I'm off to the islands today! Seeya in July!
- I'm leaving this week for Seattle.
I didn't think it would ever get here. It's all I can do to get through each day at work. Just to escape anywhere for a week... I can hardly believe this stuff has been going on for two years now, with no end in sight. What the academic setting lacks in bottom line pressures, it makes up for with politics and egos. A different type of stress, but the end result is much the same. I can't wait to get away.
- And for my little hint of good news a couple of months ago -- I was accepted into the Viable Paradise V workshop!!! I'm so thrilled! I've been dying to say something on these
pages, but I gave my word not to until closer to the deadline. It's 3 days away, so now I can announce it freely! WOOHOO!!!
Maybe I'll finally learn what's been holding me back in my fiction, where the problems lie, and maybe some hints on to how to fix them!! With six name pros, the odds are good that I'll learn about the craft and what I'm doing wrong. The workshop is in October and I can't wait!
- A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a copy of Donald Maass' new book, Writing the Breakout Novel. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I've been waiting for this book to
come out for months. Can't wait to dive into it!
- On Wednesday, I'll be attending a Memorial Service for my friend who died of cancer in March. She's been gone three months now and I still haven't gotten used to her not being in the
I'll hear someone's voice that sounds like hers or I'll get up from my desk to tell her something and then remember that she's not there. Late last week, her dog had to be put to sleep. At least, Nestle is with her now. I know how much she worried over her dog, but they're together now.
- My cat Bailey has become The Amazing Flying Bailey!
We have one of those "feathers on a stick" toys for cats and he just goes wild whenever you pull out this toy. He leaps sometimes four feet into the air, does a triple axle, and lands on his feet! He's just hysterical to watch. Much more fun to watch than the television. ;) At this time of the year, my cat, Seville gets this HUGE, MASSIVE coat that makes her look like a beachball with feet. And she's official become The Beachball. This place is starting to look like a circus act. ;) Have a good one.
- Nobody panic! I know this is two entries in a row in the same week, but the Four Horsemen haven't even saddled up yet. Return to your homes.
All is well. Do I have anything to talk about? Not really. Okay, maybe one small little thing. (It may not be much to anyone else though) I've written WORDS two days in a row this week. Actual words. After losing my cat, my uncle, and my good friend in a month's time, well -- I haven't been myself for a while. I'm not quite sure I know the person I am right now, but that's okay. See, I haven't wanted to do anything, much less anything creative. There seemed to be this futility to everything I did. And that horrible numbness where nothing penetrates. I didn't think I had anything to say. And the words just all seemed so cheap and patronizing. Just a jumble of bullshit images that weren't fooling me or anyone else. Writing just seemed like this distant thing that I didn't want to look on or touch. After all, those words come from our inner world that can be difficult to share with others and when grief dominates that place, the words are even harder to share.
- I'm not sure that I have anything to say even now, but ideas are starting to touch my brain every now and then. Is it a productive pace?
Don't know, don't care. These past two years have tested me to my emotional limits and writing has become one more emotional test. I didn't know if I'd come back to it this time. I really wasn't sure, but I wanted to know if I had it in me to leave the words behind. I've been doing lots of other things -- learning to sculpt, learning to paint, gardening, building things. And as I did these things, the fiction markets started to fall away, the pressure of trying to break into markets that will never buy my fiction, the constant push-push of trying to keep pace with writers I will never match, all of it fell away with the soft curve of clay and the thick swipe of paint on canvas. It didn't matter that only a few people would see my handicrafts. It didn't matter if
saw them. I saw them and I found them pleasing. They didn't have to be perfect. They just had to be. But . . . in the end, I couldn't leave the words behind. The words are me. It was a nice break from all the pressures to perform, but the words remain. I'm sure these pressures will return. It's the nature of the business. And like it or not, it is a business. But I'm human and I have many limitations. But one of my better qualities is stubbornness. So, the writing continues. :) Wild Blue is moving forward slowly, but still moving forward. And that feels really good. Have a good evening!
- These past couple of weeks I've been working on synopses and chapter outlines.
Still working my way through the story though, so it's going to be a while before I'm ready to move beyond my synopsis. I've also been messing with the titles in the trilogy and I think I've finally got two solid titles that fit nicely with the first book's title. The story is about 60% there -- just need to analyze what happens in the last few chapters of the book. That's where I've been a little stuck.
- I'm about halfway through a new short story titled, Rendered in Wild Blue. Not sure how long this story will be yet, but it's moving steadily.
My gut tells me about 5.5 to 6K, so we'll see. I also have a feeling that this story could be a runaway train. I have a minor plot issue to resolve, but otherwise, I have the whole story in my head. I may just let up on the brakes and let this one go, see where it ends up. It's kind of a cool story.
