the rising water of dream

Boreas_Waterhouse

 

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.

 

pretty on paper

steampunk-butterfly2-kelly-berry Steampunk Butterfly, Kelly Berry

Finished Dust yesterday, 8,014 words, 35 pages. I love the story, think it turned out well, and I was so happy to find the end. I’m letting it cool before going over it again. I expect to do a fair amount of editing because I’ve got a fair amount of unnecessary verbiage, some redundancy, and it needs polishing too. I’m looking forward to the job. Word crafting and sentence polishing are two of my favorite writing tasks. This phase is also where I get deeper into the character and also improve setting details.

April 11 is the annual Literary Orange Conference–looking forward to that. Anne Perry was supposed to be a featured speaker, but looks like maybe not. The site says her appearance “cannot be confirmed at this time.” Oh well.

I signed up for Camp Nano. The plan is to write my vampire romance, Romancing the Night. Right now it stands at 6,284 words. The goal is 50,000 by April 30, and it is this  month’s project at RWA’s The End competition, where you have to write at least 2000 words a month during the year.

Also on the agenda is finishing the third rewrite (officially) of my horror novel, Shadow Walk, which has languished for a long time.

And then there’s the coming week’s short story challenge. I’ve set a goal of writing one short story each week for the month of April. One down, four to go. Looks like I’m going to be a writing fool in April! May will be a whole new round. My ultimate goal this year is to greatly improve my production. Let’s see–what else have I got in development …

  • A Lamentation of Swans, fantasy
  • A Useful Blind, steampunk western mystery
  • Chained, fantasy romance
  • The Foreigner, fantasy
  • Tempting Fate, fantasy romance
  • The Friendship Killers, contemporary thriller
  • The Seventh Queen, fantasy historical (brand, brand new)

Today is another golden So Cal day. Such a treasure!

2015!

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!

2015 GOALS, DREAMS & RESOLUTIONS

  • 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

DREAMS

  • Establish Penpanther Publishing 

RESOLUTIONS

  • 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

OTHER AGENDA ITEMS

  • 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

2014 ASSESSMENT

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).

JANUARY

  •  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

FEBRUARY

  • 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

 MARCH

  • 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

APRIL

  • 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

MAY 

  • 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 

JUNE

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

 JULY

  • 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

AUGUST 

  • Worked on Lake of the Rose

SEPTEMBER

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

 NOVEMBER

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

 DECEMBER 

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

what i’m sick of

Astarte.Canty

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.

Forward!

long time silence

Astarte.Canty

I’m back for a hot minute! Should blog more often but hey you’ve got to have something to say, right?

I’ve been caught up in writing Sleight of Hand, and, by the way, it has a new title, A Useful Blind, weighs in at 14,690 words. The second revision edits are finished and I’m about to launch into the third and, I hope, final revision and edits. I like both titles, but I think the new title speaks better to the story. Had a successful reading at last Saturday’s writers group meeting too. The weather this past week has been all blue and gold, hot, sunny days–summer’s back!

Also I’ve got a great vampire essay planned, have written the introduction and now wrestling with how to get into the heart of the question: do vampires have souls? I’m thinking I may end up writing a series of essays–there is so much material and ideas have been popping up and waving. The essay is entertaining, informative, and plain fun to write! I hope it’ll be fun reading too!

And I recently rejoined RWA. I belonged to the Orange County chapter years ago. Since I’ve got Romancing the Night and Chained on my agenda, both of them vampire romances, I decided to reconnect. The OCC RWA is a terrific group of writers and the meetings are always a kick!

This coming week I’ll be working on:

  • A Useful Blind, steampunk murder mystery
  • Dust, dark fantasy short story
  • Chained, fantasy romance
  • the Vampire essay
  • Beat sheet and story notes for The Foreigner

 

Not sure if I’ll get to all those things, but as a friend said, set your goals high and you won’t fall short.

 

the night circus

russia-st-basils_6026_600x450

Reading The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and liking it very much. The story is shaped like a jewel with many facets, sparkling at every turn. Had some difficulty with the pacing at first, and put it down for a while, but recently went back to it and the beautiful writing has kept me reading. The book is a marvelous fantasy.

I’m nearly finished with my second revision of Sleight of Hand. I’m delighted at having figured out a new ending, much better than the one I’d written before. But, unfortunately, I’ve let my Camp Nano project go, deciding I didn’t need the pressure so Romancing the Night remains on my agenda, but I’ll be working on it at my own leisurely pace.

My focus is on completing Sleight of Hand and getting it ready for publication.

one sentence at a time

Slide1

The leaves of the basil are incandescent with sunlight, the pot sits in the bathroom window, and I sit facing the start of Romancing the Night for Camp Nano. One sentence at a time, I tell myself. I’m aiming for 1000 words each session. Don’t know if I’ll make it, but one sentence at a time is like one step forward on a long path. I don’t expect to finish the novel this month; I’m not aiming for 50,000 words like in November. At first I thought I’d try to finish it this month, but no, too much stress–instead I want to write 5 chapters and get the story engine rolling. So, 5 chapters, one sentence at a time. One of the nice things about Camp Nano is it’s a free-for-all writing journey and you can do what you want.

I want also to continue writing the vampire essay. I’ve got it started, but have not worked on it in over a week. And then there’s Sleight of Hand in revision hell, 16,406 words.

I’m reading Deborah Harkness’ marvelous A Discovery of Witches, sighing with envy at the beautiful writing and the entrancing story.

Must get on with it–hoping for a good day.