Monday, February 23, 2009

New week, new stuff

According to my goals list, I didn't get a whole lot accomplished last week. It felt like I was spinning my wheels most of the week too. Got my opening scene written, and then stalled out. Couldn't figure out where to go from there. Part of it was an "order" issue. I'm a linear writer, which isn't the same as a plotter, or a "pantser"--someone who just starts writing and figures it out as they go. The other kind of writer is a "puzzler" who writes scenes as they come, and then figures out what order they go in. I Really can't do that. I have to write mostly from beginning to end, because my scenes build on each other. If I leave something out I decide I need, I can insert it without much of a problem, but during the first draft stuff, I pretty much have to have stuff in the order it happens.

I am also trying to do my first draft on the computer this time. Not really because of the time issue, but because of my vision issues. So I'm doing a LOT of stuff on the computer. I also have a lot of my thinking files on the computer--including a scene list. I put the scenes I've already written in red for his POV and in blue for hers, and the ideas for future scenes--if I know I need the scene, it's in black, and possible scenes are in purple. I'm not very far ahead. I sort of know where I'm going, but my roadmap is REALLY vague.

I also need a new title for Old Spirits. It sounds like booze to the New Yorkers, and isn't "romancey" enough. (I don't know what was so "romancey" about New Blood...) So I have to get my brain in gear and figure out a new title. Not my best topic. All suggestions invited. (The Conjurer's Apprentice?) And I have to do a few revisions on it, ramp up the action early on. I think I know how to do that. (First, cut out all the boring stuff that I didn't already cut out.)

Last week was a really lazy week. I did take Dolly the granddog to the vet, because she apparently ate something that made her sick. She quit eating and almost quit drinking, and acted like a sick little doggie. She's all better now, though. Back to her high energy, Gigi-exhausting self.

I am enjoying my new Sony e-reader. Alternating between reading a book on it, and reading one of my backlist TBR books. I have caught up on my RITA books. Finished them off, unless I'm asked to do a second group, and can read stuff just for fun. Or from my TBR Challenge list. I have Sabriel off the shelf, sitting on my desk... Okay. After I finish Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand, I'll read that one.

Oh, and I have two articles to write this week, and a list of interview questions to answer. The first article is due Wednesday (I think.) The questions need to be answered before next Tuesday, and the second article is due next Thursday. Need to doublecheck on the newsletter topic.

AND, I need to get a newsletter out to my newsletter subscribers. New Blood is out NEXT WEEK. How did it get to be almost March so fast? Ack!

Okay. Off to work.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Valentine's Mardi Gras

Galveston celebrates Mardi Gras. Not quite as big time as New Orleans--but it's not nearly as large a town. Even before Ike washed away about half the population. So you wouldn't expect it to be quite as wild, or as big. But it's plenty big enough for me.

Saturday was Valentine's Day, but we mostly did Mardi Gras. There were three parades on Saturday, all down the seawall on Seawall Blvd. One at noon (Krewe of Aquarius, I believe), one at three (the Firetruck Parade) and one at 6 p.m. (Krewe of Gambrinus), complete with fireworks over the gulf at the 37th St. Pier. I was invited to ride in one of the noon parade entries--a convertible, not a float--and throw stuff at people. We had candy, beads and college promo freebies like keychains and rubber bracelets to throw.

There was a time I could throw a softball or baseball pretty well. But that was a LONG time ago, and I wasn't sitting in a car while doing it. Now--I basically suck at throwing. I have no arm, and I'm a klutz anyway. So I took on the job of throwing bracelets. I had to take each bracelet out of its little plastic zip bag, because if you threw them in the bag, they would plummet to the asphalt about a foot from the car, but if you took them out, they had a chance of flying a ways out, at least to a spot safe to pick it up. However, you must take into account the fact that I was throwing them.

Some of them flew right to the folks I was aiming at. Some sailed over their heads. Some sank like a rock. Some hit the balloon tied to the side mirror and went in strange directions. Some went practically behind the car because my arm got all contorted into a crazy side-arm sort of throw... Anyway, the bracelets were very popular, perhaps because they were different. Not your usual bead.

Saturday was a rainy day on the island. It sprinkled lightly while we were waiting for the parade to kick off. It cleared up right as we were heading out (we were about 30 minutes into the parade). Then it started sprinkling again harder when the parade was almost over. We ran out of stuff about 54th St. The parade went to 59th. Oops.

We went back to our house afterward--at about 2:30--to have lunch and warm up. It wasn't that cold out, but when wet--I had hot chocolate. It was wonderful. :) And while we were eating our homemade soup (I didn't burn it!) for lunch at 3 p.m., just as the firetruck parade was starting, the sky opened up and the rain POURED down. It rained really hard for about 20 minutes, then just rained for another half hour or so.

And after a little nap, we went back out to watch the evening parade and fireworks. We walked. It's not far from our house to the seawall. But we walked all the way down past 45th St. so we could see the fireworks. The rain had stopped, but it was still foggy and cloudy. I thought they were going to do the fireworks after the parade, but they started shooting them off before the parade reached us (which admittedly, was an hour and a half after the parade started). They looked very cool lighting up the clouds. We walked back to 45th St., met some friends and their kids and grandkids, and watched the parade with them.

