

"We need... har... mon...y," he whispered. "We need... peace."

Yes. And it's time that Ti Mar Ann was reminded of this. Or perhaps it is time he learns that we don't need him at all."

Jasha looked worried at the words and Felicia heard a whisper of protest from the rest of the crowd. They were not happy with Ti, but the idea that someone might cut him out entirely seemed to worry them more.

She wondered if she had misinterpreted the relationship. Was this more about government rather than science? Was it a show of power about who rules this village? She didn't want to get involved in that kind of trouble -- but she was involved. They were all involved. It wasn't as though she and her friends were going to walk away from here.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

NaNo -- 41,308

Hello. I'm not doing very well at NaNo so far. Russ is gone, but now I have a horrible miserable cold and all I want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for a few days. It doesn't help that the cats unplugged my computer in the middle of work last night and I lost about 400 words. I'm just about back to 40k, though. Yeah, it's been that kind of NaNo.

Tomorrow morning, the people come back to try and fix the gas line in the other house. Having it only partially fixed is kind of stupid, even if I don't move over there this winter. We need the heat on, at least low, so that we don't have more frozen water pipes. Besides, the washer and dryer are over there, and that would be a real nice thing to have!

Oh -- I just took a little turn in the story and it is now going VERY well. So, I'm off to get some writing done! Yay! Throughout the story I have referred to the Journal. I decided to step back and look at the people who wrote that journal -- the people who awoke on the ship to find themselves trapped, lost -- what could they do?

Here is a short excerpt from that new section:

I woke up to hear the alarms. That's what I remember most about those first few days -- the alarms, and the growing feeling of dread and despair as I realized how bad the situation was.

The gravity was failing. It surged and died several times as I tried to get out of the pod. I saw others doing the same, but I could smell burnt metal and plastic everywhere. We were still in space. The engines were working -- I could feel the dull throb of power corsing through everything. I remember all those feelings that came even over the panic.

Panic helped to clear my system. I finally was able to stand. Gravity only bumped up and down a little now, which told me that the computer -- thank whatever gods watched over us -- was still working.

I remember thinking all of that in those first few minutes. Or maybe it was hours. I'm not certain how long it took me to really calm enough to look at the situation.

It wasn't good.

Mark was the first person I saw -- or maybe the first person I acknowledged seeing. I think there had been others, but we were all so stunned and frightened that I don't think anyone really connected for a while. But I found Paul sitting in the auxiliary office and trying to get to the computer to come up on line. He looked up, startled, when I came into the room. He had a cut on the side of his face. I wondered if others were injured, too.

"What the hell happened?" I asked.

I think those were the first words I had said. Mark looked at me, and then stood and pushed me into the chair by the desk. I don't know how I must have looked right then, but I settled down and took a deep breath. The air still tasted funny.

"Something came through the side of the ship, Dora," he said softly. "It took out almost all the pods."


I think everything went dark for a while after that. I think I might have shut down. Others came into the room. I heard crying, denial, fear. But I was not part of it again. Not for a long time.
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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Russ is heading back to New York

Russ was home for nine days. It was great to see him and we had some wonderful discussions, watched some shows, and I cooked full meals for the first time in a year!

But I can't believe the number of things that went wrong. The day he got back, the car broke down. After that, we couldn't drive more than about eight blocks before it overheated. This really limited anything we were going to do. I was supposed to go to the zoo in Omaha. I was lucky if we got to Wal-Mart. For someone who is pretty much housebound the rest of the time, this was a real blow. I need to get out when Russ is here because weeks of staring at the walls of this house will drive a person crazy, especially in the winter when it's too cold to go for long walks.

The good side is that Russ had just driven the car down from Minneapolis and it could have developed this problem out in Nowhere Iowa in the middle of the night. As it is, the car is parked in the driveway and a friend took Russ down to Omaha to catch the flight.

I did not get moved into the other house. The broken water pipe turned into a huge problem, mostly because the person who used to live there redid some of the work and didn't have a clue what he was doing. Russ got a lot of it done, but he couldn't get it all.

And that didn't matter, because the gas company had the lines in the house checked and said they would NOT turn the gas on to the house. That cost us another $200. Plus all the money and work Russ -- and someone he hired -- put into the water pipes.

Now, you can look on the good side on both of these. Russ might have thought the water pipes were fine after the first fix, and it could have come apart the day he left, and I'd be in a real mess. We could have had the gas turned on and then had a dangerous problem. So, despite it being incredibly frustrating, these were somewhat good things in the end.

