it is a monsooned malabar morning

This morning a warm wind blusters through the freshly-leaved branches of the pecan tree, the young leaves flutter, the squash plants lift and sway, boxed about by the wind, the lacy branches of the tree near the shed bob about, the birds call, the wind wooshes, the air is scentless. A dull light suffuses the sky, gray and sunless.

It’s seven o’clock. I’ve got my coffee, Trader Joe’s Monsooned Malabar, a gift from my best friend, there are no TJ’s in Alabama. I plan to write as much as I can today. Tomorrow I’ve a plot meeting via FaceTime. A Fall of Diamonds has been at rest for the past week. I’ve got plot issues I hope to resolve during the meeting.

I’m very happy about my progress with A Haunting of Roses, writing 3,215 words this week, but I want to hit a higher benchmark.



english_romanesque_ornament_2 copy

I’ve not looked at Sleight of Hand in several weeks. I seem to have lost my way with it. The completed draft rests on the top shelf of my desk, gathering dust. I have not forgotten about it yet I’m not inclined to pick it up and continue revising it. Today was absolutely gorgeous, a golden day, hot and sunny, the kind of day that attracts people to California. I managed to get a little sunshine, but mostly spent the day inside working on the vampire essay and I gave an hour to the start of a new beat sheet for the Gaius and Annasara story. I’ve decided to pull it out of A Lamentation of Swans and write it as a separate story, but I don’t want to get caught up in it yet so an hour is all the time I gave it, and I probably won’t look at it again this week.

I’ve got pages of notes for the vampire essay, but my thoughts on it remain unorganized right now. I finally came up with a working title for the vampire romance, Romancing the Night, finished the beat sheet and even created a cover for it, although I think I’ll get a professional cover artist for when it’s finally done and ready to be published.

Camp Nano starts April 1. I may sign up for it for Romancing the Night.




Astarte, book cover by Thomas Canty

Thomas Canty is one of my favorite fantasy artists. I love the book covers he does. I find them evocative and inspiring, and his technique of capturing texture and fabric blows my mind. Whole worlds are contained in a single cover illustration by Canty.

I’m in a tizzy about  A Fall of Diamonds, the new fantasy historical mystery romance I’m planning. Just looking at “fantasy historical mystery romance” is enough of an indication. Maybe drop “historical” and go with “fantasy mystery romance.” That gives the genre and cross-genre, and it seems less a mess. There is an intriguing mystery and a strong romance, but the romance isn’t the focus so maybe I shouldn’t say “romance.” That leaves “fantasy mystery.” Much cleaner. Well…we’ll see.

I’ve got it partly outlined. I need an outline for this novel because I want to know what I’m going to write, and with a mystery storyline and a romance storyline and the two of them crossing and intersecting, my head needs to be clear, the brain can’t be in a blither.

Right now I’m in the planning stage, and I don’t want to start writing until I feel the story coming together. When I hear the characters’ voices and have keyed into their thoughts, I’m close to ready. But not yet.

So my brain is spinning. Will spend today in planning hell–you know coming up with ideas and developing them into a compelling story is the hard part. All that thinking makes my head hurt and puts me in a tizzy.

where have the words gone?

Les Diabolliques.Barbey dAurevilly by Felicien Rops

Outside it’s a lovely, sun-bright day. Perfectly summer. I’m greatly tempted to take a walk, but I’m only two pages in on today’s writing, and I promised myself four. Yesterday was productive–1,748 words on Chapter 3 of Trail of Shadows. Nothing new on the Jerob Deal story or Jealous Wine, except I decided to dispense with a particular plot point in JW and simplify the storyline.

I always hit a point where all the words, all the story I’m thinking about, disappears, and I don’t know what to do. It’s frustrating. Yesterday I looked at the story from the villain’s point of view. That was very helpful and set things in motion again. Today it’s monkey mind. I think I’ll make a list of everything I know I need to write for the next two chapters. That ought to jog some words loose.

white hare two-step


Appreciate everybody’s kind words wishing me a good recovery. It’s working. I’m feeling much better. I’m not good at sitting around–well, lying around–with time hanging over me so as soon as I could get one thought to cling to another, I pulled out a couple pieces of short fiction and set to work.

I’m writing two short fantasy pieces: Jealous Wine, a murder mystery in a medieval fantasy setting, 6.129 words so far. Not sure how long it’ll be. I love it though. It’s set in one of my favorite fantasy worlds–old Angharad. My amateur detective serves the prince. He’s attempting to solve the sorcerous murder of a Prince’s Companion.

The other is untitled and is also a murder mystery set in the steampunk West. My main characters are an ex-Buffalo Soldier and a vampire who was once a Jesuit. 3,616 words so far. Not sure how long it’ll be either.

I’m not a mystery writer, but mystery plots make good stories and give me a fighting chance to defeat the doubt demons.

I’ve lost my fire for my novels for the time being, although I have been thinking of A Lamentation of Swans.



This had me snorting my coffee, a fine start to Saturday morning! I’ve been busy this past week with resurrecting my dead novel, Shadow Walk, declared dead a while ago, and who knows, it still might be, but I thought I’d poke around in its grave and see what I could discover. I went through the manuscript, moved some scenes around, and did some thinking. Now it sits on my desk in a neat stack of paper-clipped scenes. I have not yet fixed its flaws ’cause I have not figured out what they are, I just have this sense that the story’s broken, but hope springs eternal.

Today’s my writer’s group meeting and I plan to read from The Foreigner.