Thursday, January 31, 2008

Fuzzy bits

Talked with my reader this afternoon. He's been busy so is a little behind with the project. Not to worry, I'm a little behind with my plan too! Anyway, I knew there was something wrong with Chapter 14, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. He did. Went straight to the fuzzy bit, and gave me a superb idea on how to fix it. So that's what I'm up to right now.

I still have to get my agent query whipped into shape... or if I'm truthful, I have to start to outline the darned thing. This is the hardest thing I've ever done! I can't seem to get my head around it. Oh well, I guess I'll just have to slog away until I master it. I don't think that the publishing world is going to beat a path to my door otherwise!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Light Fantastic

And now the end of the saga. Yesterday we went out to the other DIY superstore, the one where the associates wear orange aprons, and found a (not nearly as) nice light fixture for the kitchen. When I saw the price I swiftly revised my opinion. It's amazing how a 50% price break can do that. Sooo anyway, we bought that one and the spouse installed it and now I have light again. I'm still looking for lights for the family room but that project is low-priority for now. Oh yes, the fan over in the breakfast nook has been updated too. But not the light over the sink. But we're getting there.

And with the money we saved ( Huh? didn't we go out originally for a single fixture?) the spouse has decided that we can afford to put up DeerCam. And more of that in a later post...

Saturday, January 26, 2008

More Heat Than Light

When you flick a light switch you have an expectation that the fixture overhead will illuminate the surroundings. Last night, when I did just that in my kitchen and nothing happened, I assumed the fuse had blown. Wrong! As the spouse had been poking around in the attic in about the same place as the light he assumed he'd dislodged a wire and was confident he'd get it working in the morning. Wrong! For reasons passing understanding our light had decided to cash in its chips. No problem, it was old and we always planned to change it for something nicer anyway. And so we popped into the local DIY superstore and, wouldn't you just know it, saw the perfect thing. Excellent! In fact it was so nice I thought we should change out the lights in our family room (we have four fixtures in there, yes it's huge) and have them all match. But they didn't have any stock on hand. In fact, these were a non-stock item. In other words, they were not going to carry them any longer. But... another store ,a mere forty miles away, had four. Okay, but I wanted five. Ah! But have you seen the smaller version? When I looked at it, I thought it would do very nicely for the kitchen. So we piled back in the SUV and high-tailed it to the other store. We grabbed the boxes with the strongest assurance from the associate that no, the boxes hadn't been opened .These were all never-left-the-store brand new. Then the spouse pointed out a ceiling fan, which happened to be a very close match to the finish of the light fittings. Okay, we can take that to replace the one in the breakfast nook. And on the way to the checkout there was this pendant thingy on sale ( the last one) which would look really good over the sink, especially as the light that is currently up there has seen many better days. Snagged that, and three alabaster-type glass shades to go with it. Oh yes and the various bulbs and tubes necessary, plus a really cool remote switch for the fan. Gulped a the price when we made it to the cash register but, hey ,we're all set to have the spiffiest kitchen on the block.

So we get home and have a bite of lunch and then the fun really begins. Spouse sends me off to write a book or whatever it is that I do when I'm not hanging on his every word, and starts dismantling the overhead light. I'm happy to let him do this without my assistance. Five minutes later he's calling me to look at a problem. When he took the old fluorescent fixture down, he revealed the reason why it was slightly off-center in the room. Someone had tried to put their foot through the ceiling. Not good. There was a crack like the Grand Canyon up there. Okay, well it's better to know these things. Put it on the list of "things to do" and put the new lamp up in its place. We'll fix that later this year when we plan to take the nasty popcorn stuff off the ceiling anyway. Not so fast. The new matching, but smaller fixture won't cover the crack. Darn it. Well no big deal. We don't mind waiting to do up the family room, and there's always the one that's on display at our local store. We'll go and ask if we can buy that as they aren't carrying this line any longer. A perfect solution. So then the spouse opens one of the boxes and... the damned fixture is broken! Not just a little bit. It's smashed. And so was the next one he opened.

It takes a lot to get me riled, it really does. But when I've spent the whole day running around, wasting time and gas and getting absolutely nowhere, having my hopes raised and then dashed, I tend to get a teeny bit grouchy.

So we've taken the whole shebang back to the local store and I still don't have a light in my kitchen and I haven't done the edits that I promised myself I would and I'm spitting feathers about the lot of it!

Thanks for listening, I feel better now.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Now she tells me!

