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Archive for April, 2012

I have a koi sad :-(

I’ll begin by saying nothing my husband or I did today was the cause behind my “koi sad”.

We moved the koi into the new pond today. The Red Fans, the twins, were easy. This is them in the old pond. The two… well, red goldfish.

They co-operated. They swam into the bucket. Butter, who is a long-fin lemony yellow koi, swam into the bucket. But… koi are smart. They know wussup and don’t you ever think they don’t. They’re like puppies in that they’ll come to you, and cats in that they’re fucking smart as hell. Believe it.

Oberon, my lemon ogon, decided to swim into the bucket… and then play Alaskan Salmon and jump his happy ass out of the bucket. Five feet straight up in the air and *WHAMMO* down on the rocks.

I’m in the backyard at the time. I’ve never heard my husband yell the word “help” in the eight years I’ve known him. Until today. He’s freaked because he knows I love Obi. I carefully pick Obi up and ease him back into the bucket, checking for missing scales, blood, anything wrong. Nothing, but time will tell.

Oberon is the smallest of our traditional koi and he just jumped five feet in the air. Hoover is easily twice as long as Obi.

“We need a net. A big one.”

We move Oberon and Butter into the pond. This is them. Obi’s on top, Butter on the bottom. I was too worried about Obi to take a pic while they were in the tote, so this is them in the pond.

We tried to move another one (see Rosie’s Boyfriend below). He jumped ten feet, but landed in the pond, thank gods.

Mad dash for the store. I buy the biggest net they had. 

We net four of the fish still in the pond. Top three, left to right. Rosie’s boyfriend – he has no name, but his color reminds me of Rosie, Silver/white/black long-fin – he has no name, Habib – because when we got him he had a single orange dot on his head, which has now spread over his whole back. Bottom right would be Rosie. She’s a long-fin, kinda’ tye-dyed looking, hence her name.

*blink* – *check the pond – count – only two fish left in there* I look at the hubs. “We’re missing a fish.”

“No, we’re not. Wait. Are you sure?”

I carry a list of my koi in my wallet – don’t judge – all described in detail. Two left in the pond, four in the tote, four in the new pond.

“Dragon Boy/Loki and Hoover are the only ones left in the small pond. We’re missing a fish.”

“Who?”

“Little Hoover. And I just saw him the other day.”

We searched all the water plants we moved out, we searched all the bushes around the pond in case he jumped. We searched in the bottom of the pond under leaf debris for a corpse, a skull, something, anything. Nothing. And there was nothing I could do but look ten more times and just stop and go ahead and move Hoover and Loki in with their friends. I had to take care of them.

This would be them, in the tote. They get two pics because they’re divas like that. They’re so big. Hoover is around 1.5 feet and Loki isn’t that far behind. He just looks the same size as Hoover because of his fins. Loki’s nickname is Dragon Boy because he looks like a swimming flame.

~

At first, the Red Fans were showing everyone around. They got to go in first, so they knew all the best places. That came to and end as soon as Big Daddy Hoover joined the pond. He rules this pond, hands down. They schooled up, played follow the leader a lot, but then spread out and started exploring. Hoover finally shot off across the middle of the pond and everyone else followed behind him. He had to be the one to take the risk, after all. He’s the leader – they followed. They were happy.

I was sad.

Top middle, Hoover Jr.

He and Hoover came out of the same delivery, the one difference being Hoover became a monster and Jr., not so much. (Well, ok, wait. Hoover has a smaller head-splotch than Jr. did, so that’s how I tell them apart in pictures.) It made us so happy to see how much they’re enjoying their new home, but… Jr. wasn’t there to see this move, to feel their joy in having such a bigger, happier home. And we don’t know why. It makes… no sense. *sigh*

So… I have a sad. I’m extremely attached to my fish and not knowing what happened to Jr. is highly upsetting.

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“Come, Fairies…”

 “Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”

Yeats. *nod*

Just a brief update here. Since I threw down, and picked up, the gauntlet a few weeks back, I’ve added a few thousand words to the WIP and found some interesting moments of clarity.

I was not, in fact, forty pages from the end product. If I truly had been, I’d be announcing the completion now and not have just told you that I’ve added thousands of words. Deadline still looks good, though.

The whole “no disembodied body parts” rule that makes me flat insane? I don’t ever want to hear it again. One, it’s perfectly correct in that eyes do not wander across the street on their own – and so I shall correct every version of similar that I may. But, Two, that rule can also be broken when it just doesn’t make any fucking sense to say it any other way. I’m letting that go now. Buh-bye.

I recently downloaded a novel by an author that I respect on a level I probably can’t put into words, so I won’t try. The tale is engaging, well written – she even has a few eyes that wander, imagine that – and I’d still have changed at least four or five things about it if I had written it, myself. However, the way she wrote it just rocks my socks because while I feel she left blanks with her writing, my mind was able to fill in those blanks so well because of the rest of her writing. It was an interesting moment for me.

