Monday, February 28, 2005

YAY for me!!

I just had to pop in here and congratulate myself for finally finishing first draft of chapter eight of *Quest to be Queen*. :) It came in at 9767 words, and even though it was a frustrating chapter to write in many ways, the bones are in there somewhere. So far the whole book is at 65939 words (including the start I made on chapter nine a couple of weeks ago when I wrote myself into a corner in chapter eight.) Yes, I know, another short first draft. That seems to be how I work. I don't know what I'll do if I ever get a publisher who wants 200-250K books. Maybe with practice I'll learn to think up big enough stories.

The weekend went well. The water system is purring like a kitten. All the cows are happy, and we've had no new babies for over a week. The weather remains unseasonably warm and dry. On Sunday afternoon Jim and I went for a long walk along the dikes by the lake. It was great to get out in the sunshine and hear the birds.

My mom is still at the guest house until tomorrow. She's not very happy about it all. I wish there were easy solutions.

Today we celebrate our son's 21st birthday. You may think that's an odd way to word it, but you see, he doesn't actually have a birthday this year, so we pretend when it is convenient. Only he's so far from home that convenience has nothing to do with it anyway. Happy birthday, Joel.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Some sort of progress

After today's inauspicious beginning, I tried to recreate Wednesday's words. Of course I couldn't do that, but I have no idea whether what I now have is better or worse than what I had before. And I never will know, will I? Sigh. I bet I wrote over 5K this week, and deleted more than half that many in order to get an improved word count for the week of MAYBE 2K. I'm having trouble keeping track, to be honest.

Cut off work early this afternoon because Jim had to drive to the next town over and pick up a snowmobile, and I decided to go with him. We got home kinda late, but it was fun to spend time together and talk in the truck.


I come into work optimistically thinking I can manage the 2K or however many words it will take me to get done this blinking chapter in *Quest* and discover that somehow I didn't save Wednesday's work. How is that even possible? I always save, and if for some odd chance I didn't (rare) the program prompts me at closing. How could I lose an entire 969 words that way? THIS IS DRIVING ME STARK RAVING MAD.

In better news, Jim got home last night with parts for the pump. Guess what he's doing today? :) Oh, and he *only* got one hundred percent on his course this week. Yay for my sweetie. :D

Thursday, February 24, 2005

One of those days.

I suspected it might be; in fact I forewarned all of us in yesterday's post. Yes, indeed, the salesman-who-talks was at the shop when I arrived at nine, and he was still there when I left at twelve. Somewhere between then and one o'clock the boss managed to say the final goodbyes. I did have hopes for the afternoon, however, but those fell through as well.

My mother, as I've mentioned before, is 82, and she had a panic attack in the middle of the night last night and called my sis, who lives in the same town. Said sis and family are leaving tomorrow morning for five days away, and I'm not sure if this knowledge did not precipitate said panic attack. Anyway, two phone calls from my mother, with a phone call from my brother-in-law and my sister sandwiched in between. It looks like she is going into a private care home for the five days, but quite against her will.

Unfortunately for her, coming to my house isn't much of an option. For one thing, there's the trip, then there's the fact that all our bedrooms are upstairs and the bathroom is downstairs and she gets up several times at night, then the fact that our cat thinks he owns the whole house and would doubtless take exception to a closed door, and the fact that Jim watches tv til one in the morning and our house is not very sound-proof, and THEN the fact that I have to work three days of the five. (I'm not much looking forward to being 82 myself. How do you plan for such a thing?)

And no one need wonder why Val got no writing done today. Sad, but true.

But hubby should be home at some point tonight! :D We've had no calves this week, and the water system is running fairly well, so long as I'm ready to go tap the nut with the hammer as needed, usually at least twice an evening. It's been quite a week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Moving along

I finally achieved some forward motion in *that chapter* of Quest, with just shy of 1K added today. Chapters in this book run anywhere from 7K to 10K. This chapter is currently pushing 8K, and it's not quite ready to wrap up yet, but the motives and actions are at least aimed towards the resolution.

