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Archive for June, 2012

Well…

Since I shared the koi pond so often, I’ll share this, too. June 13, we had an ammonia spike and lost half of the koi. All my larger babies are gone. The pond outside my office window is empty now because we moved the survivors back into the old pond out front. It breaks my heart to even think about it, so imagine how much it hurts to sit here and look out my office window and not see them there.

Working on beta reports on book one and writing a little on book two. Sort of. I just… don’t have it in me today.

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Part Two.

AKA – Things I Did While I Wasn’t Here.

I’d take pics of the new flower bed, but it’s raining like crazy today. Besides, I’m sure ya’ll are sick of that shit.

1) Chapter One, #Untitled – Book Two. 258 words finally strangled out of Esteban and a vampire priest to open the story. Welcome to existence, Book Two. We’ll be talking about you a lot for the next… oh, year? And kiss my ass, Muse, you irritating wench, for making me work so hard for the word count. It better not be a damned year.

Side note: The hubs walks into the War Room today. He gets a huge hug.

“Two-hundred, fifty-eight.”

“Huh?”

“Words on book two.”

“Oh, god.”

Yes, he was kidding. Mostly.

2) Yesterday, I got a package in the mail. I put it on the table and went outside, only to return and find the cat – my grandmother’s cat, Socks – had shredded the envelope, but, luckily, not the book inside. What’s up with that shit? First he shreds my writing notes, now this envelope? Was he trying to be helpful and open it for me, or just being an asshole? I explained the envelope to the husband, complete with the accent. He said, “You are the strangest woman in the world. And I found you.” He nodded knowingly and wandered off while I fluffed the envelope at the cat as a warning. (I do like him, seriously. Mostly.)

3) Last night, an itty-bitty calico kitten found my porch appealing. She’s so skittish that I managed to brush her little head only once before I went to bed. She doesn’t look a thing like Kal, but she looks evvvvverything like a character in book one, Seraphine, which sort of caught me off guard in a fun, ironic way. Zombie didn’t like her, he was hissing. Now I’m worried. Zombie is a ghetto-ninja-kitty, so I know he’s good, but it’s raining so hard and I can’t find her. Watch me try, even if I do melt.

As for anything else, I got nothin. I mostly just wanted to welcome book two into the world. I’m not going to get into the god-awful, disappointing book I bought – in hardback, dammit. When am I gonna learn?

Back to research I go, but here’s a question for you!

I’ve been told by a beta that I frequently speak/write in colloquialisms, taking for granted that the reader will know what I mean, especially when I’m referrring to New Orleans. Not a criticism, but an observation on her part. She gets the references, other people may not, and I agree with her. It’s a bad habit, born of only showing my writing to someone who does understand what I mean and not the world at large. So, here’s the question:

If a character say… glances at a particular structure and makes a comment that does not fully explain the “ghost story” behind the structure, but makes a only a vague comment, would you – as a reader – want to have that story somehow fully explained in text, or would you rather figure it out yourself? Sometimes, I think it feels like so much bogged-down exposition and info-dumpy, but I can also see the need for explanation.

ETA: colloquialisms… Someone calls someone a “peeshwank” and with the tone of the conversation, you should know “peeshwank” isn’t very flattering, but it’s not flat said that it’s not flattering.

Help me out with opinions while I go look for the kitten? Cool.

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Zombie Garden Gnomes

I’m writing this blog today not from the kitchen, but from what I’ve come to affectionately call The War Room. The huge honkin’ deal is that I’ve never sat at this desk to write before today. (Just my luck, I have a migraine looming, complete with sharp pain behind my left eye, so I get to blog instead.)

Last Sunday, I bought a desk chair and just left it in the box on the bed in here. I’m still just as nervous as ever about actually using this room for anything other than hanging my pages on the wall. I pulled the door mostly closed and walked out. But… while outside at the koi pond, I casually mentioned that I’d like the desk moved beside the window so I can see the pond while writing.

I came home Monday and found the War Room completely rearranged, and cleaned, my desk moved to a place by the window. Normally, anyone touching anything that belongs to me not only sets my OCD on edge, but squicks something in my brain. Gods love my husband, though. He knows. While everything was moved, nothing was out of place. He took great care to make certain I knew where everything was and that nothing was lost or missing. And took even greater care to re-hang my “trinkets”. The Axe ™, my IWTV poster, my little bitty picture of the Natchez, all of it.

This is what I now see to my right…

A Room With A View

Last night, we ran into Rose’s ex-husband while out shopping. I hadn’t seen him in over a decade. He’s in extreme ill health and hadn’t been able to go to her funeral, and had never met my husband. In fact, he wasn’t even aware that I’d remarried – he’d met my ex many times. He and Rose were better friends apart than they ever had been married and, I dare say, she was the love of his life. (His health had prevented him from going to the service, but his daughter told me his heart was too broken to attend.) We talked, we laughed, almost cried right in the middle of that store. Tight hugs were exchanged. Later, my phone blew up with the latest pictures of he and Rose’s grandchildren, plural. Yes, after Rose passed another one was born. Landon, less than a year old, is just as beautiful as his sister, Lilly, who I got to hold at the funeral.

