rainfall

Ohwhat'sthatinthehollow.edwardroberthughes

In the Hollow, Edward R. Hughes

My writing projects have kept me busy. I try to be productive, but I’m more like the squirrel on the wheel—running, running…not getting anywhere.

Quarter 4 Status Report (so far)

Worked hard on Possessed, (3rd draft) but ran into a block and set it aside for a bit. Figured out the block, but have not had a chance to get back to the manuscript—too many distractions. Will get back to it in December, I think.

Had a short story rejected. Bleh.

Had a proposal rejected. Bleh.

Revised another short story, but it’s still sitting in its folder, and sketched out another short story, but have not written it. Still ruminating on it.

Received back beta comments on my gaslamp murder mystery novella, but have not reviewed them yet.

Had another short story rejected. Bleh.

Summary

October was a patchwork quilt of writing work with only minor success in making progress. November looks like the dreary dumps. (Skipped NaNo this year.) December—maybe Possessed.

On the upside…

Enjoyed reading White Oleander by Janet Fitch. Beautiful writing, engaging characters, compelling story.

Took an excellent workshop, Writing the Romantic Novella, taught by Catherine Chant

The painting above by Pre-Raphaelite artist, Edward Robert Hughes, reflects my mood this month perfectly.

 

bats and pumpkins

maxfield-parrishlanterns

October 23, 2019

Chilly this morning, but turned warm and sunny in the afternoon. Winter is gradually settling over southeastern Alabama, trading off with the dying days of the summer season. The summer heat, temps in the nineties, hung on until late September. Now we’ve got cold mornings, warm afternoons, and sometimes chilly, sometimes warm nights. My garden is sprouting cool weather brassica–swiss chard, cabbage, kale, romaine and butter lettuces, and my writing is drowning me in weeds and brambles, but I’m pushing through. I’ve been buried in words and paper for most of the year and have neglected the blog, not so much because of the writing as my indecision on whether or not to keep it. If I keep it, I’m planning to revamp it into something else other than a writer’s journal. We’ll see.

Yesterday I spent all day on a manuscript that started off as a paranormal romance but has morphed into a paranormal suspense. I received a rejection for a short story–oh well–and have two projects hanging fire on my Kanban board. I’m not doing NaNo this year–need a stress-free November, but I do have a November project that I’ll be writing. NaNo free doesn’t mean work free. Maybe I’ll take December off. I say that every year, but it doesn’t happen. If I’m not writing, I’m lost.

Maybe it’s just because it’s October with November jump-scaring at the gate, but I’ve got a hankering to write a ghost story. I’ve written two already, but they’re not spooky enough, darn it! Worse, I’ve no idea for another, but my mind keeps pushing the urge so I’ll be spending some time looking at moody images at Pinterest and hope something sparks.

 

missing the scary

T

The Death of the Gravedigger, Carlos Schwabe

One thing I’ve noticed in recent horror fiction is the lack of scare. The horror is present but it’s not as visceral as horror fiction used to be, not as scary. What’s being published is good,  that is well-written, but I’m not getting that gut-deep intuitive fear that embeds itself in my consciousness while reading recent horror fiction. These days I see more scare in the crappy horror movies being produced by the streaming networks than I find in fiction, and by the way, what’s with the saturation of body horror movies on these networks? They’re not scary either; they’re just gross and disgusting and I refuse to watch them, but it’s sometimes unavoidable since body horror also pops up in other horror films. 

When I say scary, I’m thinking Stephen King-Peter Straub-Ramsey Campbell scary. I love a good chill-inducing when you’re alone story, and while I’ve read some good horror fiction over the past years, I’m missing the scary. 

On the writing front, the YA collaboration novel is still in progress, and I had a horror flash fiction published in the Charmed Writers 2019 Flash Fiction anthology. Yesterday I brainstormed a ghost story. I’m a pantser at heart, although it hasn’t served me well over the years.  Even though I only had a character and an idea to go on, I wrote an opening paragraph anyway, a good one too, but I don’t know where the story’s going to go from there. I’ve written about 25, maybe 30, (not sure since I haven’t counted them) short stories so I do manage to find my way to the end. 

I’ve tried to plan my novels so I won’t run into writing blocks, but it’s mostly a hybrid effort–some  outlining, some pantsing, depends on how much I already have in my head. I try to lay out the major action and hope to discover the fine details along the way.

Need to get started on today’s work. This week I edited my contemporary romance, Runaway Heart, and another horror short story, Dead, Baby! Both are on the cooling off shelf for the next couple weeks. 

Today I’ll work on the new ghost story, and I might take a look at the finished draft of my fantasy historical, A Fall of Diamonds, to see what I’m thinking.

Happy writing!

giving up

BurgundySunflower

Burgundy sunflower from my garden–a nice surprise.