Considering I worked around a sales rep, several customers, and a long detailed phone call, I did all right. In the last hour I peeled off another 882 words of jotting down plot points that seem like they might happen in *Shann*. There were getting to be too many of them stirring around in my head. The religion got a bit more complicated, and I discovered that I have a third country to plan out, at least on its western flank where it borders both Khairdazh and Nuumour. I also learned that more of the story is likely to take place in Khairdazh than I had thought it would earlier on. Plus there will be a lull in the storm somewhere in the middle of the book in Evdrika. More homework! (She says smiling happily...)

There's been an interesting thread lately at Forward Motion about how many words a person needs to write before they are likely to write a publishable work. The number bandied about in the profession is one million. That is in the neighborhood of eight to ten full-length novels. I'm only half way there! (grin). Probably less than half when you consider that some of mine are a tad on the short side. Or maybe more when you consider that *Heaven can Wait* has been written three times already. Of course, that's not a hard and fast rule. There have been a number of writers whose first or second books have sold and done reasonably well. And some writers, of course, will never achieve publication even on their twentieth or thirtieth novels, should they keep beating their heads on publisher's doors for that long.

Why do I mention it? It makes me think that perhaps I don't need to be too hard on myself if I can't get enthused about another pass on *Heaven can Wait* this spring. I've mentioned before that it (still!) has some major continuity issues. It's entirely possible that I'd be best off re-outlining the story and writing it again completely from scratch, without eyeing the earlier drafts for salvageable bits. And honestly, I don't have the desire to spend the time on that story. Maybe in a year or two I'll be able to come at it with a fresh outlook, but I've been pretty immersed in it, doing the three rounds from June '03 to August '04. If the story keeps coming back to mind, I'll give it another go, but for now, I'm taking it off my roster.

There, I feel better already.

A few more good days should see the end of this draft of *Quest*. Of course, tomorrow morning is shot before it starts because the sales-rep-who-talks-for-hours will be here.

And then another week or so of *False Perceptions*. I haven't received the feedback yet from Zette on the first three chapters, but I'm hoping I'll be able to push through and finish THAT first draft as well fairly soon, once my vacation time with *Quest* has rejuvenated me. And will be *Shann* time.

Optimistic, aren't I? :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

"The Woman Who Laughed At God"

Nope, that's not me! That's the name of the book I finished reading today (url is on the sidebar). I did work on *Quest* for a bit this morning, deleting more parts of that chapter and adding some; I broke approximately even on words.

I was just plain exhausted today after that marathon of water work last evening. It was hard to get to sleep last night due to my brain not wanting to shut off. I wasn't worrying really, just...the brain was still on *zing* mode. So a few interruptions into my work on *Quest* where I was hunting down inconsistencies in the chapter (due to all the revisions), I gave up and sat back with my library book.

It's a disturbing book in many ways, from a Christian perspective. Jonathan Kirsch, the author, calls it *the untold history of the Jewish people*. He starts with the earliest biblical references to the story of God's people, and works his way through the three thousand odd years of history, exploring the evolution of Judaen religion and culture to the present time. I do have a clearer idea of the history now, especially in time periods where the Bible is silent, but the history that DOES *match* what I know about is severely canted to a secular way of thinking. In the end, I decided that this book was good research for the various ways misinterpretation and various sects could crop up even within true religion, and that I could put some of this information to use in the novel I plan to write next. So I now have some notes in place for adding depth to my story. Several good ideas came out of it. Face it, people will always have different interpretations of even the simplest of things. And it gave me a good idea for the main plot resolution for the story as well. I guess I'll have to stop saying that I don't know what the new fantasy will be about. It will still take some time before I can articulate it in a couple of sentences, though.

Everything is holding its own on the water front. I still don't dare leave the system unattended, as periodically I have to go down into *the hole* and tap *the nut* with a hammer (scientific, eh?) to make the foot valve shut properly. If left to its own devices, it eventually pops the breaker, which means anything plugged into that circuit is off until I get home (including the electric fence and my deep freezes) and also that the pump will likely require priming. I wish to avoid messing with THAT as much as possible, for I can't do it by myself, and I don't want to call for more help if it can be avoided. So when I'm home and awake, I'll leave the water turned on. It means I'm kinda tied to being home when I'm not at work, but I wasn't planning a whirlwind social life anyway.

The cows and calves are happy and healthy, and no one looks ready to pop a baby any time soon. That's okay by me.

