Writing is a journey, not a destination.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tired Again

I'm starting to think the constant rain is stirring up my mold allergies. My head is stuffed, turning quickly or bending over results in nausea, and I have a cough that doesn't get worse and doesn't go away. Or, maybe it's a tumor.
Wouldn't that be grand? Impending death would kick everything up a notch. Not for me, of course. I'd just sit back like always, shrug and wonder "why bother?" Do I need to say it again? I'm not a fighter.
I started an idea file for E2. I've got plenty of side stories. I just need the one big idea to pull it all together and make it a novel. 
My focus needs to be on Past Ties. Printing it out has helped a lot with the writing. It's a visual reminder of progress. I'm also old enough to like turning paper. Gives me a sense of accomplishment, sadly lacking in my life at the moment.
I hope the sun comes out today. I really need to see him.
Hope you all are safe and well and as dry as reasonable. So many of us are not right now. I encourage you to pray for our country and our fellow citizens. Spring arrived with a grudge this year, and she seems to want her pound of flesh.  
Stay safe, dear readers. Turn around; don't drown.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Mistake?

Why do I do it?
I know better. I know no good ever comes of it. But I keep doing it.
Why do I comment on "hot topic" issues on FB?
I thought I'd learned. I thought I'd figured out it only causes arguments full of talking points and no resolution.
Yet, last night, I did it again.
I could have scrolled past. I could have just taken that free Watering Can from a Neighbor and gone on with my life, no one the wiser. But I didn't. I stopped. I made a comment. I tried to make it as nice and rational a comment as I could make in that little tiny space. I regretted it before I ever hit "enter," but I hit "enter" anyway. Maybe I thought, "This time will be different."
What happened? I started a fight.
I knew I would. I knew it because I've done it before. If you want to share an opinion with a Friend, that's one thing. When other Friends get involved, it turns ugly. Fast.
Should I resolve never to do it again? I could. Would it be right? Maybe.
I do get tired of the conflict. I get tired of arguing without hope of resolution.
Then again, what if my comments make one other person stop and think? What if I influence, not the person who answers me, but the one who doesn't? Does that make it worth the effort? The discomfort? The clenched stomach that comes when I'm in disagreement with another?
I don't know. 
Will I do it again?
Yeah. I probably will. 'Cause somebody needs to speak up, and I'm learning "somebody" is more often than not "me."

Monday, April 25, 2011

To Me, All Pickles Are Sweet

Okay, not my most inspired post, but I was full of Easter dinner when I wrote it and mostly trying to get something down before I slipped into a food coma.
Maybe I should have given up the fight.
You may decide for yourself over at

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Reflections on Food

Saturday's sunburn is peeling spectacularly. Note to self: sunscreen is vital even in cold weather.

Yesterday was one of those days I would rather have stared at a wall for 8 hours than talked with a single person. Too bad work doesn't care about my mood. 

Started writing last night and forgot I left a burrito in the microwave. I am now that special kind of stupid that forgets to eat. I did notice the burrito in time to save it for today. Knowing me, though, I might have tried eating it even if it sat out overnight. Did I say special kind of stupid?

I have added food to Past Ties. Being one of the things I love, I love to write about it. It's also one of the things I've been missing in my current WIP. Now we meet Gavran not only learning about his new assignment but trying to find a snack en route. Much funnier and much more fun to write. At some as-yet-undetermined serious point, I intend to have him crunching his way through a bag of kim che-flavored soy nuts. Chuckle.

I've also been thinking about the sequel to Elementals. No idea what that title will be. E-squared? Oooh. I kinda like that.

Anyway, it occurred to me if Glorya gets preggo, I'll need some experts to walk me through the process (Yes, I have books on it, but the personal touch is better). Fortunately, I seem to be virtually surrounded by fertile females. Don't think finding some testimony will be quite the problem it might have been a year ago. I could also give her morning sickness. Wouldn't that be fun among the Achnoi? Another chuckle.

For you who liked Elementals, these musings are good news. Perhaps I'll have an actual story developed before I start.

