the rising water of dream



A taciturn sky these past few days, a little sunlight breaking the sallow wash of gray now and then. Rain is predicted. April is like a melancholy woman from a Belgian Symbolist poem. Despite that, I’m basking in the light of having finished Runaway Heart. Now comes the hours of rewrite and revision, but I’m not fearful this time.

Meanwhile, while Runaway Heart cools,  I’ve returned to another story, completed in 2014, and in need of a rewrite, A Useful Blind. I describe it as a steampunk murder mystery set in the late 19th century American West. I guess that’s an  accurate description, but the steampunk element so far has been no more than set dressing. I hope to improve that in the rewrite.

The story has a number of plot holes that need to be mended and smoothed into the fabric of the narrative. Intended to be a short story, I think now it’ll end up a novella, although I don’t know where in the word count spectrum it’ll fall. It’s currently at 16,976 words. Novella starts at 17,500 and ends at 40,000. Don’t think it wants to be 40,000 words (according to one chart I found), but who knows how many words finding the end will take.

Meanwhile, again, simultaneity being the spice of everyday living, that great big non-writing thing known as life is happening. I’m in the midst of buying a house in Alabama and in a few more months will be leaving Southern California for a town in Alabama where my life will certainly move at a different pace. I’m originally from Louisiana so the South will hold no surprises for me, but I expect there will be some culture shock, having lived a long time in sunny SoCal. There will be things I’ll miss. There will also be things I will not miss–like traffic stress, the ever-rising cost of living, the impossibility of purchasing a home in a decent neighborhood, the irritating California legislature (you don’t want to know my opinion) and the crush of people that has kept me from visiting many of the charms and entertainments of the Golden State, especially living close to Los Angeles, but not close enough to deal with the insanity of the northbound 405 in search of fun or likewise, the southbound, and horrors to Betsy, practically never the 5, and never mind the 91. I’ve sprouted gray hairs on the 91.

Life is about change, and as a girl who spent her growing up years moving from state to state and country to country as an Air Force kid, I adapt easily.

I shall greatly miss my friends who are dear to me, but fortunately today’s technology conquers distance. I shall miss my writing groups and my yearly attendance at the wonderful Literary Orange Conference, but I spent many years writing alone, and again, technology makes it possible to participate from my solitary chair.

Well I’ve got to stop now. I’m tearing up.


weeds and daisies

The Palace Guard.Gerome

The Palace Guard, Gerome

Down to a couple boxes of manuscripts now. Time to think about my writing schedule. First up is The Bone Box, still in planning stage. Have lots of story notes and a corkboard scene layout in Scrivener. Ideas are still coming, weeds and daisies. The Bone Box is this year’s Nano book. I want to be ready when November gets here.

I’ve cleared the deck, all moved in, all unpacked 99% with just those last couple boxes of manuscripts to organize. All my novel files are now in the Cloud, but I’ve got 2 boxes of paper to clear. Paper, paper, paper–makes me crazy.

And then —

  • Want to finish my Danube Waltz cruise posts
  • Want to find a market for Terrible Thing, again (Dust is out seeking a home, finally)
  • Want to re-plot A Useful Blind (finished, but it’s a hot mess)
  • Want to think about The Redemption of Cainan
  • Also, my Regency, The Serene Widow
  • And there’s: A Fall of Diamonds
  • And: A Lamentation of Swans
  • And a new short story

In my head this list is longer.




Beautiful outside, sunny and warm, and with a nearly cold wind blustering through the palm trees to keep the heat under control. I’m preparing for a trade show, the World Tea Expo at the Long Beach Convention Center. I’ll be an exhibitor. Took 3-1/2 days of my time last week and I wrapped  up the final details today. This is my first time doing a trade show and I had no idea about all the logistical details that go into it, but I know them now. The Expo opens Wednesday and closes Friday. So little writing done last week and there will be be none this week, except for what I might manage today. Tuesday is move-in day for my booth.

I’ve finished Dust, found a market, but can’t let it go yet. Want to give it one more pass, and then I’ll shoot the engineer. I’ve printed out 90 pages of the Shadow Walk novella; it’s roughly finished, but far from ready to wing away.

Michelle and I had our monthly accountability and writing meeting. I restructured a chapter of The Foreigner. I’d like to work more on it. It’s a good novel.

Since the writing will be down for the week, where am I with things:

  • Crossing, short-short, submitted
  • Edited Dust, 5000 words, ready for submission
  • Shadow Walk, horror novella, rewritten and restructured, about 36,000 words (restructured from 50,000-word novel manuscript)
  • Romancing the Night, stalled novel, 6,565 words
  • A Terrible Thing, short story, submitted
  • Shadow, horror short story, published, The Horror Zine
  • Runaway Heart, novel, in progress
  • Chained, fantasy novel, a little bit of work done on it
  • Attended Literary Orange Conference
  • Attended IndieReCon, online conference


  • The Foreigner, fantasy novel
  • The Red Goddess, sword and sorcery short story
  • A Useless Blind, steampunk mystery
  • The Friendship Killers, novel
  • Vampire article
  • Non-fiction project: writing workshop

There I be.