Note to self. Next time you mark passages that need attention don't forget to add a symbol or something so you can do a fast "find" for the places. Just changing the color of the font isn't a good idea!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Closing in

So. I've fixed the scene in Chapter 12, and that added around five hundred words which is great. And it's a much better scene now. I was able to add a bit of misdirection, which is always fun, and there's a joke in there for my reader. It works on two levels, but he's probably the only one who'll appreciate both. Lovely! I think I'll do this in all my work from now on. A challenge for me, and an "easter egg" for him. Said reader shall remain anonymous, and for anyone wondering no, it's not my spouse. Are you intrigued? Good!

I also did a slew of work on the grand finale. Not so many words but I've tightened it up and added a touch of backstory. Hmmm. Is the last chapter the place for backstory? As far as I'm concerned the answer is yes. My characters keep growing and changing on me all the way through. Llaswyr sprung this little tidbit on me at the last second. Gotta love him for that! He still hasn't divulged the very last piece of the last scene though. We're working on it.

There are still couple of places that need attention. (Yeah, like only a couple... oh come on!) I marked some fixes my reader suggested. I'll do them first thing tomorrow. I'm still on track, but not ready to print the ms. Hopefully tomorrow I'll get it all done.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


I am getting so bad about blogging! It's not that I don't want to. I'm just getting pulled in a hundred directions right now. I have to make time for it though.

A quick update on ASF -- I've been called to task about a soft spot in Chapter 12. It's not big deal, but my reader has told me that I need to add something in one scene... and darn it he's right! Question is, how to improve it without wrecking the whole thing. So I'm thinking about that.

And then I had this cool idea about another section... and we ALL know where that leads! So I'm setting a hard goal for myself. Get the things that need to be fixed, fixed. No more additions, no more procrastination. Get it done and printed by the weekend. Spend two days reading the whole ms editing with a pen as I go. Type in the corrections next week. Send the complete ms to said reader and hope he can find the time to read it in a week. While he's doing that, start querying agents. So by Feb 1 I will have at least one query out there. And I need you to keep me honest about that!

I also promise to also keep blogging, finding time for the spouse and the cats, critiquing other people's work and generally acting like a human being. Oh yes, and I suppose I'll have to put in some hours at the day job too. Should be a piece of cake -- right?

Monday, January 14, 2008

I've put the scene to bed!

The scene is finally done! It went in a somewhat different direction than I thought, but then that's Glasyn for you. She will have her own way! And all I can say at this point is that it's a good job that the rest of the book wasn't such a struggle or I'd never finish it! Onward!

By the way, Ray Rhamey has an absolutely facinating post running at Flogging the Quill. It's on POV. Check it out at

Getting there.

I think I'm back on track now. It's been a long, hard road but with an ounce of luck I should be able to get the scene fixed up and ready to go. Too many distractions and not enough time to concentrate on what I want to do are the cause of the derailment. But then again, the day job has to come first. I hope to get a solid couple of hours writing done today. That's the goal anyway.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Time is not on my side.

This week is getting away from me and there's no denying it. I have all of 45 words of my new cool scene written, and I think they are rubbish. I'm getting distracted by stupid things. Tomorrow my nose is going to be to the grindstone regardless of the day job, that incredible time-sink called the Internet, spousal duties and the demands of various cats ( I have the honor of sharing their home; they like to remind me of that) Does anyone out there know a good way to stay motivated in the face of all of this?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Excuses, excuses...

In my line of work it's not that unusual to have to do the occasional all-nighter. For me it happens maybe every six to eight weeks. But back-to-back? Now that's definitely not what I signed up for! This weekend was a brute, and no kidding. I had about four hours sleep in forty-eight.

My muse does not like that and is punishing me. All my main characters have gone skiing (they know I HATE the cold) and left a secondary character to tug at my sleeve. Now he's demanding his place in the sun. It's not going to happen in this book, but he's getting very insistent. Maybe I better let him chunner on at me and see where this goes. I did have a plan for the next project, but who knows? This could be better. And if I give in to him maybe the rest will come back in a hurry. :-) I hope so!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

First Snippet!

Okay. Here it is. I promised snippets and I'm making good on that. This is the first scene from ASF. The usual caveats apply. Please DON'T quote or repost anywhere in any format. Got it? It's mine ... all mine I tell you!! [stops to recover breath:-)]. What do you think?
"I don't think we should be here right now," Bryn muttered.

"You could be right," Llaswyr said. He was confident that they couldn't be seen. Lying belly down in the straggly weeds, their grey uniforms would blend into the background. He pushed aside a frond of heather to get a better view of their horses being led up the road that zigzagged across the outcrop and through the gatehouse into the castle. "Whose idea was this?"

"Mine." Bryn sighed, "I'm never going to hear the end of this, am I?"