I woke up the day after Russ got home with my voice mostly gone, and the inability to swallow anything without pain shooting through my right ear. This continued for a couple days, spread to the other ear... and then cleared up.

It was in the 70's when Russ arrived. It snowed before he left. Not a lot of snow, but enough to make certain we couldn't get anything done outside, especially since it got very cold. And Edmond got sick and we had to take him to the vet -- a real trick in this weather with a car we feared was not going to make it that far. (Russ is thinking water pump. That along with all the other failing pieces means he's going to have to get a new car rather than try to fix this one. It's just not worth it.)

Before we realized that I could not move over to the other house, we had focused entirely on getting it ready for me. We didn't work on the stuff at this house until yesterday, after we got the news on Friday that we couldn't have heat at the other place. Needless to say, we didn't get much done. Russ tried to get the heating system to work a bit better, and it seems nicer today, so that's good. We did not work on the kitchen sink, which leaks and has a spigot that comes off if you bump it (always fun to have water shooting up while trying to do the dishes!). We didn't get anything done with my office, but I can get a lot of that myself. As long as we don't have a bitterly cold winter, I'll do all right. This house is awful when the wind blows, but I've survived it until now, and I'll manage another winter.

Oh, the good electric heater I usually plug in on really cold days died, too. I still have an older one that I can use if I have to, but it's going to be tricky since I keep blowing fuses here at the house, so I have to be careful of what's on when.

This was the most frustrating, annoying set of days I ever remember, and there came a point where we started worrying about doing anything at all, for fear it would turn worse.

Russ taught his three classes, at least, and that money will come in sometime over the next few weeks. We replaced my dead printer with an inexpensive HP that prints on discs so that Russ could print off a bunch of discs to take with him copy his stuff onto, and sell on Ebay where he makes a few dollars a month. They look great, so that was a good investment. He was also able to take my Sony DSCH1 since I have the new Canon, so he'll be able to do some work, too. So those things worked out. We took a desk chair from the other house to replace the one with the broken wheel that I'd been using. That's better, too.

Edmond is much better today. I'm not as ill as I was. Russ is riding to Omaha with a friend.

I have only written about 30k for NaNo so far. Usually I'd be up to 100k about now. I don't know if I am going to have a better rest of the month or not. Right now, it's kind of hard to care. On the other hand, I don't have to think about packing things up and moving them, so that's a bit less work, and maybe I can get my office back in order and feel like working here. Maybe I can even take my frustrations out on the novel.
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Day 3 -- 5164 (15,718)

I am having a very hard time getting going, even when I have the time. And I don't have much of that. The story started to pick up a bit today, though. I think I'm finally getting a feel for the people and the story.

Today's snippet:

Utley took over, his big hands surprisingly fast and careful with the ties. He pulled the tunic back and grimaced -- Jasha looked down and could already see bruises.

"What happened?"

"Ti Mar Ann lost his temper," Jasha said softly.

"And his honor," Utley added. "He kicked you after you were down, Jasha. Many times. I couldn't get to him. I'm sorry."

"No one could get to him," Felicia said. "And thank you for getting me beyond his reach. I wasn't ready for that reaction from him."

"No one expected it," Utley said. He had begun to look around the room with more interest than fear. "I don't think Ti expected to do it, but he has never been known for his ability to hold is temper. They never should have allowed him to be head of science."

The other woman -- Jasha wished he knew a name -- ran a scanner over him and again. She frowned this time, but then looked at Jasha and smiled a little. "Sorry, that probably looked dire for a moment there. I was trying to read changes in our body chemistry before I gave you any drugs. I don't see much, but there are enough little things that I don't dare give you anything too strong for the pain. I'm sorry."

"I can get you some Palsa root --" Utley began, and then looked back at Jasha with a start and bowed his head. "My apologies."

"Palsa root? And there is a problem with it?" Felicia asked.

"It helps to deaden the pain, but some become addicted to it. My mother died of such an addiction. And because she ate the root often when she was pregnant with me, I am already susceptible to it."

"I would like to see some of this Palsa Root," the woman said. She placed a metal tube against the side of Jasha's neck and he felt a slight, cool feel that spread down to his chest within a few heart beats. "Better?"

"Much," he agreed. "Thank you. I do not know your name. Forgive me."

"My fault," Felicia said. She settled in a chair by the bed and looked frazzled. "From the time the trouble started, I lost my focus. This is Diane Demarco. She's our chief med. This is Jasha mar Leodora, Di."