- My vacation is coming up at the end of the month. I'm literally counting the days and hoping nothing screws it up. It's been another long year since I've seen the orcas.
Maybe this year I'll get to see J-Pod? Last year, I didn't get to see them. From what I've read, J-Pod has a new calf or two this year.
Can't wait to see the babies from all the pods! I'd better get back to my writing. Take care!
- I celebrated a birthday this week.
It was a quiet evening with my parents. We ate pizza and watched my goofball cat, Bailey run wild through the stray wrapping paper and boxes. Even cranky ol' Seville came in and played. Then my mom sent me on a scavenger hunt to find my main gift which turned out (after a bit of searching) to be a wonderful, compact stereo system by Aiwa! It's got great sound and loads CDs vertically!! It's way cool -- I was so surprised! And my dad gave me an absolutely exquisite emerald ring (my birth stone). My brother and sister-in-law sent me a set of six, jewel tone fountain pen inks that are just gorgeous! I've already tried out the amethyst and emerald inks! From one of my favorite stores, too (Levengers). If you like pens and desk things, you've gotta check out Levengers. I think they're on the web. My friend Patricia sent me this adorable Boyd's bear (a princess named Bailey!) and the book When I Am Old, I Shall Wear Purple. I'm really enjoying the book so far! Okay, I'm only 37, but you've gotta think about these things. I already wear purple, so I've gotta come up with something wilder for when I'm old. Hmmm -- Christmas Lights and Shrink Wrap? Seville had her annual checkup this past Saturday and the blood work was all very good except for some sort of allergy count. It turns out that my little baby has a severe allergy to something. She's going to need to take benadryl and we're going to have to figure out what she's allergic to...maybe it's cats? (haha!)
- Heartfelt sympathies to Vera on the loss of her beloved kitty, Susie. I'm so sorry, Vi.
- This weekend I'm going to install a garden arch in our backyard.
I bought some dragonfly stepping stones to go with. Hope it all turns out. Two weeks ago, I planted a dwarf cherry tree and with the hard clay soil in this area, it was a royal pain digging that hole. But the tree is doing well. Have a good evening...
- The above graphic was a little exercise in writing avoidance. It may not stay, but for now...eh, what the heck?
- Happy Birthday to Ron Collins! Hope your day was terrific!
- Tomorrow is my little Sevilli's 11th birthday!
- MY DSL CONNECTION WENT ACTIVE TODAY!!!! I cannot begin to tell you how wonderful it is to connect to the web now....my modem connection
was abysmal! (glyph of Happy Dancing)
- I keep forgetting to mention that Sword & Sorceress XVIII
is out this month, containing my very silly short-short, Armageddon. This is the last sold story of mine in the queue. I feel rather uncomfortable at this realization, but no sense in worrying about it. I'll just refer to this as the "Opaque Period" in my writing career. ;)
- In other news, I've started working on revising a synopsis for a novel that I will probably start writing soon.
For the moment, I've decided to work on book 2 of a fantasy novel. Working title is [Through] Tangled Veils. This feels strange to me.
I haven't visited this world for 3 years and I really enjoyed going back to it. There is a lot left to write here, so I look forward to riding around in these characters' heads again. I've decided to let Listening for the Sound percolate a little further.
- Picked up Thunder Rift
by Matthew Farrell! Looks like a terrific read! I can't wait to get into it this weekend. I haven't read a good SF book in some time. Currently, I'm reading One Writer's Beginnings
by Eudora Welty and I have to tell you, this book is so intriguing. If you like reading about other writers' processes, check out this little book. It's really resonating with me. Have a good evening...
- It's already May...amazing. So far, this year has been one big blur. I feel like I've lost my voice.
It's a little hard to explain, but the end result is that I haven't written a coherent line of fiction since January. The desire is there, but the words aren't. It's a little scary and that blank screen just gets bigger and bigger. I just can't seem to get myself back on the horse. Maybe I just need to get angry and say the hell with everything and just write? I don't know why it's become so hard. Maybe I'm just not listening anymore? Or maybe I'm listening too hard. I don't know. Not a lot of things make sense to me these days. I keep telling myself that I just need a little more time, like I have all the time in the world. But I don't. No one does. Sometimes, all we get are a few moments here, an hour there, and we expect another one to come after the next. But sometimes, it all just stops and you're left wondering why you took it all for granted, why you let so many moments slip through your fingers, words unsaid, deeds undone, actions uncommitted. But later, you reach out and pick up those moments again -- the squeeze of a hand, glints of recognition, words scrawled on scraps of paper. It's only later that you try so hard to hold onto those moments again, the ones that slipped by when you weren't looking, when you weren't listening. Or maybe you were listening and the words were just too painful, too close, too raw? Maybe the echoes are too jarring? Or they've faded into that empty place? Too soft or too loud, that clock is still ticking away the moments. I've gotta stop counting them and start filling them. Have a good evening
- Gosh, it's been a little while since I've updated this place... At this moment, I'm contemplating my next project, working out some high concepts, story arcs, all that good stuff.
