Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Life and all that junk

I tell ya, life can really interfere with the writing. Still, it's gone pretty well so far this week. I managed to get a few pages written on Monday. Yesterday, I got seven, even with another trip into Amarillo to pick up things I didn't get Monday and to paint. Today, I've done five.

I might get another one done, maybe, but I'm in the midst of browning thirty pounds of hamburger meat for Friday night's Mexican Pile-on. Fifteen down, fifteen to go. Not to mention the ice cream I need to scoop up or the regular, ordinary, normal stuff that needs to be done. Like watering the house plants.

Three of my five African violets are currently in bloom, as is--believe it or not--the white Christmas cactus. Both the cacti I own bloomed late last year--in February and March, rather than Thanksgiving through Valentine's like they usually do. And the white one's blooming again! I almost missed it. The pink cactus--which is about 2 feet around--is currently outside. I guess it's about time I brought it in. Here's hoping it puts on a nice show for me. Now if I can just keep the begonia from dying on me...

Some days the writing seems more real than the rest of my life--even though the rest of it keeps me hopping. After this week, I hope I'm through with the volunteering for the rest of the year. But I doubt it.
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Tuesday, September 28, 2004

First Try

Worked on the new opening all morning today (along with laundry). I'm not sure it's working. I keep thinking of things I left out, and I've got 6 pages of pretty much nothing but introspection. Very slow. And it's in the POV of one of the secondary characters. I may write it this way, then try doing it the way it was at first, only thinned out a whole lot. Except there are other changes I think we're going to make, which would slow down the original opening and cut a lot of the action.

Well, The Compass Rose actually opens fairly slowly, with the heroine on the city wall musing over how they got into this fix, so I guess I can get away with a slow-ish opening for book 2. I'm hoping once I move into the heroine's POV, it will get more active--a lot more active. I hope I'll have time to do that tomorrow. I have a newspaper column to write, but since I ran some of my errands today, I'm hoping I won't have to head into the city quite as early tomorrow. We shall see how it works out. I have a big insert to write, something I forgot to do today.

The post-revision-letter depression was much alleviated Friday when I got a big package full of covers for Compass Rose. The cover is Gorgeous, and should get a lot of attention on the bookshelves. This is apparently the version that's going out to booksellers, because there's promo material about this book inside, rather than the stuff that's on the inside of the published books. So there may still be tweaking going on, but I'm thrilled with the way it looks right now. (It's up on my website on the "my books" page. Now you have an excuse to visit my website.)

I sure am liking my computer glasses. Fewer headaches and I can actually see. Seeing is important. Of course, I tend to forget to take them off and put on the bifocals when I get up from the computer, but eventually, I do figure out why I can't see to walk through the house...

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Monday, September 27, 2004

Of Chuckwagons and Phone Calls

Didn't write much over the weekend. Actually, didn't write squat.

First, on Saturday, I gathered up all the leftover clothes from the garage sale and dragged them downtown to the First Baptist Ministry Center, and dragged them inside. Then, since I hadn't helped at the Clothes Closet in way, way too long, I stayed to help my friends Marva and Joburta and the other volunteers sort, fold and put out the stuff I brought and about a dozen trashbags full of more clothing. We picked out clothes for the nurse at the elementary school to use when the little ones have accidents or other problems and need a change of clothes, and dug out mates for shoes somebody wanted to take home.

Then after lunch, it was time to get ready for the annual Goodnight Reunion and Saint's Roost Chuckwagon Cook-off to benefit the local museum, which used to be the hospital. (We don't have a hospital in town any more.) Anyway, the son was providing some of the mid-afternoon entertainment, singing and playing his guitar. And I forgot the video camera, ran back to pick it up, and missed most of his performance. Not that I hadn't heard it all many, many times over during the last few weeks. Then we hung around on the museum grounds till it was time for supper. We dined at the Double Diamond outfit chuckwagon this year--very good food, all cooked over open fires.

Sunday brought all the usual Sunday activities, as well as a retirement party for the pastor of our church. I did however, manage to get a Sunday afternoon nap in. Just a bit later than usual. I also managed to make all but one of the phone calls I had hanging over my head--and even reached everyone I needed to reach. Except for my sisters. They seem to be a lot busier than me. How, I'm not sure, but they're never there when I try to call. Just have to try harder, I guess.

So now, I think I have time to write next week. Still have a LOT of stuff to do for the band fundraiser and the lunch meeting I'm doing (both on Friday), but I think it's maybe under control. (It had better be!) Tomorrow, I ought to be able to sit down and figure out how the story will open now that the first 2-1/2 chapters are getting chucked out the window. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 24, 2004

Death and change

Got revision requests this week, which always depress me, because first it's like "What? You mean you didn't love my baby just as it is!!!????" And then I get mad. Then I try to make deals (in my head mostly, because I'm smarter than that)--like, "well, but okay, if I fix this, then I really need to leave that in..."