My current deadline first draft date for Past Ties (self-set, I might add), is May 9. No way that's happening. Since it's completely arbitrary and I've become more concerned about word count than writing, I'm moving it farther away and ignoring it completely. No more word count checks every night. I'm not on deadline. As long as I add food to every scene and pile on the melodrama, I seem able to write. Guess I am a one-book writer.

Frankly, I should be focusing more on selling what I have (or promoting what I have to sell) than creating more product and I'm tired of this constant sense of failure. I just want to get the thing done and move on. I can do that over the summer. That's when I write my best stuff anyway. I'm warm and awake and often bored.

That is not a challenge to involve me in your lives this summer. If I wanted a life, I would have started one a long time ago. As it is, I have fake lives to chronicle. So I'll do it while you're all doing your things.

Oi! Is that the time? Then it's time for me to skeddaddle. Later, dear readers.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Old Ideas, New Freedom

This week is, once again, cold and dark. It's hard for turtles to wake up when it's cold and dark. One of these days, I'll stop trying. I find myself waking up and wading through the day to get to the next time I can lie down and sleep.

My mood is good. We'll see how another few days of no sun affects that.

I worked on Past Ties last night. I'm adding some flashback scenes that aren't flashbacks. Meaning, I'm adding  them as separate chapters between the current chapters.

I use the word current carefully. This is a book about time travel. That makes time necessarily fluid. Memory becomes current and current becomes future.

These flashback chapters may end up being more "notes to self" kinds of things, but maybe not. I started putting time/place tags as chapter headings a while ago, so those might clue a reader to a time/place change. Might not, too. Don't care. I wrote another 600+ words doing it. I've also upped the action ante a bit with them. Shah and Gavran's lives are more exciting before and after they meet each other. These kind of bridge the boring gaps.

I've concluded no one but me will read this book anyway. I need to just get it down and out of my way so I can move on with other things. Certain freedom in that. I thought I'd already decided that a long time ago, but I guess no one bothered to tell my reptile brain.

Or maybe I'm too tired to remember.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Human School, or Missing the Mark

The hardest part to write was the title. Didn't realize it would follow into the link over at

The New Authors' Fellowship.

Let me know if I missed the mark.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Winter Is Finally Here

No, not the season.
Keven Newsome, aka Gungho Iguana, aka founder of The New Authors' Fellowship, landed a publisher! Grace Bridges of Splashdown Books started a subsidiary press called Splashdown Darkwater and Winter is its first release.

Well done, Iguana!

If you don't remember, Keven and I competed during the 2009 MLS Premise Contest. Winter made it one more level than Star of Justice (and Diane Graham's I Am Ocilla beat us both and sent us cryin' to our mommas). Keven has actively, aggressively pursued publication ever since, and his tenacity has paid off.

Here's the book trailer. This is the first time I've seen it, and I must say...it's faaaaabulous (those of you old enough to remember Max Headroom can supply the accent).

Official release date is June 1. They're trying for 1000 copies sold in that first week. Guess I'll have to get my order in, eh?

Cover art by Holly Heisey, subject photography by the lovely DeAnna Newsome, aka mrsmusicnerd, and Mary Rochelle Unsworth as Winter.

One more time: well done, Iguana!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Wanna Play?

Early in the first season of Fringe, Walter and Peter argue. That happens a lot in the first season of Fringe.

Anyway, Walter posits some outrageous theory and Peter poo-poos it, at which point, Walter accuses him of being close-minded.

Glaring, Peter leans forward over the lab counter and growls, "You wanna play? Fine. Let's play."
Being a mad scientist and his genius son, they go on to invent an impossible machine that does, well, the impossible.

I love that scene.

I forget how much fun fellow nerds can be. Nerds? Fun?

Yes. It's the same for nerds as it is for sports fans or weathermen or professional garage salers. When you get together with a group of folks who love the same thing you do, fun happens.

My fellow nerds at NAF reminded me of that yesterday. Hopefully, our game will become your enjoyment at some future date.

Frankly, I don't care if it does. I'm having enough fun for all of us, whether or not you ever see the fruits of our enjoyable labor.

