Friday, January 30, 2009

Today's count

Down to 586 pages at 9:04 p.m. CST.

Had Shrimp & Stuff dinners out and took time to watch Jumpers with the boy. Back at work. It's going to be do-able!

Edited to add: 11:39 p.m. Reached the end. I'm at 581 pages.

The last hundred pages was a lot tighter. It gets that way.

I have two scenes I want to thin out considerably--they're repetitious, padded, and boring. I'll do that tomorrow. Then--maybe--do one more read through and ship this puppy off.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

New count

Down to 605 pages. My back is killing me.

Finished the Brockmann book last night. Going to bed early tonight. I sure hope I can get those few more pages cut.

Okay, off to text the boy and sleep.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Checking In

Down to 621 pages now!

I've got all the way through it, and am putting my changes (and making a few more) into the computer. I have picked out a couple more places that need to be chopped WAY down, but I just printed them out/set them aside and noted what I need to do. After I get all the way through again, I'll work on these specific places, making sure I get in the necessary information--or figuring out whether the info in them is really necessary.

I looked to see how long New Blood was--and it was 575 pages, so I don't feel so overwhelmed. I just hope I have enough action in Old Spirits. There's a LOT of action at the end of the book, but...

Oh well. Have to wait and see what the ed says.

Took today off from the paper to work on it. The fella is going up to the Panhandle (where it was well below freezing this a.m.) to pack the house up this weekend, but I'm staying here. Ordering pizza for supper tonight, and I'm making the boy pick it up. I guess I'll order it ahead of time so it's ready when he's on his way home. Except I didn't give him any money... Hmm.

I am going to take a break. I am suffering from severe fanny fatigue at the moment. I got Suzanne Brockmann's new book. Think I'll go see if I can get a little farther into it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Countdown to Deadline

I've cut it down by 7 pages. Only 93 more to go. (ACK!!) I'm going to have to cut more stuff out. Lots more. But what???

I'll figure it out.

I've gone through to p. 358, and I've put in stuff up through--maybe p. 100? I don't know how many pages I have on the floor. I worked on it all morning, putting revisions in the computer and shortening things up. Pages that get put in get dropped on the floor. I'll go back to going through ms. pages tonight.

I'll save what I've done, 'cause I may have to start cutting out huge chunks of stuff I've already gone through.

Have to go buy dog food on the way home. Hoping the boy will take the hint and cook supper, but... At least I remembered to go to the bank today. I have $$. :)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Books and bylines

I actually finished the first draft--reached the end of the story--on Monday. Today, I have it all in the computer, and it is 637 manuscript pages. (Yeah, I know. I told you, I write long.) This means I need to cut at least 100 pages out of the sucker. Cutting is easier than adding--though I do have to add to weave the cuts together, sometimes.

Wish me luck.

In other news, I got my first byline in the paper today.

This isn't such a big deal, to be honest. I've written the whole entire paper back when I worked for those small town weeklies, (except for sports). And I had it in the paper once a week, when I was doing the society news column for the Clarendon Enterprise. But this was the first time I got a byline in this paper, so I was duly impressed with myself. Of course, they didn't put my byline on the article they posted online. Oh well. But that's the one I wrote.

So, I get to go home and print out the tome. Tomorrow, I can start cutting.

Of course, tomorrow, I also want to mess around with my new Sony e-reader and get it to working. (I haven't had time to even install the software that came with it yet.) And I want to go see a movie. And there was something else I wanted to do, but I can't remember what it was.

My mother's forgetfulness is already creeping up on me!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Yes, I am DONE with the book. It isn't finished finished, but I have reached the end of it.

Now it is time to type it all in the computer. (Remember, I'm freakish throwback write-it-in-longhand person.) And then I have to whack out all the excess verbiage. I don't think there will be quite as much excess as there was in ETERNAL ROSE, but there may be a little more excess than there was in NEW BLOOD. I also have to make sure the story arc is an actual arc, rather than a... well, I'm not sure what geometric form would fit. My characters seem to take two steps forward, then one step back--and that can work, but I need to make sure it does, and isn't too jerky, and they're not behaving too jerkishly. Or that they're dropping their jerkishness (because a black moment tends to involve some of that) too soon. And then, I also need to make sure the action stays high... This one's more of a murder mystery, so it's more clue-finding than bad-guy fighting. I'm worried about that action issue...