Yes...my next project will be a novel. I'm debating on two different ideas right now, trying to decide which one I want to write. I'm leaning toward one idea at the moment. The working title is Listening for the Sound. The other idea is a sequel to a manuscript that I've already written. LotS is currently leading as I work out the main plot and characters, etc.
- I got some good news this week...but unfortunately I can't "publicize" it yet. I will though as soon as I'm allowed to announce it. :)
- I've been asked to do some writing workshops! There will most likely be two of them and they will be in July.
I think it will be an enjoyable experience, if I can make it fun and informative. Still working on my format. My educational background is in instructional design, so I did a graduate project on how to teach writing. Some of master's work will finally come in handy!
Have a good evening!
Looks like I'll be doing a Nebula Awards Weekend signing! My signing will be on Saturday, April 28th, 10 am to 12 pm at:
If you're going to be near the Greencastle area, please stop by the bookstore! I'll be signing copies of my latest anthology appearances such as Outside the Box, Treachery & Treason, Sword & Sorceress XVII,
etc. So, come on down!
My dad has to have lung surgery soon. To repair the damage done during the complications he had from last year's open heart surgery. He hasn't gotten a surgery date yet, but that will come soon. Last week, he had an aspiration procedure done to the lung and ended up in the emergency room that evening (it was a looong evening, too). I'm hoping that this will be the last surgery he's going to need for some time to come.
Have a good evening...
RANT MODE ON (I apologize for nothing...you've been warned.)
- Yes, my hackles are raised high and my detachment has just gone out the window with the huge kneejerk you're about to read.
Some people out there see doing a novel Dare as nothing more than grandstanding. First of all, I take strong offense at this. Grandstanding sounds like a huge ego trip where the sole goal of the whole dare is to show off how fast I can write and how many words I can slop down on a page. WRONG! I don't give a damn what other people think about my writing methods. And to make HUGE assumptions of the quality of a book because it was written in a month -- sorry, but until you've seen the finished product, you can't judge quality. I am a rewriter. That's where I do my best work. For me, writing begins AFTER I HAVE THAT FIRST DRAFT TO WORK WITH!!!! The first novel dare I did was in 1995. I did it by myself in the privacy of my own home. When I did my second dare, I invited a friend and opened the door so anyone else who might be a new/aspiring writer could examine the process along with my friend. Sorry, but for this chick, doing a Dare has nothing to do with showing everybody how quick and clever I am. Do what works for you as a writer and to hell with everyone else. When you buy a novel, you have no damned clue how long it took that writer to write that book. No, the Dare isn't for everyone. Yes, it's okay to write slowly. But dammit, it's okay to write fast, too!!!! I wrote a short story a week for two years. And yes, the vast majority of those stories weren't any good. But they weren't bad because I wrote them in a week. They were bad because I hadn't PRACTICED ENOUGH! Yes, writing is like sports, like playing the piano, like juggling -- all of them require PRACTICE. The more you write, the more you learn, the more you improve. The more words you put down on the page, the more you stretch yourself as a writer. Fast or slow doesn't matter. What matters is the act of putting the words on the page. And finding THE WAY YOU WORK BEST AS A WRITER. YOU! Not how I write or Joe Bizotz writes or even Stephen King. Those tendrils of hopes and fears and dreams writhing around in your own brain make your voice different from ANYONE ELSE'S. So why would you expect the way you work to be the exact same way that any other writer works? If we knew what writing method led to unlimited success, then everyone would be using it. But there isn't one way. And insulting another writer's approach by calling it grandstanding really ticks me off. Okay, it doesn't work for you. Fine. But don't assume to know the motivation behind it when you don't know. It's not about grandstanding. It's about COMPLETING A FIRST DRAFT. It's not about producing a polished, finished manuscript suitable for framing. The clay's on the wheel and it's ready to mold. Nothing more. Displaying my miniscule Dare pages on my tiny, obscure little website floating in an endless stream of web data isn't grandstanding. If I wanted editors to notice me, I'd wrap myself in cellophane and Christmas lights and flit through WorldCon flinging business cards at them. Now, that's grandstanding. Okay, that's just nuts, but the dare isn't about drawing attention or impressing others. It's merely sharing the process with a few curious writers who might want to test themselves on their own obstacle course. Gotta go find some Christmas lights and cellophane now. I have a manuscript to send out. It's this shoddy first draft I wrote in a month and spent four months polishing...RANT MODE OFF
- It's finally April. As I sit here and stare at this blank entry, I find that I don't have much to say. I feel a sense of detachment that I haven't quite reconciled yet. I
think I'm still processing a lot of what has transpired this year.