The floats were fabulous, the people all dressed up on them, and I caught a lot of beads. Or rather, I picked up a bunch from the ground in front of me. I actually caught one strand. But I had beads up almost as high as my ears... And I danced with a member of one of the bands marching by. As former band members, we were hollering and cheering for the bands, so when this one--North Forest High School out of Houston--stopped right in front of us, and the tubas and drums took over the music, the kid took my hand and we boogied till he had to march off again. It was hilarious, and no, the fella did not get the camera out of his pocket fast enough to get a picture. (Thank goodness!) But it was fun. Then we went over to our friends' house for a glass of wine and some stuffed grilled jalapenos. Yum.

We have pictures. I'll try to remember to download and upload them when I get home.

We also finally found and ordered a sofa to replace our old ratty white one. We've only been looking about 2 years to find something we liked. It will be a while before it arrives, but not another year, which is probably how long we'd go before trying to shop again... We still need lamps and end tables and recovered chairs and... Lots of stuff. But not today.

I'm up to p. 33 on the book. Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, right?

Monday, February 09, 2009

Mini adventures & random thoughts

Went back out walking this a.m. on the beach. Did not take the dog. The weather was cloudy and windy, and a bit rain-spitty. But I wanted to walk on the beach, so I drove down, rather than spending so much time just walking up there and back. I climbed down the stairs at a place where one of the stair rails was broken off the concrete stairs and three-quarters buried in the sand. The part that wasn't buried stuck out of the sand at an angle, like some drowned spar.

Anyway, where I climbed down, they hadn't put any additional sand down. They're replacing sand washed away by Hurricane Ike, but hadn't done it yet in that area. However, they'd piled sand up on the other side of the next jetty, clear to the top of the jetty. I climbed up on the rocks, from "my" side, but I wanted to walk down by the water, where the sand would be harder packed, and--well, the sand is piled up so high, it makes a little cliff. Higher than I wanted to jump down with my wonky knees. So I walked down the jetty to where the tide had washed the sand down.

Except it had washed the sand underneath, between the rocks, and not on top of the rocks, and when I was standing on what I thought was sand over rock, turned out I wasn't. I was standing on sand with a hole under it. And my entire left leg crashed through the sand into the hole between the two big jetty boulder/rocks. Next thing I knew, I was sitting sprawled on the sand-covered jetty, with my leg down a hole. Didn't hurt me. Had on long pants and walking shoes and socks. The sand made a kind of cushion, so no bruises. Just a big surprise. And a lot of sand down my leg, in my sock & shoe.

But getting up and down those jetty rocks was a lot of work. So I hiked down to the next set of stairs --past the next jetty-- and climbed up and walked back to the car on the seawall. And got rained on, a bit. It's cloudy and windy, but not cold, today. Until the Gulf washes more of the sand down, and makes that edge not so cliff-y, I'll probably stick to seawall walking for a while...I do need to go take a picture of it, though, so you can see what I'm talking about...

Now, we come to the random thoughts section:
I did see 15 pelicans flying out to fish. And did I mention that the seagulls have their black heads back? It will soon be the season for seagull love...

The boy and I watched "300" again last night. And there was a scene with a bird sitting on an abandoned spear (from one of the dead, I think). And when the bird flew away, it made a seagull cry. Except--seagulls can't sit on spears. Their feet aren't right. They're webbed. So they can't perch. They can sit on pilings and broad flat posts and roofs and stuff, but they can't perch. It would be like a duck perching on a narrow branch. Ain't gonna happen. So now, I'm criticizing the birds in movies. (sigh)

Took Dolly to the vet this a.m. after my walk. Turns out, she not only has allergies like the rest of the family (her "white" eye is really sensitive), but she has a wonky knee like her Gigi. That's why she limps sometimes, because her kneecap keeps sliding out of position. Knees, not hips. We got ointment for the eye--it got infected from the allergy irritation--and shots, and she's in great shape otherwise. She was SO excited at the vets. Wanted to sniff at all the smells and play and sniff and play and... I think she scared an elderly dachshund's elderly owner, running up to sniff and play. The dog was a little affronted, but the owner looked alarmed. So we took her out the other way. Dolly, not the dachshund.

Went to see TWO (2!) movies this weekend. Taken and Push. Liked both. Becoming Jane and Hancock came in from Ntflx. Jane came in twice. I reported that it hadn't come (they mailed it from Houston, and it didn't get here in a WEEK. I can drive to the far side of Houston in 2 hours...)(Plus, we got the other movie, watched it and mailed it back before the 2nd Jane came.) so they sent another one. And now I have 2. I will mail it back. I have enough clothes to fold for a movie watching marathon tonight.