And then I get depressed and decide the whole thing sucks, so I just may as well throw it all in the trash and give up. And then I take a deep breath, actually open the revision letter and see what it says (yeah, I know, I really ought to read the thing before I go through all this angst, but what can I say? I'm a coward. And I'd still go through the angst anyway.)

And when I read it, I realize they're totally right and everything needs to be done and it won't totally screw up the story and a couple of things could be really, totally cool, and oh, I already took care of that bit anyway--

You might notice that those are the steps Kubler-Ross (I think that's the right name) says the dying go through, or the steps of grief. Bob Mayer, who ran a workshop I attended, claims these are also the steps to change. Because before something can change, it has to die. You have to let go of the old thing so the new thing has room to come into being. And this is why it's so hard for most people to change. Because dying is scary.

That's why, even though the Tarot death card very seldom indicates physical death, most people are afraid to see it in a reading. It generally means that something needs to end so that something new can begin. And see how far I can go from the original topic. I'm good at going off on tangents like this, and occasionally wax philosophical. (Don't wax much else.)

But it only took me one day to go through all this angst. Unfortunately, next week is going to be the week from heck. I'm either in charge of or seriously involved with two major events that will both take place next Friday. I have many phone calls to make, lots of people to request assistance from, lots of stuff to do. Ugh. Hopefully I can write in the morning anyway, because nobody will be home then for me to call.
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Not a Political Blog

There are probably those who would be appalled, but I avoid politics as much as possible. My own, and especially every one else's. I pay attention to the issues, make up my own mind, and keep my mouth shut.

And there we have today's editorial.

Didn't write much this a.m. Got a phone call from the editor about revision notes on the book, and I've been afraid to look at them. I'm pretty sure they'll say just what she told me on the phone, but that means I'll have to look at them and revise stuff. Did I mention how much I hate revising? I do it. I'm fairly good at it. But I hate it. Probably because I don't like messing with my babies, even if they do need emergency surgery. So I've been doing the avoidance thing.

Eventually, I'll figure out how to introduce 6 major characters in the first pages and do what they want too. (sigh)

And trying to get the son's computer to work with the wireless router thingie we got. First the sucker wasn't installed and the installation CD wouldn't work, so I downloaded a driver from the site, burned it on a CD and he and his friend got it installed. Now they're complaining because the signal is weak. So we're moving things around. We may have to break down and just get a wired connection. Which is not making me happy, because I don't want wires trailing all over everywhere. (more sighing)

I really should bite the bullet and look at what is wanted. I should. But I don't want to. But I should. Let's see how long I can procrastinate.
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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Monday again

I need to come up with better titles for my blog posts, don't I?

But, you know--it is Monday again. And it's time to get back to work. Friday was a wash because of errands and stuff. So I managed to put out a few pages on Sunday. Almost four.

I'm impressed. Didn't think I'd done that many. And today, Monday, I got 7 pages written.

Have I mentioned here that I'm one of those weird throwback people who writes the first draft in longhand? Yep. I am. So this means that each page I write--on college-ruled looseleaf notebook paper with a roller-ball pen--actually types up to about a page and a half. Depending on how many scratchouts I have on that page. I'm always thinking of great lines, and then having to move them down a few paragraphs... But it's nice being able to lay pages side by side, and other things.

Tomorrow, have to go back to the "big city" to pick up the new computer. And I have a meeting beforehand, so I won't have much time for errands. However, I did get my weekly newspaper column written tonight, which means I don't have that hanging over my head tomorrow morning.

Yeah, I'm the local "society" columnist for our weekly newspaper. Just call me Hedda Hopper of the High Plains. (I'm not sure I know who HH was, but it's alliterative.) I get a big fat $10 per column. I do it mostly because it's kinda fun, and it keeps me in contact with the community.

So, anyway, I don't have a big bunch of stuff to do before I skip town tomorrow, and can sit down and get the writing done.

Saturday, September 18, 2004

Another Saturday

This was a really boring day. I spent the vast majority of it helping with a garage sale. Our garage sale. It was so much fun (not). We got rid of a great deal of junque, and made a fair bit of money, but there's a LOT of junk left. (The stuff that departed is the "junque". ;) ) Some of it is going to the downtown Clothes Closet. The boxes of books that are left will go to the library. (I'm on the Friends of the Library after all, though thank heaven, I'm no longer the President!!! (YAYYYY)) And the rest of it will go to Goodwill. We can only hope they pick up. We even sold a car. Still have one left to sell, but...

