Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March Madness at FM

You know, if it wasn't for Outlook popping things up to remind me now and then, I probably wouldn't have a clue what day it is. Actually, I thought it was Thursday today. I've been rushing to try and get the DAZ Newsletter done... which is a good thing, really. It means it will be done tonight, I think. Early. I like that part! And it's odd, because otherwise I knew it was Wednesday and the first day of March Madness. But my brain told me it was Thursday when it came to the Newsletter.

We have started March Madness over at FM. I was going to go with something new... but I decided it would be too insane to drop Kat Among the Pigeons when it is going so well. I don't need to work on something new... I need to get this book finished so I can put a query out on it.

So, I am going to try and push to finish it over the next week. That really should be fun besides being the important and right thing to do. I think I can do it -- it's probably between 30 and 40k left to go.

And if I get it done early, I think I'll start the next Silky novel. That should be fun!

This is good in other ways, too. It's less stress on me, which I am trying to do this year. Do fun things. Play more with graphic programs... as you can tell from this picture. I am learning Poser 7. It does things quite differently from DAZ Studio, even though it uses the same models. I have found it frustrating at times, but I'm starting to get the knack of it. It's fun to learn new things and be a bit creative at the same time.

Here is a snippet of Kat. By this time next week, I should be done with it!

Snippet of Kat Among the Pigeons:

After a quick shower I looked in on David again. He'd pulled a pillow over his head, obviously trying to block out the sunlight. I thought it cute.

Yeah, I know. That new love stuff can drive a person crazy. I'd have to try and curb all that sweetness and get back to work. Soon. Really.

I walked out to the living room in time to find Gaylord balanced on the back of a chair close to the window and making kissy sounds. On a branch the other side sat one of those startling blue stellar jays that populate the area. It was giving him the evil eye, as far as I could tell.

"What are you doing?" I asked, coming up beside him.

"Are you kidding? Look at her! She's gorgeous. Look at those wings! Man, I'd love to nest in those wings. And those tail feathers!" He gave a cockatiel version of a wolf whistle.

"She's not even your species."

"Hey," he said, jabbing at my arm. "Do I say anything about you and the human?"

You can't argue with a point like that.

I went to the kitchen and made tea and toast, sent a little magical nudge to get David up out of bed and into the shower. I had everything waiting on the table when he came out, though it took a little magic to get it there on time.

He looked startled and pleased when I waved him toward the chair. I had already settled into mine and sipping tea as though I hadn't just rushed through everything like a crazed pixie.

"Thank you! This looks great!" He smiled as he sat down. "Do you think it's going to snow all day?"

"I think it's going to snow until this mess clears up. This much magic in the area is bound to interact with the weather."

He sipped his tea and looked at me over the cup. "What are we going to do?"

I could have said that I didn't want him involved, but it would have been a stupid thing to say, and the kind of line that makes me wince in the movies. He was just as involved as me at this point. Tell him he couldn't help because he didn't have magic? Neither did Cato, but he helped.

And it was his world.
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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just a quick Wednesday Post

It's been a busy day! It wasn't supposed to be, but things got a bit out of hand and then DAZ unexpectedly had a bit more work for me. That's mostly done, so it's not as bad as it could have been. Now, however, I'm working on the newsletter again. I'm going for an sf theme this time. It seems to be falling together pretty well, too.

March Madness is coming up pretty soon at FM. I put the post up about it tonight. That should be fun. I'm not certain what I'm going to work on... it depends on how close to done I am on Kat Among the Pigeons by then. It's been moving along very well, and I might just keep at it and maybe push through to the end. I don't think the rules forbid rewriting from scratch, though maybe I should look for something new just to be on the 'good side' of it. I don't know. I don't want to lose my focus on the novel, but it would be far easier to write it than to do something new, so that might not be fair to the others. I would really like to get this draft done, though. I want to be able to let it sit for a while and maybe query it no later than June after a final edit.

Anyway... we'll see.

Since I posted a little bit of Kat Among the Pigeons the other day, I'll skip on this one. Just read the post below.

