the eaves drip

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Rained last night. This morning the grass is damp, the eaves drip, desiccated leaves stick to the soles of my ballet slipper flats. I walked around the yard hoping to spot Loki’s red tag but no luck.

She caught the bracelet collar on something, managed to pull free but it unhooked and her tag fell off somewhere. Luckily I’ve got the tag from her first vaccinations with the National ID number on it so I’ll keep that one secure.

I’m in that empty head state that descends once I’ve finished a major writing endeavor like Nano but I don’t like to drift so last week I did setting development work on A Fall of Diamonds and yesterday I read over the short story I finished in October to see how to improve it.

Alabama’s winter weather shifts every day. Some days are cold, a roustabout wind hisses about the house, some days a thunderstorm shakes us and furious rain beats down, and some days outside is humid, no breeze at all, just warm, still air.

Saturday frost slicked my car’s roof and Tuesday dawned warm and misty. The pecan tree is just about bare of leaves and the squirrels have moved out for the winter.

Today I’m going to run that short story through my mind again. Maybe it doesn’t need much more work, but I’ll see. There are a few things that need doing. It has a January 31st deadline for the anthology so I expect to have it ready to go soon.

I’m planning 2017’s writing agenda. I have two stories out right now and my fingers and toes are crossed. They’re both good pieces. I’ve got a personal essay to submit too but have to go over it, make sure it’s properly polished before winging it to the chosen publication, and in January for sure I’ll be back working seriously on the second draft of  A Fall of Diamonds.

My Christmas gifts are all mailed off, 12 more days–Merry Christmas!

 

in her dress of lifeless jewels

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October has So Cal in a hot daze, swaddled in uncharacteristic humidity, temps in the eighties and nineties. October is Nano prep month so I set aside The Bone Box and started preliminary work on The Serene Widow, the Regency romance I’ve been wanting to write for a long while now that I decided would be the Nano book this year, changing my mind once again from my original 5X5 writing plan.

The Bone Box, silent for the past weeks, started whispering to me again, resulting in 1,254 new words and a small advance in the word count. I’m relieved to know that the story is still alive and kicking. Sometimes it’s hard to reconnect when I’ve let a project lie for a while. I’m almost to the halfway point.Isabella.Pot of Basil

I’ve decided not to sign up for Nano because in November I’m off to Europe with friends and writing 7 pages a day while touring might happen when I have down time, but highly unlikely to be consistent and I don’t need the stress. Being stressed when one is on a fabulous trip defeats the purpose. Life is a journey and I plan to smell as many roses as possible.

This will be the first year in 7 that I’ve skipped Nano. I’m taking Viking’s Cities of Light river cruise (I love river cruises!) and I leave for Paris mid-November.  I could see how much of The Serene Widow I get done by then, but I don’t expect to reach 50,000 words since I’m not back until November 30. No worries. One of the advantages of the writing life is being your own boss.

However I’m going to work like a dog desperate to find the buried bone to complete The Bone Box by October 31st! Yeah that’s in two weeks. Life’s an ongoing challenge. It would be an absolute kick to finish by the end of this month!

Meanwhile, I revised a short story, The Obelisk, and got back a submitted story, Parting Gift, which I’m going to revise before sending it out again. And oh my goodness, I still have not sent out Dust! That will not do, Bear.

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yesterday

Benedictine Cemetery, Salzburg, Austria

Saturday friends and I did a “Write-In on the Rails” day trip to Oceanside on the MetroLink train #660. We brought our laptops and as the 660 zipped past California’s wild ravines and hillside homes overlooking the cold, gray Pacific, we each worked on our individual projects. I completed a new scene in The Foreigner and worked on the outline for The Bone Box, a horror novella I hope to start writing soon.

The plan was to catch a morning train, meet in one of the cars to work, have lunch in Oceanside and catch an early afternoon train back to our respective homes. And it almost worked out that way but for a tragedy on the tracks.

In Oceanside. we made our way to Master’s for lunch in a gaggle of umbrellas, shielding ourselves from the drippy sky. After lunch, it was back to the train for the homeward run. Shortly after we boarded and pulled out of Oceanside, a man committed suicide, stopping his car on the track in front of the oncoming, southbound train, right in front of dozens of people. Suicide is a heartbreaking act in so many ways. I’ll spare you all the details, but let me say, we spent hours and hours, the rest of the day mostly at a standstill on the track, unable to go anywhere because of the ongoing investigation of the suicide and the resulting train congestion.

During the run down, I took a moment to check my e-mail, found a message from Black Fox Literary Magazine accepting my short short story, Crossing, for publication in the Summer issue, online July 27! I’m thrilled. Crossing was so very short, I didn’t know what to do with it and left it in my files until I decided recently to give it a chance and send it out. To my surprise, it found a home.

I’ve been crazy busy and have not had time to write my next post about my Danube cruise, Vienna. It doesn’t help that I’ve misplaced my travel journal with my notes! (sigh) As soon as the dust settles, and I hope I find my travel journal, I’ll get back to it. Besides Vienna, there’s Bratislava, Slovakia’s capitol, and Budapest (the crown jewel of my trip) left to write about.

The photo is the cemetery of the Benedictine monastery in Vienna.

 

wobbly

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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

WORK IN THE HOPPER

  • 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.

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.