snakes & shivers


My great-aunt’s backyard, a thick expanse of spongy St. Augustine grass, led to the bayou, sloping into weeds, brambles, maypop vines, and mud full of all kinds of crawlies.

Once in a while I’d pick my way along the edge watching the deceptively sluggish Bayou Lafourche, hoping to glimpse a snake like the venomous water moccasin. I’m deathly afraid of snakes, and feared one would whip out of the water at me. Yet I’d peer into that brown water looking for one. And if I caught sight of a sinuous coursing, I’d stand repulsed and fascinated, and shiver as if a nest of spiders were crawling on me.

Yeah don’t know what I was thinking.

april progress

LaBacchante.Gerome   A bright and sunny Sunday outside, makes yesterday’s trouble with Shadow Walk seem minuscule, but still, after a week of wrestling with the story, I’m feeling frazzled and anxious. It’s the last day of Grand Prix weekend, could hear the furious buzz of racing cars from Shoreline all day yesterday. April’s progress so far . . .

  • Finished Dust, short story, draft was 8014 words, edited final 5743
  • Finished Werewolf, Zombies, Sunrise, short story, 1311 words.
  • April 5, attended Literary Orange Conference, Irvine. Excellent conference. Really enjoyed the “Modern Ficton” panel. Emily St. John Mandel was the morning speaker. Bought her book, Station Eleven, and got her autograph too. The afternoon speaker was Annabelle Gurwitch, actress, activist, and comedic writer.
  • Shadow, horror short story, published in The Horror Zine Summer Edition.
  • Revising and editing Shadow Walk, horror novella, at 28,152 words, (wrote 4,747 words this month so far)
  • April 15 – 17. Attended online IndieReCon 2015. My first time; great conference for independent publishing. Took pages and pages of notes from the many video seminars, learned much, saved a number of seminar blog posts too. Recommend it. Also, discovered writer Roz Morris
  • Started a new short story, working title, Brenda. Wrote 581 words.
  • Romancing the Night, vampire romance novel for April Camp Nano, stalled at 8049 words. Don’t think I’ll make it this time.
  • Prepared A Terrible Thing, horror short story, for submission. Second time.
  • Posted 7 blogs

Total words for April so far:  46,756.

Meditation on A Lamentation of Swans

Carnival of Harlequin.JoanMiro

Carnival of Harlequin, Joan Miro

I’ve got a monster in a box. It’s been in that box for several years and every so often I open the box and poke my head in, and then I pull it back all chewed and slobbered on, and close the box.

The head-chewing monster is my fantasy novel, A Lamentation of Swans. Every year I swear I’m going to get it written, but I don’t. I’ve worked on this book for a long time. It’s no longer the book I began originally, not quite the same, and I don’t really have a book yet. What I’ve got is a great premise poorly executed. The basic idea is good, but where to go with it? Where I’ve gone so far has led me nowhere. The book lies in a devastated country of words, its characters caught in a diaspora of failure.

I’ve decided to start over. Keep my main idea and develop it better. I’ll need more than one point of view. Two, I think, maybe three, though I’d rather keep it to the two characters who have the most going on–the inquisitor Rijjan Mira and the Chaelmaeca assassin, Ferrant. I’ve got a great premise, a fascinating society and compelling characters–how could I screw it up so badly?

Right now it’s confusing. Despite all that I’ve done, I still don’t know who the antagonists are nor what the big conflict is, nor the theme. I’ve got ideas, but nothing solid. Yet I’ve somehow managed to write 300+ pages. Good grief, Charlie Brown.

So I’m turning the box upside down and shaking the monster out into the light of day. No more head-chewing.




Rabbiting about this morning, on my second cup of coffee, caught up on my reading of Caitlin Kiernen’s blog journal. Outside it’s bright and sunny, but don’t know if it’s cool or warm ’cause have not poked my head out the door yet. Some days I’m content to imagine outside rather than experience it.
Today’s agenda is supposed to be:

– Work on Shadow Walk
– Write two pages on Romancing the Night
– Write the opening scene to a new Jerob and Rafael short story; the opening scene is all I have in mind at the moment–an ex-Buffalo Soldier and a vampire walk into a bar–well, saloon actually. I don’t mean for the story to be a joke, but that’s my take on the opening scene, gives me a peg to hang stuff on. It’s supposed to be this week’s short story.

If I could stop rabbiting about …

eight hours busy

The Mermaid.Study.Waterhouse This afternoon it’s cool and a breeze ruffles the leaves of the tree next door. The sky is patchy with gray clouds, looks like rain is on the way. Easter Sunday brought me an acceptance from The Horror Zine for my horror short story, Shadow, much to my delight. The Horror Zine, edited by Jeani Rector, has gained a fine reputation since it began in 2009, and I’m pleased to be in its pages for the second time. My first horror short story, Ghost of Roses, was in its first issue. Shadow will be in the Summer 2015 issue coming out in July. I just received the proof copy today and the artwork, as always, is excellent. Eight hours yesterday plus three more today, finished the first round of edits on Dust. In addition to taking it from 8014 words to a lean 5968, I’ll go over the manuscript one more time, then I’ll set it aside for a week to let it cool. Must carve out some time to rewrite the third act of Shadow Walk, and this time, I hope I’m successful with it. On top of that, this being the second week of April, I have to write a short story in keeping with my objective of writing one short story a week. It’s Tuesday and I’ve no idea what as yet. Also, I’m already behind on my Camp Nano novel, Romancing the Night. Not one new word added to the 6500 I’ve got or even any work done yet. Well, it’ll come.