Someone recently read chapter one of my WIP (work in progress, for the non-writers) and pointed out a disconnect. I looked at Beta #1 and she shrugged. Beta #2 and I, both, just assumed the reader would make the connection. Beta #3 didn’t get it, and she’s a fairly smart cookie. Turns out, I’d actually spelled that scene out in a previous version and edited it down to allow the reader to do the math. So. I fixed it and it was pronounced good. Lesson: Trying not to insult the intelligence of your reader is great, but sometimes it’s ok to take your reader by the hand and actually lead them where you want them to go.

Final musing for the day? I fucking love my iPod. People ask writers all the time – where do you get your ideas? Part of my gauntlet was/is an outline on book two. I’m not even thinking about that this morning when, at 7am, I’m driving to the post office. I’m on my way to the day job, so I’m thinking about that, and I turn on the pod.

Dance The Night Away – Van Halen. Nice. Head-bobbin, car-dancin.

Dance With Me – Orleans.

*WHAMMO* How that wakes up a vampire, I’ll just have to leave you guessing until you meet him. But I now have chapter one, book two.

Life is good, people. Even when the Faeries – notice the different spelling – want you to quit playing with vampires and come play with them instead. I told them they’d have to wait their turn….

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I See Dead People

Writing/editing this morning. I know, right? Hey, I did say I was done fucking around. It takes serious planning these days to even get time to write, so I take it when I can get it. I did a lot of editing, even got in a few hundred extra words, but I’m having some trouble. Let’s see if this makes any sense.

I’m editing people who are now, as in these days, dead – or at least semi-dead, long story – and them being dead makes it hard to connect with them.

I’m pretty sure that I’ve explained before that this particular story I’m writing is a prequel of sorts. A tale known, but never actually put into words over the years. It includes characters who never had that spark of life that makes them real for me because when I introduced Lien to this world, most of these people were already dead and therefore have never seen a single page of life until now. Or, if they have, since the time of this story, they have died.

Damn, what a spoiler, eh? It’s been – damn, 1994. I don’t want to do the math again and make my brain hurt any worse – a long time since I’ve dealt with some of these people. You gotta expect that after that many years, someone is dead. Especially in this genre. Urban fantasy, in case anyone missed that tid-bit.

Yes, I kill my babies. Sometimes, the ones you least expect. Just ask Nia. George R.R. would be proud.

It’s not a whole lot of trouble, I’m just having to get used to one person all over again and several for the first time. I think it’s okay, but it sorta nags at me.

I have a feeling this thing is going back up on the wall in the War Room, if only one more time. And no, I still haven’t sat at that desk. May 1 looms and that’s when I hope to hand it off to Nia – if she’s still gonna hit this for me – and then start trying to figure out a synopsis and a query letter. Yay. Me.

It’s almost time for the hubby to wake up, at which point we go back outside to finish filter boxes on the koi pond project that just gets bigger every day. In the meantime, here’s something to listen to. This is the playlist, songs in order of their influence in the book. An Ordinary World. Just so you can have a taste of what’s going on in my head while I’m writing.

Ya know. If you wanna know.

 

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The idea for these types of mini-blogs was totally stolen from The Bloggess, but they say imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.

Work. Enough said.

Tourists. Fuckers. Today is the last day of Hell Week. Amen.

The most popular search term used to find this blog, and not just while I’ve been off doing things, but of all time!  Whale Cheese. Who searches that???

What we did yesterday! I started correctly finishing my husband’s sentences when he’d have a brand new idea about something in the yard. He kept telling me to stay out of his head. Then the last time he says, “Dammit, there’s enough of us in here, we don’t need you, too.”

“Well, my head is crowded and sometimes I need a vacation from these idiots, so I’m coming over.” Complete with tongue stuck out a him.

On to the pictures!

*shh* He doesn’t know I took this one.

That was yesterday morning around 10am. I had time to snap one shot before the day’s work began. That’s my hubby. 🙂 What he’s doing is using a hammer drill – read: HUGE FUCKING DRILL – to drill through the railroad tie and into the concrete below in order to secure the tie in place with rebar.  Then when the next layer went up, he’d drill from one tie to the next and sledge-hammer-bash in more rebar. Yeah, he is a bad-ass, thanks.

Note: My husband cut half his hair off. :-/ It was down to his waist, now it’s about mid-upper arm. I could weep, though I do understand. A head full of very thick hair like his was hard to manage, even if he and his glorious hair did inspire Celestino, one of my vampire characters. (Can’t wait til you guys meet Cel, but that’s a long time coming as he’s not in the current book I’m writing. He’ll be along, though.)