And that's really it. I plainly don't know what I'm doing at all.
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Monday, March 16, 2009

A Quick Snippet of Kat Among the Pigeons

Just because I think it's a fun scene. Remember -- Kat can talk to cats and birds, and Cato is her cat companion.

"I thought he'd protest when Aletta chased me out, but he didn't," Cato admitted. "I really thought he liked me. I thought he liked you."

"Well, I pretty much screwed that up." I threw myself down in my chair. He leapt up on the arm and then rubbed his head against my shoulder, trying to be nice. I didn't wince, even though the shoulder still hurt. "I was trying to get him to leave for a while -- not long. Just while I got this mess cleaned up. And it is a mess, Cato. A really bad one. I was going to ask Aletta to help me --"

"You must be desperate."

"Yes. I am. I need back up on this. I can't handle it. But now... now I feel like I can't trust Aletta, and that won't help me. I have to be able to trust the person I work with. Why did she do this? David isn't even her type!"

"I could bite her on the nose if you like. Nothing looks good with a swollen nose."

He made me laugh a little. I reached up and rubbed his ears, and Cato jumped into my lap and settled there with happy pussyfoots. It helped. A happy cat always helps me to relax, and having him here meant a great deal right now.

I glanced at Shakespeare.

"Thine image and a name -- a name! Two separate -- yet most intimate things."

I sighed. This was my world, with a cat as my best friend and a crazed bird as my only other companion. I leaned back in the chair and forced myself to relax. I accepted that I had lost David. Maybe, after I got through the rest of this mess, I could somehow work things out, but right now -- right now I had far more important worries than my own romantic future.

"I think there might be dragons," I said softly, as though I didn't even want to admit it aloud.

"Like you think dragons might really exist, right?" Cato said, his head coming up, his eyes large eyes blinking. "Not like "I think there might be dragons here on this side of The Edge." Because if there are dragons out there, I'm never leaving the house again."

"I'll have some cases of food delivered for you, then."

"Oh." He lowered his head and tried to bury it in the crook of my arm. "I don't want to know."
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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

More Kat Among the Pigeons

Dare I say it? Writing is going VERY well right now. Draw the Line is still moving along at its snail pace of 500 words -- about 35k now. Hmmm... if I want a 100k book, how long is that going to take me anyway? 200 days, right? So a bit over half a year. I suppose that's really not too bad. Kind of odd for me, but not too bad.

I need to look at what I want to happen before the halfway point, though. Because I'm not writing it straight through, it is harder to see the steps.

Kat Among the Pigeons is also doing well. Far more work than I expected, but doing fine. I'm probably a third of the way through it. I also have a short story I started that I need to get back to soon, so that's good.

Short story class is nearly done, as well. So there... getting things done. I feel as though I'm actually on top of things, and that should last for at least an hour or two more before I remember all the things that I really do need to get done.

Ah, and let's talk about the weather, shall we? -16 wind chills last night. Too cold to sleep. We have snow back on the ground yet again, though only a dusting of it. It will melt. I know it will. In fact, it looks like we might be back up to about 50 on Saturday, so I don't have to suffer through this for too long. Will it stay this time? I really have my doubts. It's been that kind of year. And what if the cold does go away? I'll probably half 100f weather with 99% humidity the next week.

Not that I mistrust it or anything.

The big thing I need to work on tonight are the two new sections for FM. I have them both mapped out, and the main board done for one, so that won't be too bad. I hope to have both done and going by this weekend, though it's hard to say if I will get there. I have a few things to sort out with it first, but I don't think it will be too hard to do.

I do need to get back to work on the DAZ Newsletter, though it's almost done. (See, I told you there would be something that would pop up.) It's almost done, though, so it shouldn't be too much trouble.

But here is another bit of Kat Among the Pigeons! Hope you enjoy it!

I had just about reached the point where I thought it safe to get us back to home when something came flapping through the trees at us. Remembering the nuthatches and their fear of 'big wings' brought magic right up to my fingertips, but as the creature landed in the tree before me, I could see it was another great horned owl. The lighter feathers on his chest and wings caught the faint moonlight and made them look silvery, and the brown circles of his face had turned darker in the night, so that only his great golden eyes shown from them, while his ear twisted back and forth.

