Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dashing In

I MADE myself stop putting edits into the computer so I could come blog and tell all y'all (however many of you there are) what I was doing.

Actually, I made myself stop earlier so I could get to the bank before it closed and cash my birthday check. Yes, my birthday was way back at the first of the month, but first I lost the card, and when I found it, I couldn't drag myself out of the house in time to make it by the bank. I had to do the bank and the library today, cause I had some books that needed re-checking. I decided not to get any new ones. I've got old ones I still need to read--and there's that re-checking thing, since I didn't get some of the old ones read on time. (One research book, and one book(Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley) that I intended to pick up and read a long time ago, but never got around to it. I'm about 7 chapters in and enjoying it so far--and the research book is a really good one. Very atmospheric, very "feel of the situation." )

So anyway, I spent all of last week revising New Blood and this week, I'm putting the revisions into the computer, and going over it one last time as I do so, looking for more places to tighten or clarify. I do revisions on hard copy, because it's too easy to miss stuff on the computer. It's going pretty well. The office looks like a snowstorm hit, because I'm just letting the pages float to the floor, and since the fella's away for a couple of days, I don't feel like I have to pick them up.

In fact, since the fella's away, I had lunch out, between the bank and the library. This was a place on Broadway between the college and downtown that doesn't have a name that I could see, but has "Donuts, Kolaches, Burritos" painted on the outside. It's a very Texas place, apparently, since I'm not sure there's any other state in the nation where that would be a common combination. I was the only customer in there at almost 2 p.m., and had the shrimp poor boy (I'm becoming addicted to those things--I had to pull the shells off the tails on this one) and an apple fritter. Turns out the baker was sitting nearby, and had the counter guy bag me up a couple more fritters to take home, free gratis. How cool is that? I'll definitely be going back there--just because the food was good, prices were good and the owner/baker was really nice. I had intended to go to this place called The Taco House, but it's back toward home from the bank, not toward downtown. Oh well.

Oh, and we got to go hear Don McLean (of "American Pie" fame--the original song, not the movie) in a concert on Saturday. We got to sing along if we wanted. :) It was a lot of fun (though I'm not used to wearing shoes with backs on them and got the beginnings of a blister), but dang, the guy got old. So have the alternative, though.

And when we went to visit a church Sunday morning, a fight broke out in the lobby between two neighborhood guys and a church member, and I got stepped on. Nice church though, but dang, it's way the heck on the other end of the island.

It hasn't taken me long to get into the local island mentality. I don't like to cross the causeway unless I absolutely have to. I'll just stay on the island, thanks--and what happens on the island stays on the island...

Thanks for all the reports of books arriving. Keep 'em coming. I'm especially wanting to know if anybody sees the book on shelves in a bookstore. I mean, even if you ordered your book off the internet, you might go into a bookstore for some Other reason, and you could just wander by the Charles DeLint shelf (I'm usually not too far in front of his books) and see if there's a pretty blue book...

My readers are the very bestest. :D

Friday, September 14, 2007

There for the Grace of God...

I have now survived my first tropical storm.

Humberto blew up very quickly--Wednesday morning, they were talking rain, maybe some thunderstorms. I had trouble finding the newspaper because a big branch had fallen from one of the trees in the front yard. Maybe 3 in. diameter at the base. Very branchy, with lots of dead leaves (so I think it was half-broken before it fell). Not real heavy, though I couldn't drag it off the front sidewalk very easy. So I went on to my planned afternoon of errand-running and library-visiting.

When I reached the post office, the fella called and told me that the thunderstorms offshore had been officially declared a tropical storm. But it wasn't raining very hard, so I went on to the P.O. and the library. Still wasn't raining hard after the library visit--spent a lot of time there, checked out one book. They didn't have any of the others. So it was after 4 p.m. when I left the library.

It started raining harder while I was at the seafood market buying shrimp. (Hey, I was downtown. The fish markets are on the piers downtown. Why not buy shrimp?) And even harder when I went to the grocery store. By the time I got home, it was pouring. And I had groceries to carry into the house. Not much wind, but lots and lots of rain. Exchanged my walking shoes for flip-flops to keep the shoes from getting too soaked. Lost a can out of one of the grocery sacks, and just left it lying there in the rain. I was trying to carry as many sacks as I could at one time so I didn't have to make more trips, and didn't have a hand to spare (didn't even have one for my umbrella--just sorta held it in place with my chin...) to pick it up.

So by the time the fella got home, Humberto was still hovering about 20 to 35 miles offshore and building up steam. The neighbors had come over to tell us that we flood--if not right away, then maybe when the high tide came in. So after our shrimp dinner, we spent the rest of the evening carrying beds, futon mattresses and assorted other things upstairs to the main floor. (I was already nursing a strained finger--now it's really sore...) The electricity went on and off a bunch of times, then went off and stayed off, so we went to bed early.

Humberto skirted us. We didn't even get water in the garage (which will happen in a really hard rain). A few more branches (smaller ones) fell off the trees, lots of leaves on the deck. But at the north end of the county, an older couple had their house moved a foot off its foundation and the roof peeled off. Even though the eye went ashore much farther east. This was maybe 50 miles from us. We are grateful for small mercies.