"Oh! You are the one! Thank you, Jasha mar Leodora."

"Thank you?" he said, confused. She had drawn out bandages now and helped him sit up strarighter as she started to wrap them around, under the back of his tunic and around front.

"You woke us. I am alive today because of it. Shouldn't I thank you?" she said, sealing the bandages off.

"I don't know," he said, and didn't look at Felicia. "This might not be a place where you want to be."

"Here or dead? I'll take here. Dead can come later." She stepped back and looked into his face. She had an earnest look, her narrow, dark face intense as she met his look. "This is not what we planned, but then I suspect nothing we planned would have quite worked the way we thought anyway. We're here. I hope that I might be able to help you and your people, Jasha. I hope that we can all make this transition and accept our places here."

Jasha nodded and then looked in surprise at Felicia when she made a sound of amusement.

"Sorry. But those words were really aimed at me, Jasha. Di just knows better than to lecture me."
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Monday, November 03, 2008

NaNo Day 2: 5049 (10554 Total)

Day two of NaNo and I managed another 5k. It's a bit slow going right now, but I'm still working along. Russ and I kicked back and watched a bunch of shows tonight, which was fun. I had a bad headache for a good part of the day, too, which didn't help at all. But still... managed to keep the word count up, so I can't complain.

Here is a short bit from Day 2's work:

The light changed as they neared the airlock. She remembered crossing that portal on her way to the pod and looking back -- they almost all did, that last time -- to see the distant towers of Space City, and the wide ocean off the Florida coast. She closed her eyes for a moment and could recall the salt scent and hear the cry of gulls.

And when she opened her eyes again, Jasha stood close by, silent, respectful and waiting. The light ahead had a greenish tint. She walked toward it, moving more slowly again. It was not weakness. It was that she didn't want to know --

But she couldn't hide in here.

When she got to the door she blinked and blinked again because her eyes would not quite focus --

She reached out to steady herself against the side of the airlock, and then drew her hand back in haste. Something covered the side of the ship. Green. Vines of some sort that had crawled up the shell and entwined along the door. She looked at them in shock and thought something small moved there.

Movement beyond the airlock. Someone --

The mounds were buildings. Several hundred of them, spread out down a slight terrace away from the airlock, row upon row of them. People moved in many places. Animals. She thought she saw chickens... and other things.

This was an old settlement.

"Dear God," she whispered. She had not expected to feel such shock again. She locked her legs and refused to fall, and looked at Jasha --

"Welcome to Ostara," he said, with what seemed a far more formal bow of his head.

She couldn't breathe for a moment. Answers. She wanted --

"How long -- how long since the ship landed?"

"Four generations have been born on this world," he said. "By earth years -- we still keep them as best we can -- it is nearly 205 years."

"Why -- why did you wait so long to awaken us?" she asked. "Why -- "

But before Jasha could answer she heard shouts from the people below. Several were coming there way. Jasha looked troubled. He stepped forward, as though to put himself between her and a danger she didn't understand.

"What have you done!" a man in a long dark robe demanded. "You cannot have --"

But he seemed unable to say more, looking at Felicia with what looked very close to rage.

"I would not let them die," Jasha said.

"You have overstepped yourself this time, Speaker. You have gone too far!"

"Jasha --" Felicia said softly, worried.

"Go back," he said and even smiled. He didn't seem to take the anger as seriously as she thought he should. "Go in. I will deal with my people. I will come to see you again soon." He bent closer and spoke softly. "Do not go out alone. They are unsettled, and I do not know if Ti Mar Anne has more of a following than I think. He is aiming this at me, not you. Stay safe, quiet for a while. It will settle soon."

She wanted to ask more. She wanted to demand -- but she nodded and stepped back into the ship. Jasha went down the slight slope and the other man -- Ti Mar Anne -- followed with only a glance back at Felicia. She suspected Jasha was right -- that Ti was more interested in a power play against Jasha than in the people on the ship.

But when she went back in, she found Wade and put him to guard the door.
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Sunday, November 02, 2008

NaNo Day 1: 5515

No, not as good as I usually do -- but I did say I would be starting out slow this month since Russ is home. We spent a good amount of time together today. It was a lot of fun!

The story is going okay. I think when I get some time to sit down with it, I'll do better. But here is a snippet off the start -- remember, this is first draft!