Scott told me I looked good. I laughed. I’m a solid thirty pounds heavier than when he last saw me, but I have a reason for that. When I last saw him, I was getting a divorce – stressed out, not eating, a miserable size one – all skin and bones. He knew my ex was… my ex. I smiled at Bobby and said, “Bobby’s good to me. He’s so much better.”

So, when we got home and I looked at THIS fresh hell that had been found, earlier, when I first got home…

I smiled instead of wanting to pound my head on the steering wheel – like I did when I first saw it all – and smiled even bigger because I bought THIS at the store before we left…

I am blessed. Blessed because the Universe let me find Bobby, because he’s here and I’m not having to live without the love of my life. Because he calls the War Room my “office”. Doubly blessed because he understands me, “gets me”, supports me and loves me.

Even when he knows I’m going to repaint these gnomes into zombies and put them in the yard.

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Yesterday, just after I posted the blog, I had a rather long conversation on Facebook with a fellow writer about the title of her first novel. Being very near the finish line, she was anxious about sharing the title with anyone. Would they steal it? Sometimes, she wanted to refer to it, actually use the title when she’s ranting, or raving, about the work, but she was hesitant to actually use the title “out loud” to someone.

After I told her that, in short, there was nothing new under the sun and it was only a working title, I told her that many things could change and that title might not still be there when she finds her book in print on a shelf. She might decide she doesn’t like it, or even her editor might suggest a better one that she never thought of. Then I started laughing as I replied to her final concern. Been there. 

I’ve given title to many bits of prose over the years and never really thought about it much, but when titling my first novel… that was a different story. Giving your work a title gives it life, makes it real. Naming your first real work is something special. The first time I ever typed out the title to “Ordinary World” to Sinead I was physically ill, then ecstatic, bouncing all over the place. Feeling like a hopped-up Arnold Schwarzenegger, I thought I could conquer the world!

Then it got scary real quick.

I’d put it out there for the whole world to see.  Once you name a thing, you give that thing power. I’d given it power, made it real. Was I up to the challenge?

Then I was ill all over again.

I warned my friend – I call her Purr, now, it’s her super sekrit code name that won’t be sekrit for long- that once she gave it a name, that she’d feel strange, different. And I waited.

I watched as she said to me, for the first time, the working title of her WIP. A few seconds later she said, “Wow… you are right.. that DID feel weird.” Then she bounced all over the place; happy, scared, militant – her word, and generally talked a million miles an hour as she paced and typed to me at the same time. She finally said, “Its come to life” and “What’s going ON?”

I smiled. I was humbled, and honored, that someone asked me for advice that I could actually give, and that I was able to be there with her – even if it was over the Internet – in that brilliant moment; that time that, we decided, felt as if it were a rite of passage. Should we light candles? Get a new piece of body art? I paced with her, I laughed and tried to keep up. I told her that by the time she went to bed, she’d feel even more different than she did right this second. Been there, after all.

Her enthusiasm was infectious, as is should be between fellow sufferers. As I signed off with her I thought I had time, so I opened a new file and typed “Chapter 1” on book two and rubbed my grubby little hands together… but then had to walk away. The hubs and I had planned a trip to look at a garden statue and it was time to go. (side note: Christ on a crutch, are those people serious? $700 for a three foot concrete Buddha?) Snapped that quickly out of the writer’s state of mind and back into the real world.

Our never ending yard project has expanded, again, just as I knew it would, so I won’t likely be able to get any words down today. But… I’m really looking forward to talking to Purr again at some point. Just to see how she feels today.

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Mondays can be fun.

Last Monday, I was up at the ass-crack and catching up on blogs. I stumbled, blurry-eyed, over to Renee’s place – Teachers & Twits – and answered this: What the Deuce Does JINGLEKEET Mean?

I couldn’t help but answer because my cockatiel was highly pissed that I hadn’t fed him yet, and was banging his bell on the side of the cage.  A character (later on) from my Luce series, Berto, has an Italian accent, but picked up on Renee’s battle with her son’s bar mitzvah. He switched his accent around until it became rather funny and even I couldn’t tell from where the accent was supposed to originate. He said,  “I have no idea vat zee deesturbingly loud bird vas, but it vas most certainly zome kind of jingelkeet.”

So, guess what? 

I wasn’t trying to win, I was laughing too hard and trying to change the bird’s food dishes.

This happens to me a lot; answering things as if the character in my head has answered. Esteban knows a lot of people (ahem) and a convenience store clerk once said something, off-hand to her co-worker, about meeting the Devil. I heard it – yes, I know it would be funnier if I could remember exactly what it was she said, just deal – and Este said “I have connections.”  Except Este, obviously, didn’t say it. I did. Out loud. In that thick-ass Spanish accent.

The clerk looked at me funny.

Ya’ll remember the sperm whale cheese? Javier lets his accent slip sometimes “sheese” comes out of my mouth.

Don’t judge. Just laugh.

True story, all, and I could sit here all day and tell you about more instances, but I’m starting book two today.

Go visit Renee over at Teachers & Twits. She’s an awesome gal and I’m blessed to have her on my side in this whole adventure.

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