"Who is it?" he demanded staring into the night. "Who is it?"

Only I realized he wasn't looking at me.

I spun and found the ethereal shape of a man on horseback a few yards behind us. He glowed very softly, and not from the moonlight. That was pure magic. I could almost see the face in the shape of light --

But more than that, now that I knew it was there, I could feel the cold, empty hunger that it brought with him. It wanted... wanted something. It yearned for something, and I had the odd feeling that thing might be life.

Cato had fluffed up again, but he didn't hiss and looked as though he tried not to draw attention, wise cat. This wasn't something you wanted to look at you and to know that you even exist. I didn't know quite what stood there before me -- not a ghost, at least in the conventional sense. It had too much of a feel of fae in the magic that made it glow.

I did know this creature did not belong here. Neither horse nor rider should not have been wandering the woods, and they most certainly should not have been following me.

"Who are you?" I asked aloud, and sounded far too much like the owl.

Cato made a little shushing sound, like I shouldn't be talking to this creature. I needed some answers, though, before I could send it back. This wasn't like the trolls: Sleep would not work on a specter, and I had the distinct feeling I wasn't going to talk this one into crossing back either.

Purpose. That's what I felt, above the hunger. It had a purpose.

The horse took quick two steps closer to me. The owl lifted and flew off, drawing the look of horse and rider. That told me two things: that it really was here in this world, and not just a shadow from the other side, and that it had trouble concentrating. The creature should never have taken his eyes from me.

I lifted my hand and started to let lose a bolt of magic that would have shattered the ephemeral bonds of the shape he held. However, it looked back, and the rider pulled the horse to the side. My magic swept past and shattered against a tree.

I pulled up another bolt, but the horse and rider had already turned and rushed into the shadowy woods. I couldn't let it go that easily. I raced after it.

Maybe not wise...

Fae can run easily in the woods. It's a gift of being magical, which means we are closer to that innate magic of nature. I had no trouble following the two. They seemed to have trouble navigating between the trees and the brush, and mostly followed the elk trails, to a brook, across it -- Cato howled as we splashed through that one. I thought about stopping to pick him up, but the rider had slowed a little, and I thought maybe his reserves were running low.

"I have to get him!" I said, panting a little as we jogged on.

"Yeah," Cato answered, more out of breath than me.

We startled more than elk during the mad dash through the woods. I think we even passed a couple bears. I sent out a little pulse of power to make certain nothing came charging after us and grabbed Cato. Startling bears or moose is never a good idea; they'll sometimes charge you just out of pure frustration, I think.

We turned back toward The Edge. Good. Maybe I could get this thing through to the other side and be done with this for the night. I wanted to go home and not have any more problems. This thing must have come through with the trolls, wandered around a bit, and then found me. With my magic, I would be a beacon to anything from fae. I didn't quite know what this was, but sometimes things start as myths and drift over from the human side. Myths always have some magic involved, and if they are strong enough, they migrate to fae. This had the feel of something out of a storybook, though I couldn't name it.

At the next turn, the horse and rider stopped and looked at me as I charged forward. I slowed. I didn't want a confrontation since I couldn't be certain of its powers. It looked like a ghost, but that didn't make it one. And besides, even ghosts can be dangerous.

The horse panted and the rider leaned forward over the neck, patting it behind the ears. I could see the odd shape of some helmet on his head. I couldn't make it out, but it wasn't a cowboy hat and didn't look Native American, either. I wanted to see more clearly, but the moment I took a step forward the horse and rider turned and fled again.


I didn't want to spend all night running through the woods.

"Kat!" Cato protested when I started up again.

"Stay here. I'll come back for you!"

"Stay?" I heard him call out as I dashed back into the shadows of the trees again. "Are you crazy?"

I thought I must be, but I couldn't stop chasing the horse and rider. They were tiring and I thought it would be easy to either destroy it or get it back through The Edge. I wanted the last answer, because I always hate destroying something. It might not be a danger --

I knew that wasn't true. I could still feel the hunger and the need like a cold breeze where they passed. It wanted something here. It shouldn't be in this world, but wanting something as well meant an imbalance.