Felicia had gone to sleep dreaming of adventure. She closed her eyes
before the sealed the pod over her, not wanting to see, and experience, the
small space in which she would exist.. for a long time. There was no
telling when or where she would awake again. Somewhere far away from
Earth. Somewhere that she and the two thousand others would go to start a
new life, a new colony.

She would miss some people. She knew it
now, even though she had denied any such feelings over the last few years while
she trained and prepared. Felicia wondered what the others thought and
what they would miss. Swimming in the ocean? Standing in the
mountains and watching the clouds sweep by below?

The sound of dogs

She calmed herself again, taking long breaths. It
wasn't that she didn't want to stay. It wasn't that she would have changed
her mind, but for one aching moment, she understood all that she had given up
for this.

The Inhibitors were starting to kick in. She could no
longer feel her legs. Her fingers were starting to go next. Her
heart would stop before her mind did. She had taken inhibitors twice
already to make certain she would survive them. It didn't frighten her the
way it had, that first time, and not knowing if she would awake again.
About a third of the people never did. They didn't know

So many things she should have done. So

Leaving Earth. She felt a little shiver then, knowing
they were never coming home. Going....

And she went to

The first few breaths were like coming
up from drowning. She coughed, thoughts swirling. She gagged a little at
the metallic taste of drugs and nanobots clearing the inhibitors out of her
system. She knew what was happening even when she didn't really focus on the

She was waking up. Another world. They had
reached -- somewhere. The computer had kicked in the revival mode and they
would be awakening -- she and all her friends. She heard the pod lift and
with adrenaline and understanding surging through her, she blinked several times
and focused --

Focused on a stranger.

There should be
no stranger son the ship.

Something had gone wrong.
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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Plot Bunnies are Ready for NaNo!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Time Out for a Thank You to Holly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ten days to NaNo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working on Summer Storm

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

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

Chapter 1

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

Just a storm after all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"About four blocks from the office."


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

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

"Yes. Just waiting the storm out."

"What's that odd pinging noise?"

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

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

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

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

Irony is lost on this woman.

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

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

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

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

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

Into November

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

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

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

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

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

But not tonight. Right now, I'm going to go get a bit of other work done and then get some sleep!
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Book Snippet


Busy and busy and busy. What was I working on the last time I was here? Probably Touched by the Wild. The book is done, but the art work isn't. I'm afraid that just is going to have to wait. Too much to get done between now and NaNo, and then from NaNo until the end of the year. I think it's going to be a real busy, now that I think about it. Ack.

I am working on a new book -- well, the rewrite of an old one, actually. I'm enjoying it, too. Some of the parts have had drastic changes, some less so -- but the story. The title is Infiltration. It's an SF story. It has a two part story, worked together -- first, a team of Inner World Council Security Agents have a very dangerous assignment to infiltrate and take back command of a post that is devoted to creating very dangerous, experimental weapons.

They need someone with special skills for this one, and the person the head of the IWCS suggests is someone who may not be stable. A number of people have recently died who were connected to him -- members of another IWCS team, his family -- and there is a real question about why they died. Was it an accident? Did someone kill them? Is he responsible? The head of the IWCS doesn't think he's responsible. That doesn't mean he's safe to be around.

Kip is the head of the team. Allie, the other person in this scene, is a general PITA. Delphian is the guy with the problems.

Kip sealed the airlock door behind him and they waited while it cycled, neither of them speaking. When the inner door opened, they walked up the corridor, heading for the Delta's small lounge and kitchen. The hall curved a little and climbed on a slight incline heading past the two quarters -- the 'girls' on the right and his on the left... though now it was for him and Delphian. He wasn't used to that yet.

He noticed how the plain blue walls of the hall were beginning to show a bit of wear and the brown carpet had dirt spots. He needed to get her refitted soon and cleaned up a bit. Maybe after this case, if they got any down time. They hadn't had much of that lately.

"I'm really beginning to dislike this assignment," Kip admitted.

"That just hit you did it?" Allie said with a shake of her head. "I didn't like this assignment before we acquired Delphian."

"Then why are you going along?"

"You don't have to like an assignment to know it needs to be done." She shrugged and started heating water, waving him toward a chair. It was a small kitchen, and he'd just get in the way. "Hell, the ones you dislike the most are the ones that most need to be handled."