I have written 7 pages so far of HARRY & ELINOR FIGHT MONSTERS. I am going to attempt to write this on the computer. We will see how it goes. If I don't get my page count up, I may go back to the longhand...except that I probably wrote a LOT more pages than I have left, since I started, and started over, and over again multiple times. When I write that in longhand, I still have the scratch-outs to show that I actually wrote more. I am saving some of the deleted bits--and have already used some over again--but it's still not as much as the saved. Anyway, I'm getting to the more exciting stuff, so maybe it's going okay...

Sunday, February 01, 2009

As if I needed another Reason to Read Books

    I am joining a book reading challenge, the TBR 2009 challenge. You try to read 12 books (one book a month) off your backed up shelves. I want to get some books off my To Be Read shelves. I have a lot of them. Plus the books under my bed. Plus... well, I have a lot.

    So. This is my TBR challenge list. I'm going to mostly go by the suggested genres.

    And I just remembered--I have a lot of RITA books I need to read, since I was on deadline and put them off till I finished writing a book. Anyway--I can read the TBR books too. Especially since I don't have to read them in the particilar months. I'm just going to list them in order of the suggestions.

    To be honest, my TBR pile is full of things that aren't necessarily romance, because I read the romance first...But I will toil manfully away at my pile and try to whittle it down.

    1. THE TEXAS RANGER by Jan Hudson - Harlequin American Romance (the only series romance on my shelf)

    2. SABRIEL by Garth Nix. This was recommended by a friend of my son. That counts.
    The suggested topic for February was a book bought because of an AAR DIK review...but I almost never visit AAR, so that's no good. I just picked something that's been sitting around on the shelves a long time...

    3. LOVE AND HONOR by Randall Wallace - Historical novel w/romantic elements (I hope.)
    It's been sitting around a long time too.

    4. EVE OF DARKNESS by Sylvia Day. I've been meaning to read this one a LONG time and really want to. Urban fantasy (I think. I know it's fantasy of some kind.)

    5. P.S. I LOVE YOU (don't want to go back and look at the author.) The suggestion is for Friends to Lovers - Don't know if I have any of those, but this one seemed maybe close.

    6. GALE FORCE by Rachel Caine - Urban Fantasy - I usually don't let those sit around too long, but I think that one's been sitting the longest. It's August of last year. The suggestion is "Tortured Hero or Heroine" and I think Caine's heroine fits--but she's mostly tortured by Rachel Caine, not her past...
    Okay, in here? I'm going to be coming down to the line on my next deadline. So what I'm going to do is list what the suggestions are for and do what I can to get them done.

    7. WHAT A ROGUE DESIRES by Caroline Linden. Wrongfully Accused, or Just out of Jail (???)

    8. GET A CLUE by Jill Shalvis Specific authors. First of all, this is the last month before my deadline. I doubt I'll get anything much read. (Though I did read 2 books this past month while on deadline, so one never knows.) But second, I don't own any books by any of those people (Nora Roberts, Mary Balogh, Julia Quinn, etc.) that I haven't read. What? Are you nuts? I glom onto them instantly. I'll pick something from the stack.

    9. THE SMOKE THIEF by Shana Abe. This is one of the authors on the list. I've been told that it picks up after the prologue, so I may just skip the prologue, because, honestly? Every time I start at the prologue...I put the sucker back down again. This will be after my deadline, and I'm hoping I'll be able to read it then.

    10. Horror! Hate horror. But I have some RS books that scare the pee-waddin out of me, so maybe I'll get through Colleen Thompson's HEAT LIGHTNING this time. (It scared me!) And hopefully, there won't be any hurricanes...

    11. TRUE DECEPTION by Patricia Waddell. Because it looks interesting. (Thanksgiving theme. Ha! It's a SF romance)

    12. LOVE OVER SCOTLAND by Alexander McCall Smith. It was in the closet at the newspaper where they put the books people send for reviews for whoever wants to to read, and it looks light and fun, so while it's not Christmas theme, it's not Heavy.

    Don't know if I will have a new deadline. I'll need to get back to work on my big historical novel, if I have some time in here, so...

    Maybe I can move a few more books off my shelves.

Dancing in the streets!

Okay, actually, there's no dancing. Just lying around and reading books and playing videogames. I took a whole day to do absolutely nothing but what I wanted to do. Why, you ask?

Because I FINISHED THE BOOK! (Snoopy dance) Finished it. Cut out all the boring stuff (I hope) and cleaned it up, and sent it off to the agent and editor. It came in at 576 manuscript pages. One page more than New Blood. Just over 135,000 words. New Blood has just under 134,000 words.

Today I played. Even went out and walked along the seawall--but didn't go down on the beach, because they've piled the sand up 4 feet high (or so) and it requires climbing down a cliff to get to the hard-packed sand, and I didn't want to do that. Maybe if it's warm enough for my flip-flops tomorrow... The seagulls have their black heads back, so it's already courting season for them, or will be soon.

And tomorrow, I have to start the next book. Oak and Iron? Maybe I can do a hyphenated adjective to go with the noun of the title... Need something to go with both elements and with plants. Hmm. I also have to figure out the magic processes a little better. Wish me luck.