- Received a rejection from the SFF Net anthology last week as well as a response to a rewrite request on a novel manuscript. The editor was interested in seeing the revision, so I
imagine I'll get that manuscript sent out in the next week or so. I've been reading quite a few nonfiction books and science magazines.
- I plan to participate in the Nebula Book Signings if there is one near me this year. Not sure exactly when or where that will be yet.
- Today was the first day I've felt like writing again. I plan to return to work on Rigel's Fulcrum. Even though I didn't get it finished for SFF Net, the story has many other
- I'm trying to plan my summer travel.
Bought my airline tickets for Seattle, so I'm looking forward to that. Not sure where else I'll be yet. Everything else is up in the air. Don't think I'll be able to afford WorldCon this year, but stranger things have happened I suppose.
Have a good evening.
August 1, 1948 to March 16, 2001
Barely five weeks after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Bev's fight ended. It was so fast, it was too soon. I can hardly believe that I'm writing this. For weeks, I've expected to walk into work and find her sitting at her desk smiling despite her pain, always fun-loving and whimisical, and never unable to offer a smile or a word of comfort. The office hadn't even accepted the fact that she had cancer and now, she's gone. No matter how bad things got, Bev always had a way of making us feel better, that we weren't alone. She always cared -- probably too much. She went out of her way to help people and animals. Many times, she'd rescue animals on the side of the road and find them homes or take them to a vet clinic. It's not real yet. Even when she was on the ventilator, just a few hours before she died, it just wasn't real somehow. I'm grateful that I knew her and I'm proud that I was her friend. She's out of her pain now, and for that one small thing, I'm thankful. In my fiction, I tend to use friend's names as the characters in the stories. I used Bev's name in my story, The Spirit House that was reprinted in Bookface.com's Outside the Box. Little did I know how prophetic that story was for her life. She and I talked about spiritual things a lot and our beliefs. I don't know what lies beyond the fragile bonds of this world, but I hope they are beyond our wildest dreams. But most of all, I hope that she knows how much her friendship meant to me and how much I miss her. 'Til we meet again, Bev, I wish you peace.
October 28, 1926 to March 12, 2001
After a lengthy struggle against congestive heart failure and a heart condition that couldn't be fixed, Uncle Newton passed away in his sleep. For years, Newton worked on a barge on the Mississippi River. He had some great stories about barge life and the river. He never married. Instead, he spent much of his life caring for two of his siblings and his mother when they were ill. Kids and animals loved him. He would take care of any stray cats and dogs that ended up at the old farmhouse. At one time, the family had a dairy farm and then later a tobacco farm. All of those old buildings are abandoned now as the countryside slowly reclaims them. Only the house remains, but it has been sold. I spent a lot of summers there, running through the fields, playing in the old building shells and catching kittens from the scores of barn cats. My dad's parents once lived on this land. That old house burnt to the ground and my dad built the house that stands there today. A lot of memories were returned to the earth this week. Newton never thought of himself first, but he was a wonderful man and we'll miss him greatly. His generosity was legendary in the small community, but his pain is gone now and he's reunited with part of his family again. Sleep well, Uncle Newton.
My dad had a heart cath procedure done on Friday. His heart is in good shape and he will be able to withstand lung surgery to fix his damaged lung. Hopefully, the surgery will be soon. Once this surgery is done, maybe he will be in good health again. It's been a rough week here
- Marshall MacCready February 14, 1985 - February 20, 2001
At 6:05 pm, my cat Marshall passed away.
My mom called me to come home from work because Marshall was crying in pain. And I had to make that awful decision to have him put to sleep. I made it without hesitation. I held him in my arms wrapped in a towel and cradled him as we waited for our vet to arrive at the house (she's an incredible lady). I didn't think I'd have the courage to go through with this, to be there with him when he passed, but I held him close, holding his beautiful tabby paw in my hand as she gave him the shot. In a few minutes, he went peacefully in my arms. It was the last thing I could do for him. My beautiful, beautiful Marshall kitty is gone now. We had sixteen wonderful years together and he's not sick or in pain anymore. We wrapped him in his little blue Pooh blanket and tucked in a couple of beanie cats. We'll bury him tomorrow. Already the house seems so quiet. His absence is palpable even though the Marshall kitty I knew left me many months ago. I know the hurt will fade, but right now it is raw and aching. Sleep well, Marshie until you meet me on the other side.
- On Saturday, I had dinner with Ron, Lisa, and Brigid Collins! It was so great seeing you guys again! I had a wonderful time. We laughed and gabbed and romped through Barnes
& Noble and then had dinner at O'Charley's (sp?) Ron, I can't tell you how much I enjoyed talking writing face-to-face again. And you know what? After you got me talking about my latest short story
endeavor, I found that story poking me all the way home. Started working on it again during lunch today.