I thought I could hear Cato panting along behind me. I started to tire and slow. Off to the left The Edge glowed and I could feel growing magic in the air. I drew a little to myself, hoping I didn't cause more problems -- and hoping that whatever I pursued couldn't do the same.

I could see horse and rider clearly ahead again, in a little opening where they stopped by The Edge, the horse's head down and the rider slumped in the saddle.

This was almost over.


I glanced down to see Cato throw himself in front of me. I tripped over him and landed face down in the snow bank.

And from here I could see the wide, deep ravine between me and the rider. If Cato hadn't tripped me I would have tumbled over the embankment, and I don't think I could have pulled magic up quickly enough to save myself from some a serious injury.

I scrambled back from the ravine on hands and knees and looked across to the horse and rider. They had cast aside the charade of being worn. I looked into his face: Dark eyes, almost real, stared back at me. We measured each other in that silent moment, and I knew I didn't come out the stronger of the two of us.

Half panicked, I pulled more magic to me. It came like the flash of lightning in the air, and I started to cast --

The rider turned to The Edge, the horse prancing forward those few steps --

And they passed through without even opening a door or tearing a hole.

"Oh hell," I said softly. The magic danced in my hands as I stared. "Oh, that can't be good at all."

"Can we go home now?" Cato asked plaintively. He nuzzled up against my side since I still knelt in the snow. "I think it would be very nice to go home now."

"Yeah," I agreed and carefully let go of the magic before I picked him up. "Thanks, Cato. I think you saved my life."

"Least I could do for that half a can of tuna," he said.

"Whole can," I replied.

"Let's go."

I gladly picked him up and carried him back away from The Edge again. He sat with his paws and head resting on my shoulder and kept watch behind as we left.
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Thursday, March 05, 2009

A bit more of Kat...

This a picture from the De Soto Wildlife Refuge, where Russ and I went this last weekend.

I had a good weekend with Russ home. Sure hope we can do that more often over the next few months. Winter was very hard for both of us. Having a chance for Russ to come home more often again is a good feeling.

I love my new computer. The only problem I'm having at all is that I forgot my LJ password. I had it last week. It's gone this week. Brain just will not track. I think I've just had too much going on.

I finally got Vision posted today. Between the new computer and Russ being home, I just couldn't get it done in time. But it is finished now and posted. I'm relieved. And, amazingly, I am caught up on my writing as well. Kat Among the Pigeons has been a joy to work on, but a lot rougher than I expected it to be. Good thing to be working on, I guess.
What else has been going on? Nothing really. The weather is finally improving, so I'll be out doing walks again soon. That will help a lot!

And here we have another, short snippet from Kat Among the Pigeons. I hope you enjoy it!

"I think there's something more going on, Cato," I said at last. "I think something pushed those trolls through on purpose. And that means a lot of trouble for us."

"Why would someone do that?" he asked. He sat down and cleaned a paw, looking thoughtful.

"I don't know, and that's what worries me. Maybe it's just pixies playing games. They have no sense of the trouble they can create when they do stuff. Think of nuthatches with magic."

"Ugh. That's not a pleasant thought," he said. He rubbed against my leg. "Can we go home now?"

"We're going to fly again you know."

"I know. I just want to get back to our nice, quiet house."

"The one with the cans of tuna."

"That would be the one," he agreed.

He made me laugh again. I finally forced myself to move down the hillside and out of direct view of The Edge. We had to get some distance before I did magic again, or who knew what might happen. I'd tempted fate a few too many times already.

We startled some elk -- though not as much as they startled Cato who leapt, fluffed, hissed and spat at the animals.

"Yeah, that's going to scare them," I said to him, trying not to laugh again.

"They ran, didn't they?" he said, and dared me to tell him it was not because of his bravery.

"Good point. I think about another half mile should be good enough." I looked back and could still see a glint of the light.

Cato didn't argue. Of course he would pretty much agree to anything for half a can of tuna. I don't like to say that he's easy to bribe, but if you know his price....
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