N08542-52-lr-1A week into the new year and I’m home in bed with a stomach bug. But the nasty pains have subsided momentarily enough for me to think. Must greet this new writing year with my goals. But first a shout out to Becky Lang. Her first novel is at Amazon: The Changelings. Congratulations, Becky!


  • Write Book In A Year (RWA challenge) – will write 2 actually:  Runaway Heart, a contemporary romance, and Tempting Fate, a fantasy romance
  • Rewrite A Useful Blind
  • Participate in Nanowrimo – November Novel 2015
  • Research and write next vampire essay
  • Finish short story, Dust
  • Write one blog post a month
  • Danube River Cruise – June 2015


  • Establish Penpanther Publishing 


  • I resolve to make weekly writing goals. 
  • I resolve to write every day except Friday:  Saturday and Sunday – writing days and Monday – Thursday – write for 30 minutes each evening after work


  • Renew RWA membership
  • Writing Saturday meeting – First Saturday of the month
  • Little Fictionaires meetings
  • Attend 2015 Literary Orange Writers Conference

Projected Quarterly Goals for 2015

January, February, March 2015 – 1st Quarter

  • Finish writing Runaway Heart as soon as possible
  • Continue with Tempting Fate

April, May, June 2015 – 2nd Quarter5

  • Write Tempting Fate
  • Attend Literary Orange 2015
  • Danube River Cruise
  • Plan vampire essay

July, August, September 2015 – 3rd Quarter 

  • Rewrite A Useful Blind
  • Finish writing short story, Dust

October, November, December 2015 – 4th Quarter 

  • Plan November Novel – October
  • Write November Novel – Nano 2015 – November
  • 2016 agenda – December


It was a raggedy year writing-wise; didn’t get much done at all, most of my plans remained on paper, but there were a few successes. I was especially happy with writing The Dark Angel’s Dilemma, the kick-off essay of a series of vampire essays I pan to do. It was good to finish another draft of A Useful Blind (formerly Sleight of Hand).


  •  Began the year with A Fall of Diamonds, a fantasy historical. Story planning and development. Recorded total of 14 hours work time, although I did much more, forgot to keep track. Wrote 4,936 words. Total ms. @ 26,297.
  • Finished discovery draft of Sleight of Hand, a mystery short story, 14,190


  • Edited and revised Sleight of Hand, Word count: 14,725.
  • Organization work on A Lamentation of Swans
  • Romancing the Night. Manuscript total: 2,499 words
  • Worked on Chained, story notes. Revised Manuscript total: 20,712. (2008 NANO)
  • Attended Publishing and Marketing Your Book, Sonia Marsh, El Toro Library


  • 2-day self-designed writing workshop on Chained. 8,431 words.
  • Began drafting “Soul-less Perhaps” for pendrifter. Vampire essay.
  • Expanded Romancing the Night. 2,392 words.
  • Sleight of Hand 2nd round edits/revision
  • Wrote review of Indelible Beats
  • Signed up for Camp Nano, for 4/1. Project: Romancing the Night
  • Attended Little Fict meeting


  • Attended Literary Orange Conference, 4/5/14
  • Dropped Camp Nano but continued writing Romancing the Night
  • Sleight of Hand edits, 14,717 words
  • Placed Romancing the Night on hold


  • Sleight of Hand retitled A Useful Blind, 14,600 words. Finished.
  • Indio Retreat. Worked on A Useful Blind edits
  • Dust, 2836 words
  • Submitted Parting Gift short to Everyday Fiction
  • Chained, 19,418 words
  • Lake of the Rose story notes
  • Worked on The Foreigner
  • RWA meeting, 5/10
  • Huntington Library meeting w/Michelle, Quarterly Progress Report 


  • Finished A Useful Blind edits
  • Story notes: Chained
  • Writing Retreat: Los Angeles Public Library. Worked on Chained


  • Published blog, vampire essay, The Dark Angel’s Dilemma
  • A Useful Blind edits
  • Completed insurance study and took California Insurance Licensing exam. Passed.
  • RWA meeting
  • Completed editing Ch. 11, 12, 13 of Becky Lang’s The Changelings


  • Worked on Lake of the Rose


  • Retitled Lake of the Rose to The Friendship Killers. 17,729 ms. Total.
  • Rewriting A Useful Blind


  • NaNo: A Useful Blind, 50454 words.
  • Continued writing short horror story: Dust


  • Writing Dust. 7312 words 
  • Blog posts: 34
  • Monthly accountability meetings w/Michelle
  • Little Fictionaires meetings
  • RWA meetings

word stalker


Roca_del_jardín_de_las_delicias_El_Gran_MasturbadorFinished Nano yesterday. A Useful Blind weighed in at 50454 words, half of which will be going away for sure. It was touch and go for a while, didn’t think I’d finish this year, but perseverance paid off. The weather is autumn-cool today. Sky full of giant cumulus clouds backlit by the hidden sun, and the air is cold, sharpened by the breezes. Looks like winter is trying to settle in, but in Southern California you can’t be sure about the season. Rain is predicted this week. Made a pot of turkey soup with orange and yellow carrots, a diced potato, onion, a touch of garlic, and mushrooms. Perfect for a placidly  melancholy day. It came out delicious.