Wanna play? You bet I do.

Thanks for playing with me, NAF.

Monday, April 11, 2011

"Home" coming

Two weeks ago, I told you I had some happy news to share. Today I share it at

You may need a hanky.
That goes double for you, mom.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

By Way of Apology...

...for yesterday's slightly morose post, I offer this bit of frivolity from The Least Read Blog on the Web.

Take four minutes and enjoy!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Met Myself Today

Not in a trans-dimensional time warp sort of way.

She happened upon me. She sat at a table nearby and struck up a conversation. I'm not delusional. I have witnesses.

Oh, we weren't exactly the same. She'd had a harder life than me, mostly through her own choices.

But, there she sat: older than her age, wearing a comfortable but not fashionable dress with long, graying hair in a ponytail. The four year anniversary of her parent's death approaches and she carries a diagnosis of chronic debilitating anxiety disorder.

She'd taken psychology classes once and knew how to imprint names. She lives in a basement apartment with no windows and hasn't ventured out of it in weeks. She wishes she could have a pet but her landlord won't allow them. In short, she couldn't stop talking.

Sound familiar?

Will this be me? Will that be my life? I wake up some nights in a cold sweat thinking about it.

It could happen. I could become comfortable but not fashionable basement-hermit girl. The brothers might try to pull me out of it, but, frankly, they're boys. They'd lose interest and let me sulk. They have lives, after all. I'm the one who doesn't.

You're thinking my friends wouldn't let that happen. Honey, should I choose, I would have no friends. The turtle is as fully capable of driving people away as attracting them. It's not hard.
The biggest difference between my future self and me? I know Jesus.

He's the difference in my life. He's the reason even if I became basement-hermit girl, I wouldn't be alone. But I could never be that girl.

Mom would come back and kill me if I tried.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I Know Someone

I know someone today whose heart is heavy with grief.

Whose pain comes in like the tide.

Who turns to find comfort yet the comforter is gone
and only emptiness fills that place.

My heart breaks for the friend I have never seen, never met.

My heart breaks for the loss we share.

The loss of love.

The loss of companionship.

The loss of hope.

Do not despair, my far-away friend.

We do not grieve as though who have no hope.

A piece of our soul rejoins the One we serve.

We will meet again
when we run into the arms of the One
all those little bits of our soul will return to us

Perfectly restored, perfectly healthy, perfectly eternal

Like us.

Like Him.

Wait patiently.

The Long Step comes for us all.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Gimme Some Corn

My writer's block woes seemed to inspire at least one writer's creativity. Glad I could help, Kat, at least with your blog post.

While reading her thoughts on the matter, I recalled something Roland Yeomans once wrote: remember your first love. Actually, Jesus might have said that first, but Roland repeated it a while ago.

I thought I had remembered. I even added the song that went with the post to my "Songs of the Turtle" page as inspiration for Past Ties (Walking in the Air, if you're curious).

If I did remember, I promptly walked away and forgot again, like the fool in James. Or maybe I didn't remember the most important thing about why I write.

I write for the corn.

It's the same reason I read. Or watch movies. I want melodrama. I want over-the-top emotive experiences. I grew up on William Shatner's Star Trek. Tom Baker's Doctor Who. I cried at Charmed episodes, people, not because they're good, but because they are over-the-top melodramas!

This is what I've been missing! The corn!

I've been so focused on removing all things corny, I forgot that's what I love to write. See, I wanted something deep and solid and meaningful. Something hearty and bread-like. Something serious. Silly me.

Oh, I'll tone it down later, have no fear. But to start...to get it out on the page...I must plant lots and lots of corn. I must be Dr. McCoy, not Mr. Spock. Somewhere down the line, I'll find that middle ground of season one Captain Kirk. You know, when he was good? 

Is the proof in the cornbread? I wrote over 1K words last night. Easily. Corn everywhere, but I wrote. It wasn't painful or laborious. It wasn't flat or cautious. Just good ole-fashioned melodrama.
Explosions! Hypnotism (a staple of early 80's TV)! Trauma wards and rubble! Ah, good times. Nothing like a little carnage to get the heart pounding. Pile on a few arguments and a life-and-death decision and wham! It's off to the movies for the turtle!