I read a book or two. All those books I'd culled from my own collection...I think we had some 12 boxes of books out there. I picked up one or two books to read during the lulls. One lady bought 7 boxes of them. And there are still--oh, probably between 8 and 12 boxes in my garage that I couldn't give up. I want to bring them inside. Yes, I will read them again. The ones I've managed to get in the house, I've read again--some of them. I'm a writer. That means I'm a book addict.

Found a new old Jayne Ann Krentz book. I love her old ones, because I really like the way she did her war-of-the-sexes conflict. I get so angry with the heros, I want to smack them. And then I want to write something with that kind of intense, involving conflict. However, I tend to like breezy charmers for heroes, rather than arrogant know-it-alls. Ah well. I think I have one of each in the current book. Pretty much anything you can think of... A breezy charmer. A wounded soul. A strong but silent. A Mr. Dependable. And an ex-con. Have a number of heroines too... Having lots of fun.

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Friday, September 17, 2004

Busy Week

Okay, It's Friday. I meant to update this sooner. I really did. But--well, I got a new internet connection (high speed at last!) and then I realized I didn't have a firewall yet, so I was a bit paranoid and didn't want to leave it connected very long till I got one, and then my son thought he had to use it all available hours and I couldn't beat him off with a stick (though I didn't try very hard)--so anyway, I bought a new backup computer (which is actually better than this one, but I'll let him use it till he leaves home for college next year, then I'll steal it) and a firewall and had Mexican food at a very atmospheric Route 66 place for lunch and came home in installed software and stuff, and now I'm posting. So see? I am keeping up with my blog. Sorta.

And it has actually been a pretty good week for the writing. I got my 6 pages in every day except today, and today was ... today was ... Well, I didn't write. I drove 60 miles into Amarillo, met this writer guy and a bunch of writer friends, ate lunch and talked about writing, bought stuff, bought more stuff, and drove 60 miles home. I did not go to the football game tonight. I have no idea where Hart, Texas is, but it's a long way from here. Somewhere near Lorenzo, maybe. Or Muleshoe.

But I wrote all the rest of the week, so there. I even got extra pages--8 pages--on Wednesday. And I sewed on my quilt, too. And made those awful band booster president (was I sick in the head when I agreed to do this???) phone calls. And all sorts of exciting things are happening in the story. I started with a slightly boring talking heads scene and decided I needed more excitement and now things are blowing up and people are getting shot and stuff. Well, nothing has blown up yet. But it will. I think. Once I decide what I'm going to blow up and where. And when. It will be safer out spying on the enemy than staying in town...

The weekend will be busy. Garage sale tomorrow. We will finally get rid of all the stuff we didn't move. One way or the other. And lots of singing Sunday. The voice has recovered from all the reading outloud on the galley proofs. Now if it would only recover from the ragweed. So I doubt I'll get more writing done till Monday. If I do, it's gravy.Or chocolate cream pie.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

A good day

I made up my mind today that I would not leave town for the weekly trek to Amarillo until I had finished my writing quota. Unfortunately, I did not write my newspaper column for this week yesterday, so I had to write it this a.m. so it would get turned in before deadline. So I wrote 400 words for that. Then I had another article to write for the paper that I'd promised...a month ago, I think. And it had to get in this week. So I wrote 500 or so words on that. And only THEN could I even start working on the book.

But I got the 6 pages written. And they made sense (I think) and do what I need them to do. Not sure exactly where I'm going next. Guess I'll have to figure that out in the morning.

Of course, I have to go meet with the high school band director in the morning to make sure I have all the info I need for Band Boosters. And there's bound to be something else I have to do. But I will get my six pages written, darn it! And maybe move up to seven.

I did finish a painting at my art class tonight. A typical Texas scene... I haven't taken a picture of it yet, but when I do (and get around to downloading it from the camera flash card), I'll post it here.

My life is so exciting.

Monday, September 13, 2004

The stuff is in the mail

I discovered while I was going through the 566 pages of my monster manuscript that I caught more boo-boos if I read it out loud. I didn't catch on to this until--oh, chapter 4 or so, so I didn't read all 566 pages aloud. I probably read 500. My voice got a little rusty. But I got through it, and only found about 40 corrections total. Not bad.

I remembered some things I put in the first book that will have an impact on the second and had to make notes so I can go back and add them in. They did take out the things that had to come out in order to keep the bad guys from being exposed before the proper time. And they left in the things that could have come out, but I really wanted to leave in because I think they made the book better. So I'm happy. And the copy edits took it about 20 pages shorter--about 5000 words shorter--than it was when I turned it in. Which takes it down to about 143,000 words. That doesn't sound nearly so bad. (Yeah, I'm obsessing. So what?)