Anyway, that's where I am. Literally. Working on the book. So I'm not here.

Whining ensues. If you don't want to read whining, then just skip this part. I'm only here now because the other community news person is back from going to the inauguration in D.C. I had read in the paper that she was going. (I know, I know, but her office isn't in the big bullpen-type newsroom, and I have to get up and go walk in there to talk to her, instead of yelling across the room, like I talk to everybody else.) But I forgot, and found out, the day before she was leaving, that she was leaving me this HUGE job--that I'd never done before. And it HAD to be done that next day. Had to.

So I came in to the paper at my regular time (after lunch), all worried about how I was going to get that done, AND my regular stuff, and discovered in the note she left me that she wanted me to come in early the three mornings she was going to be out of town, so I could cover all the other stuff she does. (She did do some of it, but there's a lot of stuff you can't do till the day of.) Thing is, if she'd talked to me before she left town, I'd've told her that I was on deadline with the book, and I really couldn't spare a whole lot of time to come in and work. I wound up coming in at 11 a.m. or so, and having lunch at my desk, and still wound up having to stay late, just to get stuff done. Anyway, she's back now. So I'm not running quite so fast. I'll get out of here before six today.

End of whining.

In other news, we have a contract on our house in the Panhandle, so we'll probably have to go up there to clean things out and sign at the end of the month. Which means I have to get the revisions finished, before we go. Or I could revise on the road. Anyway, it's a good thing, but a... complicating factor.

Okay. I'm going home.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Quick visit

Stopping by quick, quick to say--only 4.5 pages today, but I wrestled with some knotty issues and I think got them combed straight. Big battle is looming, almost at hand.

The fella and sundry relatives (including the boy) have gone to Austin to see one of the sundries get sworn in as a state representative. I have to finish this book. I would go to visit with all the relations, but I'm not into politics so much. So I wish them all luck, and get back to the book.

Go look at the pictures, if you haven't.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


I have finally managed to download the pictures from my camera onto my computer. Yay! So this blog will be pictures of stuff I've been promising, and am finally able to share. First, the picture of Dolly in her pink sweater.

We have a few other pictures, but she's looking the most "pit-bull-ish" in this picture. It's really hard to take pictures of her, because when you go outside for any reason, she's all "Play! You want to Play! With MEEEEEEEE! Yes, play! Play! Play!" And it's really hard to take a picture when she's jumping all over you wanting to play. I had to recruit some help. You might notice that her collar is sort of vaguely pink also. I washed it after her great adventure, so it's even more vague now... (yes, her feet are pink too, it's not just reflection from the sweater. But the sweater does make them look pinker.)

Next, we have the smiley potato. I was peeling potatoes for mashed potatoes one night last fall, and discovered one with a smiley face. We thought it was funny, so we took a picture of it.

No, we do not still have it. We ate it. It tasted very good.

Now I have to think of other things to say to fill up the space next to the smiley potato picture so the pictures won't overlap each other. Um...

I'm getting closer and closer to the end of Old Spirits. Almost to the final battle scene. The main bad guy ought to show up pretty soon, and once that happens, the battle will start. Once the battle is over, the book ends, so...

Next picture--I took a couple of pictures of my editor, Heather Osborn, in her office in New York City while I was there. (See blog about visit.) I took two so y'all could see her "slush pile" (which actually isn't nearly as big as some slush piles I've seen) and the (tiny) size of her office. This is view #1.

I need more filler, don't I? So, today, I went walking down to the beach, and wished I'd taken the camera, because I saw bulldozers driving in the surf. They were scooping up seawater in their buckets and driving up to dump it on the sand-ramps they'd built for the dump trucks to drive down to the beach from the Seawall on, to tamp the sand down.

Okay, here's the other picture. You will notice she's basically in the same position, leaning her elbow on her desk. That means you can see how close these shelves are behind her. Much of what is on the shelves is not slush. I think those are mostly manuscripts from her authors. But I may have the piles mixed up. One set of stacks is slush, one is contracted work. Heather reads very fast. This is why she's not backlogged more than this. Oh, and there are a lot of books in those stacks, you will also notice.

