at least the pecan tree is budding green

I’m having another crisis of doubt about Runaway Heart. I don’t know if I should keep working on it (rewriting the finished first draft) or let it take its place in the failed novel club. Is it worth the work of a second draft when it keeps falling apart?

I keep running into trouble as I try to rewrite it. I’ve been writing it and A Fall of Diamonds on alternate days, devoting one whole day to each. Today is Runaway Heart, but I’m dragging my feet or rather not placing butt in chair and opening the file. I mopped the bathroom floor instead hoping that a mindless task would bless me with a way to go on writing it. The bathroom is clean and shiny; the manuscript is not.

Think I’ll let A Fall of Diamonds have today.



waterhouse_destiny.jgp54,939 words, Possessed. Thunderstorm last night, the flashing of sheet lightning startled me and Loki more than the sky-cracking thunder. Rained for maybe an hour, then the night quieted. First thing this morning, finished my manuscript review of Runaway Heart and moved onto getting words for Possessed, but only wrote 583, a new 3-page scene, something to build on. I would love to complete the novel by January 31 although I have the whole first quarter of the year to finish it. It will be a mess of course but writing is rewriting.

Finally understood how to structure Runaway Heart, so I’m feeling better about it, but Possessed has priority right now. I’ve set A Fall of Diamonds aside for a bit, but I want to get back to work on it as soon as I can.

I’m doing my best to maintain focus.



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.


stick a fork in it



Runaway Heart is done! Finished! Happy dance moment! It’s a first draft, but now I can breathe freely and revise at leisure. My self-imposed deadline was March 31, but buying a house knocked me sideways for a few days. Yesterday, while attending the Literary Orange Conference and waiting for a panel to start, I wrote the final lines to the final scene and typed them in this morning. Today is the official finish day. I just printed it out. One hundred forty-five pages–so it’s a novella (romance) at 34,530 words approximately. Yay!

It’s too early for a glass of wine so a cup of coffee and breakfast will do.

brass ring

Pieter Bruegel the Elder


Runaway Heart. 31,306 words. Almost there. Almost finished with the first draft. Looks like novella, and I’m fine with that. Think I’ll finish at 35,000, maybe more, but I’m in Act 3 and the ball is rolling to resolution.

I placed the non-fiction book, Writing Emotion: The Key to Writing Fiction That Sells on hold. I finished the first draft January 31. Then moved on to Runaway Heart because I really wanted to get the first draft done by March 31 but life stomped all over this week. Now I’m aiming for April 10. The extra days takes lightens the pressure.

Big changes are coming for me–bought a house and moving out of state. The word wrestle goes on but sometimes the ring is going to be empty, the brass bell silent.

No worries!

crumbling cookies


Goodness! Seems like ages since I posted anything. It’s not like I don’t have content to write but the current WIP(s) take all my time–guess that’s the way it should be. Once I get started on one of them, the hours of the day stack themselves. Before I know it, another day has come and gone without my writing the post I have on my mind.


  • I have not even finished all my travel posts or kept up with recording my progress here.
  • I’ve finished the first draft of Writing Emotion.
  • I submitted The Obelisk to market.
  • I’ve written over 20,000 words on Runaway Heart and then sliced away a good many. Must have this novella finished by March 31st so it’s got priority for the month.
  • I’ve finished the outline of A Fall of Diamonds. (This one’s careening through my mind like a runaway elephant, but can’t delve into the writing yet.)

Sean Coyne’s podcasts are keeping me going.