He agreed and sat back, wishing the others would get back to the ship soon. Allie brought him over a couple cookies and his favorite tea. She knew what he liked, just as he knew she was drinking coffee with extra sweetener. He knew what Estes and Gina liked... which made him wonder about Delphian. What were his tastes? What would make him feel more at home? They needed ease to work together, and as the head of the team, it was his job to find the ways that would make this as easy as possible. Besides, this little scout was large compared to the cramped quarters of the glider where they were going to live soon as they reached their destination and went to work. If they were not at ease with each other by then, it was going to be trouble on the mission.

"Kip?" Allie asked as she settled in the chair across from him.

"Just wondering how Delphian will fit in."

"He's competent, from what the reports say," she said. He'd known she had accessed them, of course. "He's even likeable, if you can over look the fact that a lot of people die around him."

"Those incidents where either years apart in time, or light years apart in distance. They're probably totally unrelated accidents."

"I hope to hell not!" she answered, startling him again. "I want someone to be responsible for those deaths, Kip. I'll even accept Delphian himself as the killer. I can watch for enemies, but if it's just fate that people die around him, then we don't stand a chance in hell of surviving!"
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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What to do about NaNo?

It's difficult to get back into the swing of things this week. I'm running late, too -- I need to do a lot of DAZ work today. Wisely, I did a bunch of writing after midnight before I went to bed, so I'm doing okay there for today. Sometimes I count after midnight words on the day before if I haven't been to bed yet. But NaNo is coming up, so I need to get back into the 'actual day' count again anyway. And it will help out today.

Touched by the Wild is going pretty well. I still keep feeling as though I'm missing something here, but at least it feels closer. I'll get through this version, and unless I come up with some drastic change, the next version will just be an edit and additional material rather than a rewrite. Though, if it sits for a few years, it might get a complete rewrite again. I can't guess at this point.

Here is something I posted at FM yesterday... just to give people some idea of how things are going for NaNo!

I have not decided on a NaNo novel for this year. I have a few partially finished outlines and some ideas that haven't even gotten that far, and once I finish the current book (this week, I hope!), I'm going to go back to work on the other material. There are, I think, five possibilities for NaNo. I don't know if I will do more than one novel this year, so right now I'm just trying to decide on one to make certain that I have at least a basic outline and worldbuilding done in time.

Living at the Edge of the World -- Contemporary YA novel about a high school student who finds herself under federal protection and shipped off to a small town in the sand hills area of Nebraska after her mother (an international reporter) is kidnapped. The change from New York, plus the pressure of not knowing what happened to her mother and step-father causes serious problems, along with the casual harassment by the local teens who have never really dealt with an outsider before in their class.

This would be a relatively easy one to do... and for that reason I think I'll hold it for the second book if I do two this year. It's also likely to be fairly short. I have not done any outline work for it, but I think I can do a line or two per chapter and not have a real problem.

Broken Journey -- Science fiction. A group of 'sleepers' went into stasis on Earth, knowing they would not awake again until the ship they are on arrives at a viable new world, which could be hundreds of years in the future. However, when the leader of the group awakes, she finds herself looking into the face of a stranger -- and she immediately knows something has gone wrong. She learns that the ship was attacked and damaged in flight, that some of the sleepers were awakened then, and eventually, with the help of other aliens, they found a world. One generation died on the ship and there have been three more generations since they came to the world. And now things are going bad.

I have a partial outline for this one and a lot of ideas, but I haven't been able to pull it all together yet. I would really like to do a science fiction novel, though, and this one seems the best idea.

I'm Not Who You Think -- Contemporary YA mystery. A young man is shot when the place he works is robbed, and he has no memory of who he was... or what happened. The next year, after he returns to school, he's faced with problems dealing with family and former friends, as well as trouble with someone who doesn't want him to remember.

I've had this one as an outline for a few years, but I could never really get a feel for it until I recently thought of two things -- first, that the main character could be male rather than female (don't know why that seemed to work better...) and that when he was shot, he recognized someone, and they're now worried when he does start to remember things again.

Draw the Line -- This is a very complex science fiction tale, and though I've been working on background material for it for nearly a year now, I don't think I'm going to be ready to tell it by November. It's the story of an abandoned alien space station that has recently been found and partially repopulated by humans and three different alien groups. That station itself is also a 'character' in the book, doing things for reasons no one else understands. There is one human who has accidently made a connection to the station, which has left him mistrusted by just about everyone.

This book has multiple POV characters and four cultures, so the amount of work needed to do it properly is pretty intensive. I've gotten a lot of it, and I might push to get the rest... but it depends on how the rest of the work goes between now and November.