Yesterday, I was a slug. (Okay, I was writing like a maniac to finish my pages for the BIAY bracelet.) Today, I went out to walk at the beach. The sand is still soaking wet, even up near the seawall where its usually dry. And I found a whole stretch of whole, joined-together scallop shells. (I kinda think the gulls got to them, but maybe not.) Plus some pink barnacle-looking shell things, and a blue crab claw. (The gulls definitely got the rest of the crab.) I didn't touch the claw, but I did bring the pink shells home. (I'll post a picture, when I take one...) So Humberto was a little rough on the under-sea residents too, seems to me.

I'm working on the new synopsis for Thunder. I like it, but it's going slow. I need to decide what I'm going to work on next week...Ought to be getting revisions for New Blood pretty soon. I want to finish my revisions for the proposal of Thunder, get the synopsis written and out, and then...I dunno. Do revisions on New Blood, then maybe start the Irish shaman story over. Or work on my demon slayer story... Hmm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Birthdays and other stuff

So I had a birthday over the weekend. I am now another mumble older than my previous mumbledy-something age. :)

It was a very nice day. A lazy one. We went to the beach early. The water was still quite cool--actually cool, rather than the bathtub warm water you get later in the day. I think this is why I am so spoiled when it comes to swimming. I spent so much time in the Gulf with its oh-so-warm water, that I think that's the temperature swimming pools (or lakes, or whatever) ought to be. Anyway, besides being on the cool side, the water was practically like glass. The surf's rarely more than a foot or so high, but it will usually start a good fifty yards out from the beach. Not that morning. Ten feet. Maybe twenty. And beyond that, glassy, gently rolling waves. Just the way I love it.

I'm not much of a surf girl. I really don't enjoy being blasted by the whitecaps. I like to go out beyond the breakers where the waves just roll in and float up and down. I don't know that there are many beaches--except on the Gulf coast--where you can get out past the surf and still touch bottom. People complain about the puny surf in the Gulf, but that's exactly what I love about it.

We didn't stay long. Maybe an hour. The seaweed has stopped floating in. I'm told that when the seaweed stops, the jellyfish start coming in. It's going to be hot for another month or so...I hope we don't get too terribly many jellyfish. They're not much fun. I'll have to stock up on meat tenderizer. It's supposed to help with the stings.

After puttering around online while the fella went to get a haircut, we spent most of the afternoon watching a bunch of episodes from the second season of ROME (my birthday present I got myself, donchaknow...). And then we went out to dinner.

In the past, I have made a joint birthday cheesecake or lemon meringue pie for me and the fella, since he's so much older than I am. (Eight whole days.) Usually, though, there's at least one other person around to help us eat it. Since even the boy was away from home, I didn't bake. So, we decided to have dessert with dinner.

I didn't realize that the two places I had chosen as an either/or for my birthday dinner were literally around the corner from each other. The first place was all booked up (that's what I get for having my birthday on a Saturday), so we walked over to the other place, the Saltwater Grill, which just happened to be right in front of where we'd parked the car. They had lots of room, fast, perfect service, fabulous food and we split an order of butterscotch bananas for our birthday cake.

Oh, my, LORD, those bananas were good. It was just a whole, sliced-lengthwise banana (cut in half, so we each got half a banana) drenched in just-made, so-good-it-must-be-a-sin butterscotch sauce. There was ice cream, and some whipped cream, and some strawberries and blueberries on the plate, and they were all the yummier for the butterscotch sauce. We practically licked the plate clean. I'd have licked it, for real, if we hadn't been out in public.

The corn-and-crab chowder was yummy, the seafood pasta had so many shrimp and crawfish tails in it, I couldn't eat them all even when I quit eating the pasta to concentrate on the goodies, the fella's fish just quit swimming that morning...but as good as that was, man, those butterscotch bananas... Who needs cake???

So. Now that my self-indulgence is out of the way, who's got books? If somebody gets a copy of The Eternal Rose from a bookstore, any bookstore that isn't direct from Wildside/Juno, will you let me know? Thanks.

And I'm working away on Thunder still. I got three pages written today. Wrote several pages of synopsis yesterday. And I got hit by a brainstorm for this story... don't know yet if I'm actually going to do it, but it would increase the conflict by a buttload, so I just might. I'll think about it some more.

I also finally repotted the tropical plants I bought--a salmon/yellow hibiscus, a white jasmine, two "blueberry ice" bougainvilleas (I already have a "raspberry ice" one), a rex begonia that seems to love the humidity outside, and a variegated African violet I moved from the panhandle that I'd never got round to re-potting. I ran out of soil in the middle of the job, and had to run back to WalMart to get some more. It's so nice to be able to do that. (Though I could have run down to Smith's Feed and Seed back in the panhandle, if I'd done it there.)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

The Books Are Arriving

Commenters have commented here that they have received their books. (Thank you very much. It was good to know folks are getting them.)