I took time off for my quilt class Saturday. We were learning a pattern called Hatchet--and I learned that I am a very sloppy quilter. If it gets sorta close, that's good enough for me. No wonder they come out all womperjawed and funny-looking. Though the quilting can hide a multitude of sins. These other ladies were measuring and ripping out and worrying about getting exactly one-quarter inch seams, and I was just zipping right along--and coming out with funny looking stuff. I only obsess about the writing, I guess.

My motto: I won't get perfection this side of glory, so pretty damn good is good enough.

Works for pretty much everything.

Did get one page of new stuff on the new book written today. Have to do more tomorrow.

Saturday, September 11, 2004


I was plugging right along, writing my stuff, and I got an e-mail that the galleys for Compass Rose were in the big brown van. And they need them back in NY by next Thursday. Don't they know I have a quilting class tomorrow (Saturday)?

I have never seen such a huge stack of paper in my life--well, except for the stack I mailed to them when I sent them the complete ms. It's huge. I had 150,000 words to play with, and darn if I didn't write 148,250 of the suckers... I'm getting close to half-way through...

It has also become obvious that I have lost my mind. Not only to I have galleys to finish, and a book to write by deadline (which isn't even 1/3 of the way through yet, if this one turns out as long as his brother), but I am staying up late (NO, not to write this) to start yet another story. One I probably can't sell till I finish the last Rose book. But it won't leave me alone, so I may as well get down what I can. It'll mean less to do once I actually can write it. (sigh) And there are all those single title romantic comedies I want to write too... Better get busy.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004


I'll take the file folder with me to town, but between having to write my newspaper column today (and fooling around too much on the internet) I'm not getting any of the book written this morning. Maybe I can do a page or two when I stop to eat before going to paint, but I doubt it will happen. I have books to buy. Will probably read them rather than writing. (sigh)

I get my computer glasses today. No more headaches (I hope) from trying to read from the wrong half of the bifocals. I'm just getting too darned old. Alas.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Monday holiday

Only three pages written today. Holidays are difficult. Lots of interruptions and having to go look at things. Plus, it's a love scene. Maybe it wouldn't take me so dang long to write them if I didn't keep letting them talk. If they'd just get on with things, I'd be done with it and ready to move on to whatever comes next... Given these characters, more sex, probably. They seem to have acquired one track minds. (sigh)

Saturday, September 04, 2004

Saturday stuff

This is a really boring blog, because it's about my really boring life. I don't really do anything, but sit at my desk and write. I went outside and inspected fence scraping and bush demolishing today. And I did write.

Five more pages.

Worked through half a love scene, now need to finish it, and hope I didn't repeat myself too much, and if I did it looks like I meant to do it. Intentional repetition is okay. Accidental repetition isn't.

Need to update the website, and haven't. Ah well. Maybe tomorrow.

Friday, September 03, 2004

the WASP and the work

Went a little slower today than yesterday. Got four pages before I had to go to Art Club.

They had one of the WWII WASP pilots--one of the original 25--come and speak today, and it was really fascinating. She talked a long time and a lot of the people got up and left because they ran out of lunch hour, but I hung out till the bitter end, because it was so interesting. Of course, I've been fascinated by these women pilots for a long time, but it was so cool to get to meet one. She was in the "ferry" service and flew planes all over the country during the war.

Then when I got home, at almost three, I sat down to try to write again, because nothing in the shelves looked as interesting to read as the book I was writing. The scene is totally different from what I thought it would be yesterday. Much slower, much gentler, much more...poignant, I guess. A lot of history that he hadn't told even me came out. I didn't get much written then, because I got sleepy, but nearly a page, so I'm going to count 5 pages for today. Unless of course, I can sit down and write a bit more tonight. And I have the opening line for NEW BLOOD--and I still have another book on this contract after the one I'm a third of the way into gets finished.

Had to go to the football game tonight and watch the son be drum major for the band. Walked home after the 3rd quarter because the allergies got too bad. Plus all the people I was sitting with left too and dh got drafted to run the clock. (Like he knows anything about it. ;) ) It's not but about 4 or 5 blocks from the stadium. Not bad. Beautiful night out there tonight, not too hot, not too cold, no wind to speak of. Just lovely.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

My Very First Time

Yes, I am a blog virgin.

Good day writing today. The characters took over and before I could blink, I had 8 pages. Good pages, I think, and a place to go tomorrow. K is about to demolish O for being such a...moody shit. The demolishing should be fun. We may have mutual demolishing. With handcuffs.

Let's begin with this, and see how it goes.