For the record, I used no exclamation points last night. If your verbs are strong enough, you don't need 'em.

Anyhoo, I'm not saying the block is gone. I am saying, I'm looking forward to my next block of writing time.

And my next batch of cornbread.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Get Busy Writing

Once more the NAF tallies are in and the stats revealed for how our current WsIP progress.


For me. I can't judge the others by their numbers. Only they know how much they've cut before adding.

Reading The Iguana's post about The Hero's Journey as illustrated by Avatar the anime series, I considered that I have no hero's journey in Past Ties. I have them in my first two books. I have them in other books I intend to write. Why not this one? Is that the problem?

TT: I have so many problems listed at this point I should just write a book about all the reasons I can't write this book. At least I'd be writing something.

Who would be the hero in Past Ties? Not Shah. She has all the right elements, but it just isn't there. Maybe because she starts depressed. Could be William (formerly Orell, formerly Petrov, formerly Parok, poor guy) but that would really shift the story to uncharted territory. Plus, while surrounded by people who could kick his tail, he doesn't automatically have the ability to kick back, unless I change the qualifiers for tail-kicking. It pre-exhausts me to think about it.

It isn't Luckfellow. I fear she will never change.

It could be Gavran. I'm going to try it with him. I like hero's journeys. I'm going to hang out in Gavran's head for a while, viewpoint-wise, and see if I can get this thing moving.

Frankly, I don't know why I'm still trying to work on it. I'm avoiding the computer because of it. I had a nice block of writing time set aside last night and found all kinds of ways to fill it with other stuff. Not even FV stuff. I must be desperate.

Can I blame Anne Lamott, that odd duck I mocked who suffered writer's block for 3 years? Would be poetic justice, wouldn't it?

No. I have only myself to blame, and only myself to write my way out of the mess.

That's okay. My new, improved, proactive self is up to any challenge.

Hope Gavran is.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What Field?

This year I've noticed more professionals. I'm sure they existed prior to this year, but, like the woman who buys a new car and then sees it at every stoplight, I'm noticing them.

Dave Ramsey, the financial expert. Seth Godin, Internet marketing guru. The guy last night who has worked in business systems analysis and accounting for 25 years and speaks with authority on the subject. Compelling authority.

Where's my field? Why am I not an expert in something? I have 20 years behind me, 11 in the same industry. 

The obvious answer is I don't care about anything enough to become an expert. This would be an addendum to the "lack of passion" whining theme running through the blog over the past year. Hard to become an expert by accident, although it may not be impossible.

TT: I have also noticed as I seek to become more involved, more proactive, more useful to my customers (and that includes my so-called employer), I may have accidentally picked up more knowledge than I suspected. I do know a lot about my industry. Not as much as I could have had I paid attention all these years, but enough to surprise me.

But, an expert? Hardly. I'm just playing in the dirt.

You know, this is what happens when you wake up and start looking around. You wonder "why am I so far behind on the game board of Life?" Is this covetousness? I don't like it.

I didn't use to have these thoughts. I used to be content with my little house and my numerous cats and my satisfactory if not substantial paycheck.

When I deal with folks now, I measure them. What have they done? What knowledge or skill set have they accrued/are they accruing? Are they experts or phonies? Can they do something I can, only better? Why did they push forward and I didn't? Would I be as good (or better) if I had applied myself?

It's not about material success. It's more about "what have they done with their lives/talents/gifts and why have I not done something more with mine?" This has to be a mid-life crisis, which doesn't bode well for my 111 plan. It's starting way too early.

I want a field. I don't care if it's a yard square in the middle of a swamp, I want one. Don't know what it will be yet, but I'm surveying. Maybe writing, maybe something else, like accounting. The world needs accountants, too.

So, yes, I am judging you. You'll be happy to know at this point, y'all are coming out way ahead of the turtle.

Not for long.