I tucked myself away in the library stacks with my notebook computer and made some short but solid progress on the story (hey, it was only half an hour). Thanks for the inspiration! Brigid and I goofed off in the book aisles and looked at some really cool books, and Lisa and I got to talk about quite a few things. Thanks, guys! I really needed that. :)
- Marshall still hangs on tonight.
He's one tough cat, a real survivor. So far, we've managed to avoid the euthanasia decision and I hope we don't have to make it. As long as he's still getting up, eating, drinking and isn't in pain -- that's the most important thing. I know we're talking days here, but for now, he's comfortable.
- Back to work....I think I've found my sculptor's angle and where the story should begin. Maybe... : ) After all, I won't know until I get there, will I? Have a good evening!
- Marshall is still hanging on, much to our vet's surprise. He's extremely weak and he's lost so much weight, but he still eats and goes to the litter box. He isn't in pain and he
isn't suffering, so we're doing what we can for him. He made it to his 16th birthday and for that, I'm so grateful. Cherish the moments I have him because he can't last much longer.
- It's been a rough week or so. So much awful, icky stuff going on at work.
Two of my colleagues are seriously ill. I'm afraid for them. And many, icky political games and assorted garbage is going on there, too. I find myself in the middle of these games, not wanting to be and not knowing how to handle them. I don't like politics in any form and won't play these games. I just wish people would be straightforward and direct. Thank God for my assistant and the rest of my team. They are incredible people and I'm quite blessed to be working with them.
- Needless to say, you can imagine that all of this has affected my writing input.
I haven't been able to concentrate on the novel rewrite. I had it in hands, too. Right there, ready to implement -- now, I've got to go out searching for it again. Gotta find the flints and reignite that spark. Sometimes I wonder why I just don't throw in the towel and accept the fact that I've missed the last train east. My writing career is so ridiculously stalled that it's pathetic. Maybe I should just change my name and start over? The saddest thing of all is that I don't think I did anything wrong. I didn't publish any stories that were horribly bad and I wrote and wrote and wrote, sending out story after story for the last nine years. I think my failure came in simply being average. And writing about things that editors just don't care about. Unfortunately, these are things that I can't change. All I can change is whether or not I keep trying. And if I stop trying, then they're right about my work. I feel like I'm playing Tetris. The blocks are stacking up higher and higher and the pieces aren't fitting, yet I keep trying to slide them together somehow. Unfortunately, stubbornness is at the core of my personality.
- No responses from any of the book publishers on the three manuscripts I have out there. The longest RT is nearly 500 days now.
:( I'm so afraid to query, too. Afraid they said "no" months ago, but the letter got lost or that I'll jinx the whole thing if I query.
- Probably the one good thing that happened this week was the arrival of my new notebook computer.
It's an incredible piece of equipment!! I've never owned a really nice notebook before, but this one is a thing of beauty. The screen is positively crystal clear. And it has a modular zip drive (hot swappable) which makes file transfers from desktop to notebook a breeze. The DVD drive is just an awesome thing! I love dropping a movie in the drive. This will come in handy on those long flights to Seattle. The notebook is thin (1.5" thick) and light (5.6 lbs w/DVD and battery). It's the Dell Inspiron 4000 and I just adore it! My bad shoulder really feels the weight difference in this new notebook. If you're in the market for a new notebook, consider the Inspiron 4000. It's light and fast and the crystal clear screen is a thing of beauty. Have a good evening!
- The Windows 2K Administration course is going very well.
I've very much enjoyed this class and learning about 2K Advanced Server and 2K Professional. I look forward to being able to use this new knowledge. I think this course has also strengthened my NT Admin knowledge, too. All in all, a very good class. It's an intense course, 8 hours a day for 5 days. My last day is Friday.
- Marshall's condition has worsened over the past six weeks and today, after a visit with the vet, all further treatment has been stopped. The vet estimates that he has a week at most, so
we've brought him home. Time is short now.
I see him lying in his favorite spot, curled in a ball, head upside down, chest rising and falling softly and I try so hard to hold onto that image, the soft feel of his fur, the faint rumble of a half-purr still left in his little body. But the moment I walk out of the room, all of it fades until I turn around and look at him again. I want to hold onto as much as I can, but no matter how hard I try, it slips away from me like he'd never been at all. He was six weeks old when we got him, an absolutely free kitten in the local paper. He was the runt of his litter and grew quickly into a 16-pound amazement of a brown tabby. An illegitimate Maine Coon named after an electric guitar amplifier who adored rock music and loud guitars. That was almost 16 years ago. He'll be 16 on Valentine's Day, but I don't think he'll last that long. They are with us for such a short amount of time, a blink and a turn of the head and they're senior citizens. Close your eyes and they're gone forever.