The good news is that Jim has found the parts needed to replace this foot valve, including a filter/screen thing (badly needed). He'll exchange the parts this weekend, and this nasty little phase should be behind us.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Prayer is good...and needed

As of Monday morning, the foot valve in the water cistern is seized. Thus, no water for me or the cows (of which, at the moment, including babies, there are 31.) I'm pretty easy, came into town and had a shower at Jim's sis's before work. Her hubby is a plumber and will go to the farm later this morning to see what can be done. And the cows all had a good drink last evening before everything went ker-whap, so they'll be okay till this evening. Unhappy, but okay. Jim was hoping he'd be able to pick up the parts in Alberta, that everything would hold together till he got back, but it doesn't look like another jerry-rig will work. That's my ever-so-professional opinion, anyway.

And the evening and the morning were the first day...(four more to go...)

You think I can concentrate on my story now? Here's hoping.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Half done with 9

We woke up to discover another bull calf in our pasture, and a couple of hours later Stupid Cow gave birth to a heifer. So the girl babies are still ahead by one. I'm very glad that Stupid Cow had her calf before Jim leaves for a five day training session, because, well, she lives up to her name very well. But she and baby seem to be doing just fine. I was sure she would wait til he was away to have it...

He leaves after church tomorrow. The college town is about an eight hour drive away; he has classes Monday through Thursday and expects to arrive home very late Thursday night. A couple of friends have offered to help me out with the chores while he's gone. This is the first time he's had to be away for any length of time when his folks, who live on our property, have been on vacation. Or other times, we had a kid or two living at home yet. Anyway, I shouldn't have told my mother, because she's going to worry about me all week, but I honestly don't think it's too big a deal (now that Stupid Cow has done her thing). The one man lives nearby, is a farmer and a mechanic and goes to our church. I've known him for like twenty years. He and his son will come every day to do routine chores with me. The other fellow is Jim's supervisor at work, and he and his wife are close friends of ours. He grew up on a farm too and said I can call him any time day or night if I need help with calving. Either guy is as capable as Jim of dealing with our moron water system if I have trouble with THAT. Though everything seems to be running smoothly on the water front. We've had enough hassle with that to last the year already, so it should be fine.

So last night I spent awhile online with Karenee, and I think we solved the problem with the chapter of *Quest* I was having trouble with on Thursday. Come Monday I'll see how it went. I've been fighting a migraine today, but I think it's finally easing back.

Friday, February 18, 2005

The moral

There's a moral to the story. (Isn't there always?) The moral is: Don't check your email first thing in the morning; it's too easy to get distracted. And how! The day started with some Forward Motion business that needed taking care of. Yes, it could have waited until afternoon, but not once I knew it was there! And a couple other emails, less urgent, but being as I was there anyway...

And then the customers. It actually turned into a pretty busy day. I firmed up the flooring order for an insurance job for a single mom with three teens whose house was gutted by fire, and who has little in the line of day-to-day cash. I think the house is going to turn out beyond her wildest dreams. We're able to massage the total amount by getting some seconds, and by bulk buying with additional orders, and--she's going to be so happy. She already is.

At the other end of the spectrum are folks who signed on *their* order for eighteen grand in hardwood flooring and porcelain tile. Things are not going to slow up at work any time soon. We're booking into April.

Of course the boss returned from the jobsite with blow-in insulation all over his boots. Suddenly vacuuming was high on my list of priorities. Amazing how that works.

Writing? What's that? Didn't happen. Here it is 4:30 and I haven't even cracked a file open.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


Thanks, Mar, for the loan of your muse. The only reason she's helping me at all is because she heard there's a polar bear on her tail, and she's trying to stay ahead of it. I haven't bothered to tell her that Inuit is (mostly) harmless, because I'm not perfectly sure that's true, and because I'll take whatever momentum I can get, by whatever means it comes. She'll come back to you with a red furry dragon in tow. THAT ought to spark up your Victorian romance.

1893 words. Many of them are unlovely words. I wrote myself into a corner, ditched the chapter, and started with the next one (the last one, thankfully) that I DO know how to get through. At least I think I do. Guess I'll find out tomorrow, hey?