In the Shadow of Giants -- Sci-Fantasy. This one is a long shot. Back the first time I started the 2YN classes, I thought I would go through it with the rest of the people, and I came up with an idea that I really liked. Unfortunately, it got too hectic to go beyond the first few weeks of classes. I tried again the next year and didn't even get as far as the year before. I stopped trying to take part after that... but the very basic idea of the story has still been sitting there in my brain. In the far future, a member of the Chinese Gods kidnaps a member of the Norse Gods, and Odin -- known as Dion now -- must try to pull together the old team, who have scattered to the stars. The worst problem is drawing in Koil -- Loki -- who is not in the least bit interested in another go at being the fall guy for them.

The problems with this one is pretty obvious -- lots of pre-work needed on the various gods, and creating the culture in which they live and work. I think this one is going to have to wait until next year because I just can't see where I'll have time to do a lot of mythology studies between now and then.

Oh and let's not forget this, which I wrote up for a workshop on query letters for Vision:

Mark Carter should never have followed the ghost of Allisia, his murdered wife, down a dead end street.

Two years after the shocking death of his wife, Mark has finally put aside his grief, sold his home, packed away his wedding pictures, and taken a new job. At twenty-five, he's even found a new romance. Then, on a stormy afternoon, he sees the ghostly apparition of Allisia jogging along the road where she had died. In a frenzy of shock and grief, he leaps from the car and runs after her... and into a perilous world of shadows and ghosts, truths and deceptions.

Mark has stumbled into a world that parallels his own, and there he learns that his wife was not really human and is not fully dead, but rather is trapped in the area between worlds, where dangers he could never have imagined stalk her -- and now hunt him as well, as the link back to the world of light.

He also learns of Allisia's part in a plot to invade his world, but that she had defected and is now paying the price for her love of him. Uncertain whom he can trust in this new world, and learning he might become trapped as well, he still joins forces with her to fight back her former commander and defeat the dark forces bent on invasion. Their success is bittersweet, however, since Allisia can't come back with him, and he must leave the shadow lands or risk being the key that opens the doors for others.

Dead End Street is a completed urban fantasy novel of 96,500 words. The book has potential for additional stand-alone novels featuring Mark, his dead wife and the trouble brewing between the two worlds.

Haven't written that one, of course. I think I'd like to.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Russ is coming home this weekend. He'll be here late Friday or early Saturday and leave on Monday. I'm looking forward to seeing him! We have some work to get done around here, but at least we'll be doing it together.

I'm working on Touched by the Wild and making good progress again. Once I'm done with this one, I'll mostly work on outlines for a while and start preparing for the dreaded NaNo event of the year. I'm looking forward to it. It will be nice to just let myself fly for a month and not worry about too much else. Last year wasn't good since Russ left -- yes, almost a year already! And while I've gotten somewhat used to it, I don't like it any better.

But NaNo... I have a choice of five different story ideas, all of which need outline work and some that need a lot of background work as well. I would love to write something long and complex, but I'm not sure I'll have anything ready in time. I do have two lovely contemporary YA book ideas that would be fun. Three sf ideas. Nothing in fantasy, which is what I usually write for NaNo. Maybe I should be thinking about that.

My plan is to mostly just write for fun for the rest of the year. I don't think there is anything else that I need to really worry about to get to people. I would like to make a few more submissions, of course, but I'm not going to kill myself to do them. I have two unfinished novels, and one of those will be done in a couple days. The other is the third Silky novel, and it will be done by the end of the year. I have the ending scene in my mind... I can't wait to get to it!

See that -- that was enthusiasm for some writing again. It's been a bit lacking on my end for a few months. Not that I haven't written, of course. And even enjoyed the work -- but I haven't been as excited about it as I usually am. Now I'm starting to get some of that feel back. I guess it's the NaNo influence. I always get fired up about it.

Let's hope it's fun this year!
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Saturday, September 06, 2008

Thinking of NaNo

Writing is going very well at the moment. I'm rewriting a book, and so far I've enjoyed the work, and it's gotten me back into the groove of work again. I need this with NaNo only a couple months away. Once I'm done with this book, I'm going to be working on outlines for a while. And worldbuilding and all the other fun stuff that goes with it. I would like to have a couple very solid outlines for NaNo this year and see how I do.