Llaswyr gave him a humorless smile. To be fair it wasn't all Bryn's fault. No one was holding a knife at his throat when he agreed to this jaunt. But the chance of seeing the castle for himself was too good to refuse. He wasn't going to let Bryn off lightly just the same. "Probably not. You know why?"

"Go on. Enlighten me."

"Because, Bryn, we left in such a hurry I didn't take the gem shipment out of my saddlebag before we set off and when he finds out, my father's going to have my balls."

"Catref's Crown!"

"Mmmm. That's about the only thing that'd save me. Want to go in there," Llaswyr nodded toward the castle, "and see if we can find it?" He accepted Bryn's obscenely jerked fist as refusal.

"Seen enough?" Bryn asked.

Llaswyr had seen more than enough. Mighty Catref it was called and now he knew why. The legends hadn't exaggerated its size or its apparent impregnability, even after five hundred years of Wildlander occupation. It was the color of the place that amazed him, though. Built of what appeared to be polished ledspar -- but that was impossible -- nevertheless, it glittered in the weak, winter sunshine with a vague purple tinge. A pair of octagonal towers guarded the gate and two-by-two protected the corners of the outer walls, while single towers split the length of the wall that he could see. The roadway's design ensured that no one could ride to the gate at speed, and any who approached would be in bow range the entire time. It was said that four men could defend that gate for a year if they didn't run out of arrows. He believed it.

They slid back down the bank of the cutting and as they scrambled across the streambed, he lost his footing. Bryn grabbed his arm. "Careful Llaswyr! I'm not going to carry you back. How long d'you think it'll take us?"

"Too blasted long." They were a half-day's ride from where the rest of his unit was camped. Sergeant Talin hadn't been happy when he'd announced that he was going to take Lieutenant Bryn on a scouting mission; he'd be less happy when they ... "Wait! You do still have the treaty don't you?" Bad enough that he'd lost the gem shipment bound for Iostyn along with two horses, failing to deliver the treaty to Lady Glasyn would really put paid to any hope he had of forgiveness. In his mind's eye, he could see his father's angry glare.

Bryn's jaw dropped, then he clenched his teeth, sucked in a breath and looked distinctly uncomfortable. And then he grinned, patted his chest and tossed a malformed salute in Llaswyr's direction. "Right here, Captain. I do follow orders sometimes y'know."

Llaswyr shook his head, rolled his eyes and said, "You're a krell, you know that?"

"And you're a sheep-poking --"

"Now! It was only the once." The long-standing joke between them. He ducked the fist that swung toward him, "Come on, 's go. You can take the rear."

"I still think we should have gone straight to Iostyn. This Rhynissa diversion is ... well it's just that, isn’t it? A diversion. Face it my friend, your time's up."

But he didn't want to face it, and if he was honest Bryn was right. He shouldn't have taken the treaty from the messenger, but Rhynissa was not that far from their track. Even now, if nothing else went wrong, they'd get to Iostyn by First Night Eve. Probably. Possibly. And he needed time to think up a reason why the gem shipment was missing. The truth wouldn't do.

Bryn's voice behind him, "I'll bet you ten dramels we'll get back before midnight."

"You think we're going to stroll?" Llaswyr squinted at the sky, "Make it sun down and you're on. That is, if you can keep up with me."

As he set off at an easy lope, he thought he heard Bryn swearing under his breath. But he might have been wrong.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Who left the door open?

Man it was cold here today! And I don't do cold! I'm a hot-house flower (lived in Arizona for a couple of years, temps above 110 F suit me just fine) and when it barely creeps above freezing, I hibernate. Not a good thing. At least it was sunny.

I'm still thinking about my new scene. Glasyn, my antagonist, hasn't liked any of the ideas I've come up with. She's showing her displeasure by refusing to talk to me. So it's back to the drawing board again. Maybe a good night's rest will help... if only I could get one:-)

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy 2008!

Happy New Year! I hope it brings everything you wish.
I took a long hard look at Chapter 16 today. I knew it had problems but I had no idea what they were until now. I have one scene that is in the wrong point of view entirely! And that's great news! Why? Because I get to spend some more time with my antagonist. When I started this story I didn't know her, and it took a long time for us to get on speaking terms. Now I love her almost... but not quite... as much as my protagonist. She's huge fun to write about. So tomorrow I'll start the rewrite and aim to have the whole chapter done by the end of the week. This is the last chapter, and I have a bit more work to do on the wrap-up scene, but in all it's pretty much there. I'm excited and sad at the same time. I have to let these people go out into the cold, hard world of publishing and find their own way. That won't be pleaseant, and the thought of querying agents is daunting, but I have to do it. From next week this blog should be more about that process and less of my struggles to get this WIP in shape. Oh to be sure there's still more polishing to do, but I'm going to start the query process regardless. Wish me luck!