- Oh. My. Gosh.....MAJOR EPIPHANY ALERT!!!! Tonight, I moved into my rewrite of EDP by writing a letter to myself, telling myself all about Dr. Kingston's story arc.
See, her story arc has to be the central story here and for months, there have been these little pieces missing, enough to blue screen the whole story. I kept trying to write through these, but never could. Needless to say, my first rewrite attempt blue screened in Chapter 5. I am so STOKED!!! Tonight, the revelation behind Dr. Kingston's investigation surfaced! And sadly, it was there all along. I just didn't see it until I placed Dr. Kingston in the right location. Then it all clicked. The reason behind her inciting incident, the reason why there are activists in the story, the reason why the Antarans are fighting, the reason why soldiers are being kidnapped -- all of it! I feel like I just got new glasses. When they hand you the shiny frames with the sparkling lenses and you slip them on for the first time. That crystal clarity of an intensely sunny spring day and crisp blue sky. You can almost hear the world crackle it's so sharp and clear. I just love those moments. These characters are on their way again. I'm so glad. I've missed them. :)
- My deepest, heartfelt sympathies go out to Mary Soon Lee on the loss of her mother. Mary, I'm so very sorry. You've been in my thoughts all week. Take good care of yourself, okay?
- And my sympathies to poor Vera who has lost another beloved pet in such a short time. Seryozha was a beautiful, regal cat and I'm glad he got to share his life with you.
- As usual, I've run out of time. It's already February. There's never enough these days. But every moment can be a lifetime. Have a good evening...
- WOOOHOOO!!!! Rediscovery is DONE!!! Yesssss!!! I just finished the last chapter and Houston, we have achieved
90K! And you know what, this book is much better without all that technology.
It was just in the way of the story. And amazingly enough, when the editor said it detracted from the story, I found myself agreeing before I even attempted the rewrite. But seeing the finished product -- how even more right he was! No guarantees of anything happening here, but I hope the editor likes what I've done with the book. Guess there's only one way to find out and that's to just send it. Gotta do the spell check and print it out. Then it'll be ready to go -- wow, and ahead of schedule, too! Already, my brain is starting to wander over to my next rewrite project. I did a little brainstorming about the EDP rewrite over the weekend and came up with a better sense of the new main character. Since she is framing the story, her POV has to be spot on. And that's what has given me trouble all this time. I think I'm closer, but lots more needs to be done.
- I'm off to write a few letters! Ta-Ta For Now...
- I'm halfway through my final edit of Rediscovery! Woohoo!
Just finished a draft of Chapter 15. Now, I'm about 1.7k away from my 90k goal. Hopefully, if all goes well, I'll get through most of my chapters over the next week. Starting February 5th, I'll be in Windows 2000 Administration training for a week. I am hoping to pursue my MCSE in Win2000. Never got a chance to do so with NT. We'll see. For now, all I can think about is Rediscovery. It's so close now.
- Did my taxes tonight, too and electronically filed them.
This is the first time I've done an electronic filing, but I'll get my refund a lot faster this way. And that might very well translate into a new notebook. Woohoo! I'm going to go for the Dell Inspiron, I think. It has a modular Zip drive in it -- which will make file transfers a cake walk. And the DVD drive will allow me to watch movies on it, too -- a nice bonus on long flights. It's a real beauty and it's lighter than my current notebook, too. Gotta get back to Rediscovery. Have a good evening!
- Added about 2K to Rediscovery over the past day or so as I make my final pass.
I'm still about 3K short on length, but there are a couple more scenes that need to be added. I think that by the time I reach Chapter 30, I'll have my 90K. It's weird, but this book has fought my every attempt to lengthen it since I first wrote it in 1995. This book was my first Dare manuscript. It was so awful when I finished it, too. But it gave me the kernel of a good story that as I learned more about the craft, I could expand it properly. What that Dare also did was record the whole story, sort of captured it for later use.
- I've been learning Macromedia's UltraDev 4.0 over the past week or so.
It's a very powerful piece of software, but it's a bear to learn! Not so much the "how do I use it" aspect, but the setting it up aspect. But just today, I learned how to create a web-based search page for an Access database (in ASP) as well as a page that allows you to insert data via the web and have it written to the database. Very cool stuff! Eventually, I intend to try something fun on my webpage. I've also been drooling over some of the new notebook computers out there. Mainly, the Sony Vaio and the Dell Inspiron. Unfortunately, I'm outgrowing my current notebook because of all the new software out there. I can't run things that I'd like to run on it. With my tax check, I may succumb and pick up a new notebook. I really could use a better one. I use my current one almost every day. Have a good evening!