More filler? Okay, so because there were bulldozers driving around everywhere, I didn't get to walk very far on the beach. Dump trucks were driving down the ramp quite frequently too, when the bulldozers weren't dumping water on it. I walked over toward 45th St., but couldn't walk too far that way, because of the plazas that push the rocks out toward the waterline. I did see five terns though. And several ringbilled gulls. The laughing gulls are starting to grow their black head-feathers back in. Spring is on its way. Yeah, it arrives pretty early in Galveston.

Two more pictures. I took a picture through the window of Dolly the granddog sunbathing. She knows a thing or two about relaxing and enjoying the sun, doesn't she. The items of clothing scattered around her are an old pirate costume of her boy's. She's been abusing those pirate pants (the red-and-black striped thing) for months, and they just recently got their first holes in them. Small holes. We play tug-o-war regularly with those pants. Still haven't split a seam. That polyester knit stuff is TOUGH. The shirt (black and white thing) hasn't held up quite as well. The black stuff doesn't seem to be pure polyester...

And I shall leave you with the last picture. A sunrise over my neighbor's house. Only in winter do I get up early enough to catch the sunrise...

Monday, January 05, 2009

Right between the Eyes

Yep, just got smacked. Another year got me.

It has been CRAZY chez moi. A day or two after Dolly's mega-adventure, her boy came home from college evac. He'll be back in school on the local campus in the next week or so. A few days after that, he went with me to fetch the parents, since I was NOT letting them drive through Houston. We got to see my baby sister for a little visit, and some nieces and nephews, and then we were off, zipping back through the heinous Houston traffic. (I took the tollway, since I didn't want to deal with downtown traffic, even during off hours.) And the parental units finally agreed that they really didn't want to drive through Houston. The traffic was scary and the signs and exits were confusing. Given that Daddy got lost inside my house (!), I think it was the best decision. He has spatial issues and motivational issues. Mama just can't hang onto events. She couldn't remember whether she'd made arrangements to have her chairs recovered. (I went with her to do it, so I know it happened.) That sort of thing. (I figure the writing is on my wall, so I plan to enjoy my next 20 years or so...)(A LOT.)

It was good to have them down for a visit, though. The older son came in Christmas evening with his boys and we had Christmas all over again. The grandkids made out like bandits--which is as it should be. The boys had an all-night movie-watching marathon, which got postponed because the electricity went out for about 4 hours. (We had a cold supper that night.) We played our new games and laughed like loons--one of the games we got required writing down things that belonged in sets, like "Things a lady should not do" or "Things you should not say to your mother," then guessing who wrote what. We had to repeat the things numerous times because Mama had trouble remembering what they were, so we got to doing them in a sort of shorthand. And of course, we decided that "Fart" could be a "thing" on most of the lists--and of course, boys being boys, "Fart" was the answer they gave a great deal of the time. And I got my tang all toungled repeating the answers so many times, and came out with "spart and fit" instead of what it was supposed to be, and made everyone laugh so hard I thought I might fall out of my chair.

You had to be there, I guess...

The little guys had to go home Monday morning, so I took the great grandparents home Monday afternoon. We had such a good visit. And then Tuesday, after I worked really hard on the writing and got lots of good stuff done, I went to the dayjob, and fell apart. The crud hit me so fast and hard, I was falling asleep over the computer, so I took my sore throat and icky feeling home and went to bed. I'm still coughing like I could lose a lung, but the ickiness is gone. The main problem was that the ick hit the brain.

I tried to other day that week. Thursday--New Year's Day, maybe. And the writing was good, but I had an inspiration during the writing for how the blackness of the moment would resolve itself...and when I finished the writing, I couldn't remember what my inspiration was to make myself a note. Usually, I can remember, or at least reconstruct, but it was just gone. So I resorted to typing in/revisions for the next several days.

Today, I let myself get back to the writing, and it's coming nicely. I like what I got today. It flows--and the braindead writing worked too, believe it or not. I have 3.5 more weeks to get this finished, typed and completely revised. Wish me luck. I'm going to make it. Without too much panicking involved...

The next book, however...

Happy New Year to all y'all.

I'll try to post again this week, maybe about goals...