I have now received my copies. Yes, they are beautiful. I might even read it. I read my very first two books when I got them. (They were short.) I read Compass Rose. I only got about halfway through Barbed Rose. So--given how many times I read Eternal Rose through the revision and re-revision and paring-down-to-size process, I'm not sure I'll be able to get all the way through it. I might go back and re-read Barbed Rose again.

I have found that when I create characters and a story that I like, I still like them when I go back and look at them again, even if it's just a fragment I came up with ages ago that has no business even thinking about publication. I usually pick apart the prose when I read back over the story, but I still like the characters and the story. Or at least the intent of the story. What I wanted the story to be...I might realize how the story ought to be better told.

This is kind of what I'm doing now with Thunder. I came up with the idea so, so long ago--but I still like the idea and the characters and the story. I just know more about story-telling now, so maybe I can do them all justice. I hope. I've done more research, and I'm having a little trouble reconciling the emotional numbing symptoms of a PTSD sufferer with my character's need to locate her family...but an overprotectiveness of loved ones is also a symptom, so maybe I can balance it that way. There's apparently a wide variation in behavior--and given that my character is not so very "post," I think I can make it work. It's some of the hardest writing I've ever done, though.

Oh, there's a nice review of The Eternal Rose if you're interested, and in response to the comment about the bit that left the reviewer scratching her head, let me just say: It's a fantasy. And leave it at that. :)

Nice slow week this week. Not much experimenting in the kitchen (I made Mediterranean Salmon with white beans last week...pretty good, even if salmon isn't a Mediterranean fish--is it?). The steaks were awesome though, and we had leftovers. Then I found some sweet corn in the fridge to have with the leftovers, so they were awesome twice.

No beach visits so far this week--my walks have been around the neighborhood--and I'm going to have to get up earlier and get out the door earlier to beat the heat. But if nothing else gets planned--and if it doesn't rain--I think I want to at least go to the beach to swim for my birthday Saturday. (Dang, but I'm getting old.)

They did call me to interview for the part-time job I applied for, but that's two weeks away. I think it will be an interesting job, and still leave me time to write. Which I need to get busy and do. I need to earn my charm for September. August turned out to be just impossible. I'm probably 6 pages up right now, but that leaves me with 18 to go. I'm having to do as much thinking and researching as writing though... Have a research book I need to go buy.
Better run...

Monday, September 03, 2007


At least this is what I've been told. THE BOOKS HAVE LEFT THE PRINTERS. Last week, they were on the way to the distribution center. Next week, they should (note the word: SHOULD) be at the bookstores.

If you have ordered a book, whether directly from Juno, or from Amazon or any of the other stores, you ought to be getting it soon. Probably before I get my copies. A friend/fellow writer (Carole McDonnell) for Juno just got her copies of her book (Wind Follower), and I think hers was released before mine.

So. There is the latest book news. I'll get it up on the website today or tomorrow. You ought to be getting your hands on them soon.

In other news, I have finally been on the island for a full week without 1) boxes to be unpacked, 2) a conference to attend looming in front of me, 3) company. School has started at all levels from kindergarten to university, and it may finally be possible to get settled in. Maybe.

I'm going a little giddy, I think, from all the delights of living in a larger city. There are restaurants! And concerts! And--stuff!

We have "subscribed" to the local symphony orchestra. They had a BOGO (buy one, get one free) deal on season tickets for new subscribers, and since we just moved here 8 weeks ago, we couldn't be anything else. So we subscribed, and went to the first concert of the season last night--the annual Pops concert. It's a small orchestra, mostly volunteer, I think, because this is a small city. But I enjoyed it tremendously. Not only did they play the Ed Sullivan Show spinning-plates song (A. Katchaturian's Saber Dance), but they played Bugs Bunny cartoon music. Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody #2, which was a lot more bubbly and fun than I remember from the cartoons.

They played in an improvised auditorium, since their regular venue--the (historic) Grand Opera House--had something else, so the marimba player was kind of down in a hole and I'm not sure he could see the conductor, but it was a symphony concert! And they played fun music! And we only had to drive 10 minutes to get there! That last is a MAJOR consideration, given that up until 8 weeks ago, we had to drive an hour to get to the nearest theater unless we wanted to watch the drive-in movies or the high school band. (The movie theater is about 15 minutes away, but we don't have to leave the island.)

The symphony concert was the same place we went to a concert on Friday night (the fella's birthday). That concert was a "rock and roll experience" concert--at least I think that's how they advertised it. Instead of Elvis impersonators, there were two bands, one impersonating the Beatles, the other impersonating the Rolling Stones. They were pretty good, all in all. The music was great, though you could see a few cracks around the edges of the impersonations. The guy from Louisiana impersonating Mick Jagger actually said "y'all" once. Has Jagger ever gone in for that southernism?? But it was fun. We got a kick out of it.

And this evening, after all the weekenders have (hopefully) gone home, if it's not raining/thundering, etc., we're going to the beach. To swim. Without little guys to watch. And then we're coming home to cook steaks. We had to leave the grill behind, so I guess we'll broil them in the oven, but these are some gorgeous steaks... Can't wait.