Last year was my worst NaNo, but that was only because of outside influences. I still wrote quite a bit (over 200,000 words). I enjoyed leaping in and having fun with it, but by the end I was glad enough to be done. I hope that this year will be better, and I'm going to make certain that I have plenty of stuff ready to write, just so that I don't have to worry about added stress if there are problems.

This year has not been my best writing year in general -- but again, that has been due to outside forces, and I'm fighting my way past them so that I can get back to the enjoyment of the work. I don't want to do more nonfiction for awhile, with the exception of things like Vision. What I really need to do is concentrate on writing the stuff I enjoy and enjoying the stuff I write. So, with that in mind, I'm going to start looking forward to NaNo and all the crazy stuff that goes with it.

It might help if I get a clue about what I want to write for NaNo this year, though.

The weather here has dropped down cool enough that I have been avoiding the morning walks until I'm over my cold. It's been too damp, too. Even the cats were complaining about it, but I got out the plug in heater and set it up for them. Janey has finally shut up for the first time in a week. I can hear myself think again!

It is funny, sometimes, to watch how the cats react to the changing weather. For a couple weeks I couldn't keep them off the screened-in porch. They would climb into and onto the boxes out there and stay all day. It was heavenly not to have them all over my desk.

Then it got cooler. Suddenly, there were cats on my desk, in my lap, on the back of my chair... climbing all over me trying to snuggle in for the winter. Come on guys! It's not that cold!

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Monday, September 01, 2008

September and Holly's Class

Isn't that a lovely picture? Dawn on the Missouri River with a bit of fog. The obelisk in the background is the Sgt. Floyd monument. Sgt. Floyd was the only member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to die. It should have been the first of the registered national monuments, but the paper work got 'lost' so that somewhere on the more popular East Coast could claim that distinction.

There's your local history lesson for the year.

Let's talk about Holly Lisle's new classes.

This is a really fantastic six month course. I've had a chance to look over the first two months, and Holly, as usual, brings all her expertise and enthusiasm to helping other writers. I suggest that all writers take a look at this, even if they aren't certain they want a career in publishing. She starts with creating stories and moves on from there. Go take a look!

And what have I been doing? Getting things done, for a change. I am waiting on a couple things from Russ on the nonfiction book, and then it is off to the publisher. I have Silky 2 done and it's going to head to Holly in the next couple days. Vision is up. I actually finished a couple projects over the last few days, thanks to the Unfinished Business dare at FM. My list for today looks remarkably reasonable for a change. I'm sure that will change quickly enough.

I'm excited about the story I'm working on. I don't think it is going to be more than a novelette, or maybe a novella. I had hoped to finish it for Unfinished Business, but the work on Vision took too much time and slowed me down. I'm about to go back to it, though, and I'm really excited to get going. I'm having fun with this one!

I hope that I can make September a good writing month. I need one!
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It's nearly that time again....

I have run into a distressing number of people lately who are basically telling writers 'my way or not at all.' They say this even when 'their way' has nothing to do with other person's needs or wishes. The problem is that these people tend to 'yell' louder than others, and draw more attention, and people listen to them because they either offer an easy answer or because they're so pretentious people who don't know any better think they must really know something.

The real problem, I think, is that these loud people are purposefully blind to others. They want the world to run in their way, and to their needs, and the best way to do that is to convince everyone else that theirs is the only answers. They're generally pretty impolite to people who don't agree with them, too. Which, okay, doesn't always bring out the best in me, either. I know it, and sometimes I don't care.

NaNo is coming. Yes, this is related to the stuff above. The moment NaNo starts being mentioned in some places, it's bound to draw all the fury of the 'I am an ARTIST not a HACK' over-the-top reactions from people who know this isn't for them, and therefore it can't be good (or fun, for that matter) for anyone else.

NaNo is fun, it's exciting, it's a good way for some people to get going on their writing, and it has absolutely no affect on anyone who does not take part. It's not the death of literature. Most of the people who join in won't finish, and those who do will mostly share their work with their friends -- and those who hate NaNo will never even see it. A few will go on to rewrite and work on their novels and hone them into something far better than the quick, first draft they've written.

But that part doesn't matter. People are not required to rework their stories. If thousands of people spend their November writing just for the joy of it, it will no more affect your life than it would if they all took up skydiving.

What others write cannot affect what you write. Only you can do that, and all the pretentious hand-wringing and cries of dismay that the NaNo people dare to call themselves authors, and dare to claim to have written anything is the only affect it really has on them. They're doing it to themselves because it is oh-so-elitist to show how they would never stoop to something so plebian.