In other news, I had my ultrasound today, but won't get the results back until the 28th. I would just like to remind all my faithful readers what a true blessing it is to be able to pee when you need to. This business of drinking a quart of water and then waiting for an hour and a half, and THEN having somebody poke your belly for fifteen minutes is---not a nice business. We take much for granted each and every day, and this is one I'm going to remember to be thankful for for awhile. At least a few days.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Let's see...

After getting the gears from Mar and Jean about my whining about lack of writing, I decided to do some writing, so that I wouldn't have to whine about not doing it. Hey, it's perfectly logical, if you think about it.


You've thought about it and it doesn't work? Oh well. It works for me. And it's MY little world, after all.

It wasn't fun. I don't think my writing STINKS exactly this week, certainly isn't singing, either. I just want something crossed off my list, so I'm signing up for the word count marathon at FM and am shooting for 5-10K over the next two days. We'll see how THAT goes, LOL. Those little pips are SO fun to collect. I'm pretty sure 10K would see *Quest to be Queen*'s first draft completed. Which makes it a darn short novel, even so, but if I ever decide to do something with it, I'll worry about that later. This was my *just-for-fun nano novel*, remember. I'm not feeling obligated to ever deal with it again, if I don't feel like it. But at the same time I DO feel obligated to finish the draft. (Mantra--repeat after me: I will NOT allow unfinished novels to choke up my hard drive. I WILL finish what I start.)

Yeah, tell that to my muse. I bet she's enjoying a lovely vacation on some yacht in the Mediterranean. Were there not clauses in our contract that covered conditions like these? Like, if she gets to go, so do I? Sigh. Can you tell I really don't have anything to talk about on my blog today? Shall I just stop now? Okay.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005


Big talk here about being a writer, and I've been stalled for weeks. I refuse to call it writer's block, because mostly it's not. Some days the problem has been sheer laziness, other days it's exhaustion (yesterday, for instance), sometimes it's been distraction (lots of that), and a few days it's even been because I had *real* work. But it's been SOMETHING far too many days in a row now. My good habits have gone down the drain, and it's time to go dredging them back. I'll give them a shower and a good scrubbing, maybe a haircut, and see if they are willing to serve once again. If not, I'll have to go hunting new ones.

I did pull 660 words today on *Quest*, but that's not a lot considering how much time I wasted. Aargh.

Riding the Wave

In case you're interested in what is riding the edge of current Christian fiction, check out today's post at Pat Loomis' blog: The Cutting Edge: Celebration of New Christian Fiction. I gave you a heads' up a few days ago that this carnival celebration was coming! She has links to nine different blogs of folks who are writing and re-defining the edge of Christian fiction. Some good articles out there, and more next month as well. Pat is planning for a monthly rotation of this celebration. Check it out!

In other news, my well-laid plans for getting an extra long night's sleep last night didn't exactly pan out. I did get to bed (almost) early enough, but Jim woke me after an hour because he needed help with a cow and calf. Now we have Calf #7, our third bull calf. I do feel more rested than I did yesterday, though, so I'm hoping for some words today... In yet other news, my ultrasound is scheduled for Thursday.

Monday, February 14, 2005

oh so tired...

I left work early on Friday to hop the bus for my sister's house for the weekend, and got back at 11:30 last night. We ate and slept the family memory album we are building for two and a half days, and I'm really really tired. I learned quite a lot about my mother's history, though, this weekend. She's 82, and managed fairly well with all the time she spent at my sis's with us. We did take a break Sunday morning long enough to go to church, and I thoroughly enjoyed popping in at the church we used to attend when we lived there ('95-'00). I'd like to bring Pastor Ron home with me! (meant in the nicest possible way...)

Today I was doing good to stay awake at work. I did complete a crit and get some paperwork done for my guys. I'm currently reading a very very odd book, called The Woman Who Laughed at God by Jonathan Kirsch. I thought it was a biblical novel about Sarah, and it isn't, not even a little bit. It is a critique of historical Judaism by a modern day secular Jew. At least I think that's a fair representation of the book. It's quite interesting, and sent me scurrying to my Bible on a number of occasions (Does it really say THAT?!) I guess that's not an all bad result!

Now it's time to get back in the groove. First I need to find the groove. Before that, I need to remember what the groove is. Right.