This was taken this morning, but we finished around 7:30pm last night. We were just flat worn out and ran out of daylight.

No, it’s not a Jacuzzi.

That’s a koi pond. Interior footprint of 8’x7’x32″. Roughly 850 gallons.

Railroad ties must weigh four hundred pounds if a damned ounce. He hammered more rebar than should be legal, and looked damned fine doing it. We had to line it with insulation (fan-fold type for those who care) so the ties won’t damage the liner. Today, we’re going to line it even further with heavy plastic. I swear, if another microburst hits the block, I’m getting in this thing. It ain’t going NO WHERE

Sweet baby Jeebus, that took for freaking ever. What you don’t see in these pictures is the incredible amount of work he’s done on other things. (Done on purpose because I want you guys to be surprised in the end.) Yes, he. I’m a lightweight and can only do so much other than help him, which is hard enough work, trust me. My fingers are swollen to hell and back.

But that wasn’t the FUN part of the day!

“Baby, go look at the railroad ties at the back of my truck and pick one out for the top.”

 Now, I know these boards are hanging wayyyyy out of the back of his truck. I do, I swear, so I do as he asks. I wander over, ball cap slung low over my eyes because I’m sunlight sensitive, having to look down even more than normal because I’m old and I wear bi-focals – have to look over the bi-focal part – and don’t like the first tie. Step over the second tie…

I hear, “Baby?” My head comes up.

This is what I see, only much, much closer. Smashed my face right into the end of these huge ass boards. What was worse was the sick sort of *thump* we both heard and he was twenty feet away.

Um, yeah. That hurt.

He comes running, I hand him my glasses while I’m hanging onto these boards to even be able to stand, and watching the pretty black spots dance through the air around me. The boards caught me in the mouth and my eyebrow, just because they weren’t quite sitting flush at the time. (He has since moved them over, before I took this picture this morning.) I’ve heard people say they’ve “had their bell rung,” but I’d never experienced that until yesterday. In my stupor, I’m more worried about breaking a $150 pair of glasses than my face.

You know I was hurt! LOL!

 I bruise so easily that, once he knows I’m gonna’ live, he’s tripping that someone will think he’s bashed me in the head with the sledge he’s been using all day. What he doesn’t realize is I’ve already told quite a few people about boards falling on my arm and head, etc, while we were building the arbor-thing – IOW, I’m a klutz – but now I’m tripping because my head is finally clearing. That event pretty much ended for the day the amount of contribution I was able to make in the yard.

I wake up today to a little cut on my forehead, some swelling, no bruising. How the hell I managed NOT to blossom black and blue, I’ll never know.

But, there’s always today. Heading back out there now.

xoxo

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Sinead, Sinead.

Stretching The Creative Muscle

It felt like a dare, so I wrote and edited this short in exactly 61 minutes. I read it to my husband and he said, “What happened to him? Did he take the dog’s stick and open a can of whoop-ass on the cat? Was the cat APRIL?”

Have I mentioned that I love that man?

~~

The park fountain on Main Street had always been one of my favorite places. Had. Water didn’t bubble out of the fountain anymore; the concrete has started to chip around all the swirly edges and what grass there was along the sidewalk has long since turned brown. There aren’t even any birds in the trees. There are definitely no children around, but there is me and my dog, Cassie. Some sort of collie mix, but I really don’t know. She wandered up one day about four years ago around noon and has never left. Guess she remembered the dog park across the street, no matter how long ago that’s been. So, I pulled a name out of my ass and gave it to her. It fits because she’s so bubbly and happy. Dumb dog.

I was twenty-six when all hell broke loose, when the bombs fell and whatever shit that was inside them spewed venom all over the country. Now I’m thirty-two. I feel a whole lot older, but at least I’m alive. My name is Shelby, by the way, one of those good old Southern names where you don’t know if it’s a boy or girl until you meet them, but I don’t worry about a name so much anymore. It’s not like there’s anyone that’s going to wave and smile and call me by name. Cassie might bark, but if she speaks, I’m heading for the mountains and she’s on her own.

Mr. Baker’s old ice cream cart is sitting over there. The pink and blue balloons that used to float up around his head and aggravate him are hanging limp, brittle with age, and the wheels on the cart aren’t round anymore, they’re rusted and bent, making the cart list sadly to the side. It’s all gone, all rotted. The buildings are even starting to crumble. I have no idea why I still come here. Maybe because it’s peaceful, relaxing, even without the trickle of water.

Maybe because I’m just a melancholic, masochistic idiot and I think April’s still out there somewhere and somehow her now chemically twisted mind will remember the park just like Cassie has? Yeah, the sarcasm even bites me. Guess having an already chemically imbalanced brain helped for once. Yep. All us nutjobs are all that’s left. The so called “sane people” faired much worse. They’re just gone. They kinda’ melted.