- Dived back into the Rediscovery rewrite last night. After doing the final word count on the draft I just finished, I found that I'm now 5k short on the length.
But I have quite a few things that need to be added into the story, so it should be well over 90k by the time I'm finished. I'm into Chapter 4 tonight, about to move onto Chapter 5. At this point, I'm kind of writing backwards in my head. Overall, though, I'm pleased with my progress and how the story is unfolding. I'm trying to read it with a close eye to the removed plot thread and hoping that it reads well. So far, so good. Hope that lasts through all 30 chapters though. :) Have a good evening!
- Stick a fork in it, this rewrite's DONE!!! I just typed the last word into the last chapter of the book and I'm sitting here grinning like a banshee. I did it. I completely tore this book apart, threw away TONS of verbage, yards of plot strands, and then I put it all back together again. Wow...I can't believe I did it. There's still a lot of work left to do, but the hard part is done. Sometimes, no matter how hard or how long, you have to fight for a book. Stay with it to that final chapter over and over and over. If you believe in something, don't ever give up on it. If someone tells you it's "not good enough," prove them wrong. If someone tells you, "it'll never sell," keep it out there until it does. If someone tells you "it's time to put it away for good," take it out and make it better. Because they're only right when you stop trying. I believe in this book. And if I have to rip it apart again and put it back together, I will. And someday, I
will carry that damned football into the endzone. It may not be this time or this book, but I will do it. Have a good evening!
- Woohoo! Rejection #56 from F&SF! That number just boggles the mind, doesn't it? But, as my dad says, "Sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you."
Bears=56 Lisa=0, it's that damned football analogy coming back to haunt me again.
- The rewrite is going so well! And I have news! Tonight, I looked the Rewrite Abyss square in the face and I boldly strolled across it in defiance.
Okay, . . . it was more like I crawled across inch by inch, terrified to look down. And you know what, that nasty little snag is Officially behind me. I've been thinking through this one as I finished each chapter, hoping that by the time I actually got there, I'd know how to fix it. It came to me just a few minutes ago at the close of Chapter 25. I knew how to fix it. Can't tell you how relieved I am to know the answer to this one. This one was a definite plot buster. And now...I'm only ONE CHAPTER from the end!! Tomorrow night, I put this revision draft to bed, set it aside for a day or two, then do the final pass. If all goes well, the revision will go out in about a week and the nail-biting will commence -- just as soon as I grow some.
- I did something most cool this weekend. I got the unexpected, but exciting opportunity to design my first book cover.
Vera Nazarian and I batted around designs this weekend until we'd come up with some way cool stuff for her first novel and her short story collection. They'll soon be available from Wildside Press. Cool, huh? I'd never done anything like this before and it was BIG FUN. Thanks for the opportunity, Vi! I had a blast!
- Okay, it took me a day or two, but I finally figured out how to fix my snag in Rediscovery. I'm over the halfway mark now on the first pass. The rest should go well until about
Chapter 26 and 27 where the biggest snag lies waiting for me. Don't you hate that? You know it's there, you know it's a gaping hole that you're going to fall through into the Rewrite Abyss, but you just keep
careening toward it.
See, this plot thread that I've been removing was that rickety little footbridge across the chasm. And yeah, it was the only way across. That I knew of. But like Indiana Jones did, I'll just have to take that leap of faith and step across. Or I could just shoot everybody like Indiana Jones in the first film. ;) Just kidding. I don't think that's quite what the editor had in mind.
- In other news, . . . ulp, there doesn't seem to be any. But if there were, I'd have put it right here. I'd have told you all about the novel contracts I was looking over and all
those anthologies I was invited to submit to.
Let's see, I could tell you about the errands I ran today or the not-so-flattering haircut (a.k.a. bad) I got this weekend. Yessiree, it's just one adrenaline rush after another at Chez Silverthorne. ;) Seriously, not much going on here in the writing department. At least in the Input Department. I'm still working on Rigel's Fulcrum. And I might even get it finished soon. Stranger things have happened. Back to Rediscovery.
Have a good evening!
- Spoke too soon on the rewrite....ggggrrrrr....hit an unexpected snag in Chapter 14. It has really slowed me down.
Unfortunately, it's one of those little problems that will require some deliberation. I had to cut a major chunk of story that no longer fits...and that will render the book too short. At the moment, my feeling is to forget the length and move ahead. See how long or short the book turns out at the end and deal with it after the first pass. From Chapter 15 onward, the story churns at a near break-neck pace and the offending plot thread has no effect on until about Chapter 28. And that's where this one final snag coming up. This is one that's been there from the moment I started this rewrite. But I'm hoping that by the time I reach it, it will have untangled itself. Isn't writing a novel fun when you don't know what you're doing? :) But that's the beauty of this writing thing. I get as many second chances as I'm willing to take. So I'm going to pound on this story until I get it right. Guess I'd better get back to it.