Walking the tight rope

The biggest challenge I'm facing thus far in the new fantasy story I'm developing is the religion. I've been struggling over this for more than a month now, trying to piece together a fake true religion. No wonder I'm confused!

I'm basing my main character's homeland very loosely on Israel in the Old Testament. It is a legalistic country with the religious and governmental aspects irrevocably entwined. It is also pre-Messianic, and the people of Khairdazh have, of course, vastly re-interpreted their prophecies to line up with how they would like to see the future. They are about to declare war on the country next door.

Although I have not duplicated the system to include animal sacrifice as was practiced by the Jews, still I expect that one of my themes for the novel will be Psalm 51:16-17 (or its Khairdazhian equivalent): "You (God) do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise." (New International Version)

I feel like a tightrope walker, and my physical balance has never been very good, probably because of my poor eyesight. I'm not sure my mental balance is any better. I've received a bit of advice from a couple of pro writers who have already built these kinds of worlds and religious orders. I'm feeding my crit group pieces as they take shape, and I'm evaluating their very valuable responses. I'm reading more in the Old Testament, and I'm praying. Slowly, gingerly, I slide one foot further out onto the tightrope, and try to keep my balance. This aspect is a huge part of the foundation of this new novel, and I don't dare get too far into the other areas of pre-planning until this is solid.

I suppose that's good. Not only was Rome not built in one day, but it's not like I don't have a writing project already on the go. Sigh. Time to stop philosophizing and go for word count on my current novel.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Blog carnivals

Ever heard of a blog carnival? If you have, you're ahead of me. Well, that is to say, I HAVE heard of it, but just in the past couple of days. Pat Loomis will be hosting one on Tuesday, Feb 15. In it, she will be pointing folks to various blogs, including mine; we'll be discussing some variation of the topic of new directions in Christian fiction. If you're curious about how the carnival works, go on over to her site, she has blogged about it.

What can I blame today's lack of getting anything done on? Not customers. It just was a washout as far as new words go. I opened my file, stared at it a bit, and closed it. I don't think I so much as changed two words. I did post something for my crit group to comment on regarding religion in my new little world, and finally got a handle on the government for the other country, that I gave up on last week. So I did make some progress, but it wasn't on what I'm supposed to be working on. I do have a headache, and Jim came home from work mid-morning sick, so I may be able to pull an excuse or two out of the hat if I try hard enough. Try. Try. Try.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

It's CRITTING time!

When you think of me writing away, this is where I am. Posted by Hello

Months go by with no critiques at all, and suddenly I have a week with two of them. Today's synopsis crit took most of the morning. I have to do all I can do to help my friends to break into print!

I got a few hundred words on *Quest* this afternoon. Not as much as I would have liked, but interruptions were rampant at work. Yes, that's me (the invisible one) sitting in that chair in the photo, hopping up constantly to get the phone. Eventually I gave up and spent some time organizing a bunch of the worldbuilding I've been doing for *Shann*. That needed doing, too, and didn't require as solid of concentration.

Did I mention that calf #6 was waiting for us when we got home from work last night? So far all is well on the western front.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Changing gears

Wow, changing gears was SO the right thing to do. I accomplished a lovely 1605 words on *Quest to be Queen* (nano'04) this morning. I'd read through the previous 54K over the past few days, and decided to ditch what I had for an outline for this section. (*Quest* requires seven tasks, and this is the last one.) I took stock of all the interpersonal relationships at the end of the 54K, and decided which of them needed to be solved by the end of this task. The big one, obviously, must wait until the grand finale, but some development (negative) must happen in this task to keep things interesting. So having decided who all has to save who else's life, and in what order (!), I threw them out to see what would happen. Then I discovered that a man they meet, that I thought was neutral to the whole quest thing, is actually on Teagren's side. But once she went off with him, I realized that he's only pretending. That sets things up nicely for tomorrow. It was WONDERFUL having fun writing again! :D

A while back I signed up for February's romance challenge at FM, so today I wrote the first draft of a short scene when Taafa and Shann meet (from Taafa's first person point of view). It's not how I intend to write the novel, but it did give me some insight into how she thinks. It's going to take a bit of spit and polish before I post it on the board. The challenge was to write a first meeting between two people who will eventually fall in love, and to show the initial conflict between them. There is plenty of that between Shann and Taafa (her country wants him dead, and expects her to help), so we'll see if I got a handle on any of it. Oh, and I finally got my maps colored, too!