Cassie trots back to me with a large stick in her mouth, tail wagging so hard I swear it’s going to fall off, and I have to laugh. Dogs faired just fine, but the rest of the animals? Gone, all dead, save for one other species; cats. All this time we’ve been joking about how much trouble we’d be in if they ever grew opposable thumbs. Well, they didn’t. They just got smarter.

“Come on, sweetie. Let’s go home.” I ruffle Cassie’s head and raise my own to look to the west, then into the deepening shadows of the trees, satisfied, and yet disappointed, that no one is there. No one is here but us. “Sunset’s coming and those little furry bastards will be everywhere.”

Just when I think we’re going to make it back into the hardware store, a loud snap comes from the bushes and Cassie darts off, barking hysterically.

“No! Cass!”

A howl of pain and then silence cuts short my panicked dash for the edges of the trees. The leaves rustle in a long line behind the bushes; something’s moving back there, but it’s too big to be my little collie.

“April?” My heart sinks.

April had really long legs, but she wasn’t quite that tall. And she certainly didn’t have slit pupils in her green eyes.

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Black Violas

Two weeks ago:

Hubby: I looked up oleanders last night. Did you know they’re poisonous?

Me: Yep.

Hubby: And you didn’t think I needed to know that? I moved that tree (shaped like a “tree” in a pot) around the yard.

Me: Did you suck on the leaves?

Hubby: *nose crinkled* No.

Me: Then what’re you worried about?

Hubby: Dying, maybe? Why didn’t you tell me?

Me: I didn’t think I needed to tell a Southern man that an oleander is poisonous. Haven’t you ever heard… Never mind, no, you haven’t.  Bean gave me that oleander tree for Mother’s Day when we bought this house because of a ghost story I told her about a plantation near New Orleans. Chick poisoned the family when she was supposedly just trying to make them a little sick.

Hubby: You’re trying to murder me, I get it.

~~~~

Flash to last week, when someone gives me an “Angel Trumpet“. I look it up. *heh* Poisonous and hallucinogenic and more dangerous than the oleander. *shoot the Wiki link to the husband*

Hubby: I knew you were trying to kill me.

~~~~

Today. I find Black Violas at Wal Mart when on a quick run for bird food.

Hubby: They poisonous, too?

Me: No, but they’re apparently associated with death and resurrection.

Hubby: *blank stare*

Me: They’re to bring you back, love.

 

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Flip the switch!

I had a conversation with someone the other day about how I have a multi-position switch in my head. The switch has these settings:

Work

Home

Writer – with varied sub-switches for the hundreds – no exaggeration – of people in my head.

and “Me”.

It takes me a solid half hour in the mornings to turn on the ‘work’ switch, so I get up early. It takes longer to turn off that switch and move to ‘home’ because my day job is stressful as all get-out right now. I was on the phone with that job for two hours after I got home Friday, seriously.

The ‘Me’ switch is capable of being flipped easily. *smirk*

The one switch that is hard as hell to move these days? The ‘writer’ switch. And that’s just fucked up. There’s no nicer way for me to put that right now. It’s fucked up.

Today is April 1st – so I’ll just go ahead and say, no, this is not a joke – which means it’s been a solid three months since I spent any serious time writing.

Courtesy of Chuck Wending, here is how I feel about that.

Every time I see the F. Scott quote it makes me think of not only the voices in my head, but my switches. I’m a whole bunch of people trying to be one person and I’m failing. I, dear readers, have been fucking around and neglecting the writer switch, and it’s now rusty and stuck and won’t move easily. (Can you imagine? Me… unable to channel Esteban? Really? Really.) Mostly unintentional fucking around because my day job went freaking haywire on January 11th, and we are renovating the yard, but the rest of the time… I’ve been fucking around. I just have to admit it.

I started writing this MS around the end of May/First of June last year. So, we’re closing in on one year, I’m forty pages from the end of draft FIVE, and this shit is just not acceptable. Forty pages. FORTY. I should’ve been, by all rights, finished and had this thing off to Nia for editing by February. Nope. Didn’t happen. For some damned reason, I wrote more when my grandmother was here than I have since she left. I dunno, maybe it was because when she was here, I didn’t have time to go outside or go anywhere  – because we had to stay right here with her – or maybe because I needed an escape from how hard it was for us to take care of her and my writing was where I went. I just don’t know. Distractions, jeebus, I have plenty. But….

This thing will be finished, Nia will bloody it the hell up and I will be thankful for that because the girl knows her shit. I will learn how to do a synopsis if it kills me, and by the one year anniversary of this thing, I will hold a final draft and synopsis, and a query letter, in my hand. And I will have an outline started on book two.

I am done fucking around.

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