My usual thought is 'So go write and shut up. Prove how superior you are... and we'll just go on having fun.'

We have about two months until NaNo, and some of us are looking forward to the sheer fun of it. Time to start checking the subconscious for characters, dusting off half-formed ideas, and begin lining it all up!
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Book is Done!

The book has been done for a couple days, in fact, but it's taken me that long to recover and get my brain back into some sort of working order. And actually, it's not completely done. Russ is reading it for me to help with some editing and to help put together an index. Then, off it will go! And I'll be done with it! Yay!

I am now working on the last run through on Silky 2, which should have been done before now, but had to be put aside or else I wouldn't have gotten either book done. Silky 2 is moving along very well now. I'm glad I didn't push it, because I've found a few places that needed considerable work. I've added quite a bit already.

But here is a little section from the first chapter that I really like:

"Oh, do watch yourself, my lord." Queen Maris leaned forward and this time
Garver sat back, his face paling just a little, and his hands fluttering as
though he expected her to leap forward and attack. "Do be very careful of
what you say in my presence. I have put up with a great deal of your
boorish bad manners in the last year, and I have decided this is the last
warning you are going to get. I brought you to my palace this morning
because you made statements last night in the presence of foreign dignitaries,
and they found your statements both outrageous and even treasonous. They
came to me to tell me of such things -- this from people who are not even my
subjects. I am inclined to think you are only stupid -- don't glare, Lord
Garver, because treasonous is not entirely out of the question yet since that is
the other choice. Am I clear on this, Lord Garver?"

I've already written about 4k on a new outline as well. I really didn't need to start a new outline, but I had used some bits of it for examples in the nonfiction book, and I decided I wanted to see where it would go. I think it is going to be a NaNo book if I can work my way through the rest of it.

I just spent this morning trying to get caught up on the extra little DAZ work I need to do. I have to start working on the next newsletter, but that shouldn't be too bad. I just have to get my mind around the items for this week and figure out what pieces could go with them.

And they are trenching out in my alley today. They supposedly have all the underground stuff marked, but I keep expecting to lose power or Internet. Life works that way for me. I'm just curious why they had to mark the underground stuff all the way from the front of my house back to the alley. I sure hope they don't intend to do more than dig up the alley!

Okay, it's time for me to get back to work. I have other things I need to get caught up on as well, but mostly I'm going to go back to work on Silky 2!
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Going well!

The book is over 60,000 words and I still have a bit more to write, so all is going well there. Russ was supposed to come home this weekend, but it looks like we'll have to wait for Labor Day weekend instead. As things go lately, that's not so long a wait.

I've been doing a lot of research for this book, pulling out a number of favorite nonfiction books from Matt Ridley's Genome to J. Bronowski's The Ascent of Man. I haven't looked at that last one in a long time, and I'd forgotten how readable and fun it was. I think I'm going to put it aside to re-read after I get other things done.

I've also been listening to one of the Barnes and Noble Portable Professor collections -- this one on Ancient Rome. I had listened to part of it before and I really loved it. Last night, I took it into bed and listened to the first two lectures, and it was wonderful. We have a large collection of these types of things, most of them on American History (Russ's favorite), so I'll likely be listening to quite a few for a while here. It was interesting, with the lights off and the head phones on, and to have nothing at all distracting me from what was being said.

Learning things is always so much fun.

I've still been walking most mornings -- though not this morning because of a major storm. I am, however, working at switching my days around so that it's not the last thing I do before I sleep, but rather the first thing I do when I wake up. This is a big change, and I don't know if I'll like it. If not, I'll just go back to night work. I just figure it doesn't hurt to switch things around now and then. The good thing about doing much of my work at night is that there are no distractions at all... except for the cats and an occasional storm. Day time has noises, birds in the yard, mail going by... and things I could be doing rather than writing.

Maybe I need to have some of those other things. Maybe not. We'll see.

Anyway, back to the book. I'm working in the last few pieces and then I have to look at the ending piece again, because I really don't think I like it. I may still pull a couple thousand words and do something different.

I think it's turned out to be a good book. Let's hope the publisher thinks so as well! Though, having mentioned this work to one other publisher has gotten that one interested, so maybe all will not be lost anyway!

I've still be walking most mornings. Couldn't go yesterday because of a storm, but I've already been out for a walk today. It was a great day for it, too. Lots of lovely pictures, including the one I posted here. I just got back, and I think I'm going to go back to work on some writing.
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