Then I read through the article for Zette, for Vision's March edition, and couldn't find anything else to tweak, so sent that off. It was a very productive day, all in all. It occurs to me that I should post a link for Vision ezine over on my blog's side panel, in case anyone is interested in having a look. I'm not *just* pitching my own article here; there are many helpful writing articles in each issue of this free bi-monthly ezine. Forward Motion has been publishing it for more than four years; all issues are archived and are downloadable in adobe format and in palm, I think.

What else is new? A few weeks ago I mentioned a physical problem I'm having, and that I require an ultrasound. The day before my scheduled appointment, the ultrasound machine/computer broke down. When the parts arrived from Toronto, they were the incorrect parts. So I'm looking at at least another week before I can get the procedure done. I understand that patients with more critical needs have been granted appointments out of town, but apparently I'm not considered to be in dire straits (which I suppose is some sort of good news...). I'm not particularly enjoying the waiting game. As a writer, I have a better than average imagination, and I'm trying very hard to keep it turned OFF when thinking about this. It is certainly an opportunity for learning more about relaxing in the Lord and trusting that He remains in control, even of broken down ultrasound machines.

Monday, February 07, 2005

And baby makes five...

Some happy cows and babies... Posted by Hello

All mothers and juniors are doing well. Five down, thirteen to go.

A new week in my little world...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading through *Quest to be Queen*, and am quite excited to start writing on it again tomorrow. Even the part that seemed to drag while I was writing doesn't seem so bad nearly three months later. (Maybe because I've recently met writing that really DID drag!)

That and a crit and my customers rounded out the day. Oh, and the snap trap method has inched closer in score to the bucket trap method with the demise of Rustle #9.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Desperate Times call for...

Desperate Measures

That's why the store is so clean today. The excuse? Unless everything is spotless, it could be hard to know for sure whether there are any more Rustles lurking. The reason? I opened my False Perceptions file and stared at it for twenty minutes. Know what? I don't like this story. The outline is solid, and I really like many of the characters. BUT. Finishing this is like pulling hen's teeth. I keep telling myself that I'm NOT a quitter. I don't ditch books at 70K, relatively close to the end.

I might let it rest a bit, though. My nano novel, *Quest* is also unfinished and fairly close to the end. I'm doing a read-through and some brainstorming there and I think I'll roll that one through to the end before beating myself up some more over False Perceptions. Something's got to give.

I'm committed to getting both those first drafts done before starting to write Shann. And who am I kidding? I've got a LOT of work yet to do on Shann before I know what the story is. I'm spiraling ever closer, but I know it's not ready to be told. But at least it excites me.

Is this a case of the grass always being greener on the other side? (We've got one young cow, expecting her first calf any day now, that is absolutely convinced of the truth in this saying.) Will the next novel always look brighter than the one in the midst of the daily slog? I fear that may be the case.

But it takes so long both to write a book and to pre-plan a book, that it seems silly not to multi-task. They utilize different parts of my brain. Mornings are quieter at the store, and I'm freshest. That's when I *should* write. That's when the words come the easiest. Afternoons tend to have more interruptions, and by then my brain is also losing its edge. Worldbuilding and other pre-planning still works fine in those circumstances.

It's a bad sign if I'd rather clean the store than write. Even with mice for an excuse.

In other news, we now have calf #4. Another bull calf makes the score 2 and 2. It's raining now, supposed to get cold next week. Maybe winter is going to take another swing through here after all.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

two steps back, three steps forward

THAT was productive. I opened up Tuesday's file in *False Perceptions* and remembered why brushing up the first three chapters sounded like such a good idea yesterday. I was stonewalled. Couldn't figure out how to write the scene I'd started. It appears that I can have the result from a different scene so, minus 200, plus 300 puts me a little in the black. It's still ugly. Why is this book driving me stark raving mad?

I'd have gotten further (I think) but a friend stopped by the store and visited for quite awhile with some tales of woe that actually affect me, too. So it was a tad difficult to just block it out and jump back into a stalled part of the book.