Have a good evening!
- I'm feeling better today. The weekend allowed me to get a little sleep and to take it easy.
Got a rejection from Asimov's today. No surprises there. Of course, if I'd gotten anything more than a form from there, I'd have had to check and see how many of the four horsemen of the Apocalypse had actually saddled up. Probably at least three. So, the story is back in an envelope and outbound again.
- The rewrite of Rediscovery is going oh so smoothly. I'm through the first twelve chapters now with a lot of the hard stuff behind me, at least in rough draft.
Having the concept down is enough for now. Once I get rid of the offending plot thread, I'll be able to polish the story and fine tune all the changes. Shape the clay into the proper shape, as it were. I'm not quite halfway through the book, but I'm very pleased with the pacing. I can do this. I can make this work. The rewrite on this book is actually enjoyable and removing one of the technological elements actually lends more intensity to the book as well as raises the stakes. Just hope the editor agrees. I think I'll be on schedule to get this one out by February. Then that will leave me all of February to tackle the rewrite from hell. :)
Have a good evening!
- What a long, painful day. I didn't know if I'd have the energy to walk to my car after work. It's been a bad week for me; my arthritis and CT have just been horrible.
I've gotta see about changing my medication because the stuff I take just isn't working. I did manage to work through two or three more chapters of Rediscovery last night. I'm through Chapter 6 now. Cleaned up a few more snags and smoothed the style a bit. After my Feldene kicks in, I'm going to try and work through some more chapters tonight. Don't know how much I'll get done though. My hands and arms are aching horribly. Maybe it's the weather? Not one of my better weeks, I'm afraid, but I've got to get going on this book. People talk about hearing the ol' biological clock ticking, but I hear the writing career clock ticking. Like, if I don't keep going at it full tilt, I'll feel it all slip through my fingers. Still, it feels rather pointless to try and push a glacier. It'll move on its own time, no matter how many fires I try to light under it. But at least when I build a fire, I see something happening. :) A little run off, a color change -- something. So, back to the chapters I go. Have a good evening.
- I started back on my rewriting adventures tonight.
I'm having to go through each chapter and remove a central thread of the story. After that's completed, I'll need to go back through and check to make sure I didn't poke any new holes in the plot [new holes? that would never happen]. Once that's done, I can clean up and polish -- then it's off the publisher again. Gosh, doesn't that just sound so simple and so easy? As simple as resoldering a motherboard. This rewrite is a walk in the park compared to the next novel rewrite. It's a darned good thing that I'm really stubborn, otherwise this stuff wouldn't get done.
- For Christmas, my mom bought me a copy of the Stephen King book, On Writing. I'm looking forward to reading it. I also got the 2nd edition of a book called
The Descriptionary. It's a killer book for writers.
Lots of good research tidbits. Unfortunately, my 1st edition of the book is lost in space somewhere. So, it's nice to have another copy of this very useful book. I have so many novels lying in my To Read pile. There's never enough time in the day. I'd love to pack up my notebook computer and a bunch of novels, hop on a plane, and curl up by a fireplace near the Puget Sound and just read and write. Someday. Have a good evening!
- It's 2001!! I've made a few slight changes to my site. Like Ron, when I'm practicing writing avoidance, I tinker with my web page, too. :) So I made a couple of
changes. There may be some more down the road here. So...instead of working on those novel rewrites, I did some Photoshopping.
I had to test out my new computer's performance. Yeah, that's what it was, a throughput test. Yeah. I wasn't avoiding my writing. I was being a good IT professional and testing my hardware and software. cough cough...anyway...
- The mailbox is still quiet and two of my novels are still out there languishing in doomed slush piles.
I'm beginning to get that sinking feeling about my first novel. It's just been too long. The publisher probably already responded and I'm waiting for some stupid rejection that got lost in the mail. The last two times I've had novels out this long, the publishing houses never responded to my queries. The second novel has been out about three months or so, so not enough time for a response yet. Especially with the holidays just ending. I'll turn off my overflowing fountain of optimism now. :) So jaded and it's only January 2nd. So, I'll do some more waiting. But I need to give myself a good kick to get back to work on those novel rewrites. My goal is to get both rewrites completed by February.
- Congratulations to Erin Cashier Denton on being a Finalist in the last quarter of Writers of the Future. That girl's gonna go places! See the success it brought Ron. Well done, Erin!
- Okay...enough of this lame entry. Can you tell my brain's tired tonight? [hmmm...just tonight, Lisa?] I'll stop torturing you with my unfocused ramblings.
But I had to post something tonight. Otherwise, I'd have to rewrite a novel, so I'm sure you understand. Have a better night at your keyboard than I'm having. :) Time for bed.