Working on Dust this afternoon. It’s at 7294 words (33 pages). I’m trying to figure out how to develop the story fully. I can see the pacing is off and the structure needs strengthening. My main worry is the action, rising it ain’t.

Reading Inferno, an anthology of terror and the supernatural, edited by Ellen Datlow. Found some jewels in it. Misadventure by Stephen Gallagher, Inelastic Collisions, Elizabeth Bear; The Monsters of Heaven, Nathan Ballingrud; 13 O’Clock, Mike O’Driscoll; Ghorla, Mark Samuels; Face, Joyce Carol Oates; The Keeper, P. D. Cacek. Not finished yet; there are 20 stories total.

Not planning on looking at A Useful Blind again until 2015.


what i’m sick of


Astarte by Canty

Before I get to that, I’ve finally hit upon a new blog name; dayya was only temporary. Penpanther is the blog’s new name.

And my Nanowrimo manuscript, A Useful Blind, stands at 39,704 words. I will be finishing on time. And then there’ll be one hell of a rewrite in 2015.

Now . . . what I’m sick of  . . . these are declarations to remind me that I am a writer, have always been a writer, and will always be a writer–it’s me through and through . . . if I don’t write, I’m lost. You know that anecdotal tale about burning the ships? Some tellings name Julius Caesar as the original guy who burned his ships upon invading Britain, other tellings name Hernan Cortes’ conquest of the Aztec Empire. In 1519 Cortes landed on the coast of a new land in the New World, he destroyed his ships and two years later conquered the Aztec Empire. For Cortes and his Spaniards, there was no giving up and no going back. I burned my ships, and I’m never going to surrender. But, like Danny Elfman’s “The Little Things” on the WANTED soundtrack, I’m sick of the little things.

  • I’m sick of everything getting in the way of me writing.
  • I’m sick of having to earn money doing everything but writing.
  • I’m sick of my unfinished manuscripts.
  • I’m sick of my lost days, days when I don’t write. And there’s far too many of those!
  • I’m sick of thinking about writing and not doing it.


blog’s got a new name


Not that I wasn’t fond of the name “pendrifter.” I remember doodling words until I came up with it, when I decided to start a writer’s blog ten years ago, but I received an offer on it–someone wanted to buy it. Not one to turn down money, I sold it! So baby needed a new name. My tag name,”Dayya,”  suits fine. I’m happy.  d:)

On a different note, I’ve got a few miscellaneous posts and 3 essays planned for the blog, one focuses on vampires, The Dark Angel’s Dilemma. I hope to have it up soon. I’m doing July Camp Nano and all my writing time is devoted to wrestling with the outline of my fantasy novel, Chained. It’s about a married vampire, a deal with a demon, chained souls, and breaking the deal–so far.

I sent A Useful Blind (formerly Sleight of Hand) out to betas and have comments back. My birthday was July 4th, and my best friend gave me Caitlin Kiernan’s The Ape’s Wife and Other Stories, which I’ve wanted for ages. My short story, Dust, may be lingering a while longer. Yes I’ll have another slice of procrastination pie!

blue bubbles

Black Forest 2

The past week has been suffocatingly hot–day and night; heat radiating off glass and concrete, falling from the gaping blue sky as if a great furnace door had swung open, and at night, relentless. The chance for sleep practically nil. But today, here near the beach, a cool fog has rolled in and this morning is beautifully fresh. A great relief, I’m sure, to all those for whom heat is a torture.

Last week I finished the third round of edits on A USEFUL BLIND, (formerly SLEIGHT OF HAND) but I’m not done yet. A fourth round waits in the wings.  Reading Susan Bell’s The Artful Edit; it’s illuminating, casting a great light on editing and revising. She quotes the poet Paul Valery, referring to the process of endless revision, who once said of his poems, “A poem is never finished; only abandoned.”

Lake of the Rose. Have made a number of good notes in planning this novel again. The draft I have is dreck. Now with the re-plan, I’ve decided on a better, stronger start, but I can’t begin writing it yet. I must determine the incidents; what happens in the story and see how the characters react. Right now Summer’s husband, Josh, is a handsome cipher, barely real in my mind. Summer’s grief at the loss of their baby, her second miscarriage, defines her somewhat for me. And there’s the antagonists, Dani and Vaughn. All charm; all evil intent. What do the innocent do when they encounter pure evil?