Couldn't get excited about the government of Nuumour, either, and filling in its missing parts. I'll have to come back to that. Instead, today I contemplated technology, transportation, and communication for the *Shann* novel. The world is starting to come together.

We caught another Rustle today. The score is snap-trap 3, bucket contraption 5.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

more about governments, cows and water

I am thrilled to report that Jim was finally able to get enough pressure in the water line last night to blow out the gunk that was clogging it. The cows now have proper water pressure at their trough, and can drink their fill much easier. He wound up playing cop for awhile, keeping them from bashing each other out of the way and making sure they all got a chance to drink. Then he had to turn off the system overnight because they had gone through so much water that we were in danger of running out! (Our well doesn't recover quickly, and the cistern level was dropping rapidly.) He hauled a load of water this morning with the tank in the pickup to try to keep the cistern at a usable level. It will take a few days for everything to return to normal, I'm thinking. We're still having issues with other parts of the line as well, due to silt buildup, but nothing as critical as the cows' section. What a relief. He was concerned that he'd have to bring in the bobcat and dig up that entire length.

During this morning's writing time I copped out. I spent my *False Perceptions* time on brushing up the first three chapters. I had a look at Zette's queue for the 2year novel class, and realized that I am next in line, and could get called on any day to submit my chapters for personal pointers. The first and third chapters just got a light swish with the brush, but there were some serious tangles in the second chapter. I'm sure I don't have them all combed out yet, but it looks a heck of a lot tidier than it did. I could see that Treyan really did not come across sympathetically; I had not introduced him well. I'm not convinced it's anywhere near perfect yet, but at least it's not terminally embarrassing...

I have a reasonably firm grip on Khairdazh's government now, and how it works. I woke up in the middle of the night realizing that if they're going to be declaring war any day now, they need to be conscripting warriors. So I have that worked in, too. It's amazing how I can be completely blind to some of the most obvious things.

Nuumour's government has been harder to finalize. All I knew was that it wasn't based on a religious order. The government needs to be strong enough that it won't be ripe for a takeover, and it must be the government of one country only (ie, not part of an empire), even though they trade with a variety of other countries. I wish I could get a firmer idea of how other types of governments work, such as oligarchy: government by small group of privileged individuals. How is a leader chosen? Are they all equal? Is that like governing by committee? (Scary, huh?) And what kind of privileged? Knowing so many cool (for a novel!) kinds of government exist makes me really not want to settle for a typical fantasy kingdom. More mulling to do, and some internet research when I get the time.

It looks like I'm going to have some *real* duties in my new role as moderator at Forward Motion. Zette has tucked me in as an assistant on the Young Writer's Scene board, which is an entire FM in miniature for youth under 18, with restricted access only. There is an awful lot happening in there that I (and the other 6K plus members of FM) had no idea existed. Wow.

We're still having spring weather, but rumor has it that winter will be back soon. That's probably what all the calves are waiting for, to be born in a blizzard. Silly them.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

of governments...

Things remain really busy at work. A couple of weeks ago I think I mentioned that we had some whole house jobs hanging out there. Well, today one of them came home to roost, a five thousand square foot duplex. The guy thought sometime in February would be good. My boss told him *it just ain't gonna happen*. He promises to be done by sometime in April! It looks like a never-ending year.

In between I managed to squeak out just over 1K on *False Perceptions*. Hard work, but apparently somebody's got to do it, and I've been nominated.

My photoshop program decided to act up last night, so I don't have my maps colored yet. This is a great botheration to me. It was looking so good, too, and then something glitched and it didn't save right. Grrr. I love technology.

So this afternoon I've been developing the governmental structure for Shann's country, Khairdazh. It is a theocracy -- government by church officials, who believe they have divine authority. So I'm playing with ideas of how this kind of government really works on a day to day basis. Who is the boss guy (the mouthpiece of God)? How does he get picked? Who rules under him, and how? Good questions. As yet, I have very few answers. But they're coming. And as soon as I have a clue about Khairdazh's government, I get to play the game all over again with Taafa's country, Nuumour. Trust me, it will NOT be a theocracy. (That's all I know for sure!)