The subject title is a little clickbait-ish, but it’s sorta true. I’m giving up discipline, except for one thing. I’m tired of fighting the battle of having a writing schedule because I so often don’t keep the appointment I’ve made with myself. Either I’m still doing other stuff when the appointed time rolls around, stuff I can’t just drop and race to my desk, or something else gets in the way. I make it to the desk, but I’m always late. I don’t want to be late. Once in a while I’m on time, but it won’t happen every day. If this were a salaried job, I’d be fired for tardiness.

The one exception to making sure I write daily is the YA book collaboration agreement  I’m in with two other writers and that book does have a due date so no fooling around. But as for my other novel projects–omg. There’s too many of them–finished and in need of rewriting and editing or unfinished and in need of completion. I made a list. There’s 15 viable ones, 8 finished and 7 unfinished. I’m not counting the stories in my file cabinet with not much done on them beyond notes and a page or two of a beginning. (Sigh)

So I’ve decided whichever one of those fifteen speaks the loudest to me each day–and they all chatter at me like a room full of talky cats–that’s the one that I’ll work on that day for however long it shouts at me. If it shouts at me long enough, I’ll finish it. Not that day of course, but in time.

Here’s the list:

Finished (needs editing/rewriting/polishing)

  • A Fall of Diamonds (Angharad fantasy series)
  • A Useful Blind (Steampunk murder mystery)
  • The Bone Box (Horror novella)
  • Errors of Choice (Contemporary)
  • Loose Daddy (Literary)
  • Possessed (Dark Paranormal Romance)
  • Runaway Heart (Contemporary Romance)
  • Shadow Walk (Dark Fantasy/Horror)

Unfinished

  • A Haunting of Roses (Angharad fantasy series)
  • A Lamentation of Swans (Angharad fantasy series)
  • Chained (Fantasy Historical Romance)
  • Death of a Young Woman (Contemporary)
  • The Foreigner (Literary Fantasy)
  • The Friendship Killers (Thriller)

When I enter my office, I’ll write, whatever the time and for however long, depending on what I’m doing–writing, editing, rewriting, researching. Going to stop wrestling with the clock.

Sunflower

#PleaseSayYes Review

PleaseSayYes

#PleaseSayYes by Tari Lynn Jewett is a delightful read. When Lucy wakes up to a message from a mysterious admirer on Framed, her favorite social media site, her quiet life turns topsy-turvy in the whirlpool of romance tagged through social media. Lucy at first dismisses the secret admirer she considers a stalker, or at the very least a prankster, but with the world clamoring for her to say yes to a Valentine’s Day date, she’s torn–should she throw caution to the wind and go for a chance for love or should she wait for a proper romance with a serious man? After all, it could just be a joke and she doesn’t need that kind of disappointment. A fun and cute story, #PleaseSayYes will leave you smiling.

writing cruise

St. Maarten

Last October I signed my first book contract, a collaboration with two other writers. To kickoff the project, in March, we went on a ten-day writing cruise to the Caribbean, my first time visiting that part of the world. I loved it!

We sailed out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, March 3, on a lovely Saturday on Royal Caribbean’s Harmony of the Seas and arrived at St. Maarten three days later. I usually take river cruises with Viking. This was my first time on an ocean cruise and I was anxious about it–the ocean scares me; all that water and not a stick of land in sight, not to mention I’ve had a lifetime of ocean nightmares, but on a city-size cruise ship, you forget you’re on the ocean. I took a break from the writing and left the ship to snap a few photos. Didn’t take a water taxi to the town though, we were only there for a couple hours.

More to come…

january

January, the month of two faces, one looking to the future, one looking back to the past. To the ancient Romans, this month is of beginnings and endings, a duality of promise and what has gone before. For me, it’s a continuation of my writing life, a double strand of the past and the future.

My projects for the first quarter:

Project #1: I’ve returned to writing the fantasy novel that’s been knocking about in my head for a long time, A Lamentation of Swans, poor thing has spent several years in the dark of a bin under my desk while I dithered between fear of pulling it out and starting over and guilt for not having written it yet. I’m 9,900 words in and both of us are smiling.

Project #2: Errors of Choice, my 2017 NaNo novel, is finally feeling the heat of the editing lamp. It was Project #1 for the first quarter, but I moved it down a slot. I’ve edited 41 pages so far, or roughly 10,000 words of the 50,000.

Project #3: Can’t say anything about that right now, but it’s exciting news!

Meanwhile, this month, I watched three good horror films, Hereditary (occult horror, the ending appalled me, but I thought it top-notch horror the way horror used to be), The Kovak Box, (psychic terror horror) and Annihilation (science fiction horror; liked it very much).

Happy writing!