Wednesday, September 28, 2005


After thinking many many thoughts about how I want False Perceptions to end, and how it DID end, I finally came up with a plan today and got a good start on the final chapter. I had a great opening scene and a great closing scene, but they didn't work together really well. At least not without five more chapters in between. And there aren't five more chapters, so obviously something had to give. It was the first scene that went bye bye, and then the second one didn't fit either... However, more than half the chapter is now rewritten, and a plan is in place for the remainder of it. And yes, bits of the final scene will need to change to accomodate, but all in all, it will stand. Tomorrow. I hope.

Finding Hope by Brenda Coulter

You may remember that a few weeks ago I was on a brief kick of reading romances from Steeple Hill's Love Inspired line. Being as I am on e-speaking terms with precisely one published author from this line, I figured I should make an effort to read her book. It arrived via inter-library loan a few days ago, and I've now finished reading it. The book? Finding Hope by Brenda Coulter. First off, I'm happy to say that it really was a better written book than the other four of the line, and therefore deserved its status as a Holt Medallion winner in 2004. I found myself chuckling a number of times at various preposterous things that the female character, Hope, said. Brenda's book was also more specifically Christian than the other four, in that Hope's beliefs played a very large role in what made her tick as opposed to tacked on to suit the genre. Brenda's newest book, A Family Forever, will be out in spring and is not yet available for pre-order. I'll be happy to read it when it comes out, especially as Brenda says she's not too keen on the title herself, and had virtually no say in what Steeple Hill titled her book. Ah well.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

We have a new family

You may recall that in July, most of our farm cats met their demise in an accident with the neighbor's swather. It's been a mouse-ridden summer at the farm, and we haven't had enough cats to BEGIN to keep up with the demand. I was delighted, this morning, to discover an entire family of cats that needed a new home. Miranda is the momma; she's named after my very first cat when I was little. There are five kittens, 16 days old. Miranda is settling in fine. She'd caught her first mouse in less than two hours. May they live a long and happy life here at our farm.

Our new family! Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 23, 2005

The chapter is finally conquered!

It took three days of wrastling with words, but the massive rewrite chapter (3269 words) is in place. At least the first draft of it is. Now I can finish up the last few chapters, in which I don't think there are any huge problems, just minor adjustments. At least in comparison!

Then it will be time for another read-through, to see if things blend together better. It's been a couple of months since I've looked at the first chapters, so I'm having trouble remembering all the nuances I was working with in subplots. I've been losing the trees for the forest in the last couple of weeks.

Special thank you goes out to Karen for putting up with me in Yahoo Chat for a couple of hours, helping me hammer through this scene. I hope you'll think it was worth it!

In other news, my shoulder and neck are killing me again. Unfortunately, someone around here has to do chores. I've rooked my nephew in a couple of times, but he doesn't live close enough to pitch in easily or often. I felt almost as good as new for the better part of a week, and I'm really not very happy about this set-back. Jim will be home by chore time tomorrow for four days, and then we have to come up with a better plan for his next set. We can't sell calves for about three more weeks, so it will be awhile before a natural break comes. (Last set there was still some grazing, at least to supplement, but it's all gone now.) Once the calves are sold, half the cows will go, too, and it will be much easier for Jim to set things up for four days for ten animals instead of forty.

Glad to hear that my friend Lisa has safely evacuated from Rita's path. Any of my other readers affected by this storm?

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I am so pleased to finally report some progress on the revision. Last week was just a nightmare where that was concerned. Last Tuesday (13th) was when I hit a chapter that needed serious reworking. Let me simply say that fight scenes are not my strong point, okay? It just didn't work, at all. I knew what the outcome had to be, as in who lived, died, or was injured, but the choreography of it simply failed me. It didn't help that all week I was lucky to get ten minutes in between customers. It's very hard to solve problems when you can never remember your last thought on the subject!

Yesterday was a bit quieter at the store than it had been. I managed to prune the dead wood out of the chapter, leaving almost nothing behind. Then a very faint skeleton began emerging. Today I'm about 1400 words to the good on the chapter, and I've about used up the outlining I'd gotten so far. My plan for the rest of the chapter (I'm hoping for another thousand words plus) is very sketchy again, but I won't worry about that today.

Oh, I also rewrote the last scene of the previous chapter which helps to move into the new and revised chapter, and tucked a few needed bits into earlier chapters to set certain things into the background of this scene. With any luck at all, I'll be able to finish this chapter tomorrow. I *SO* hope.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Recent reading

I've been meaning to mention a couple of the books I've read lately. If you are a lover of fantasy, I'd like to draw your attention to A Brother's Price by Wen Spencer.

I think the first paragraph prepares the reader well for the scenario: There were a few advantages to being a boy in a society dominated by women. One, Jerin Whistler thought, was that you could throttle your older sister, and everyone would say, "She was one of twenty-eight girls--a middle sister--and a troublemaker, too, and he--he's a boy," and that would be the end of it.

From here on in, you are thrust into a world where boys are rare and highly prized. But not like you think! A family of sisters will sell or trade their brother in order to obtain a husband for them. Yes, for all of them. And for the families who have no boys at all (and thus no one to trade), the future is very grim. This very twisted tale is a lot of fun. Wen Spencer is a master.

The second book I want to mention is Midnight Rain by Holly Lisle. I've been following Holly's career closely for the last four years, as I've become involved in the writer's community she began: Forward Motion. Until this novel, her stories were science fiction and fantasy, but Midnight Rain is a romantic suspense. While this isn't generally a genre I read, I found that Holly's skill in creating complex characters and plots is not genre-specific. If romantic suspense is your thing, you may want to try this novel and/or Last Girl Dancing, Holly's newer book which I haven't read.

I'm part way through another book now, and have several stacked up as well as waiting for my inter-library loans to come in. I've been doing a LOT of reading in the past few months.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Road trip on the weekend

We drove east through the mountain pass yesterday, and I was really impressed by how much damage last week's freak snowstorm caused. The area shown here got 18 inches of snow in one day: thick, wet, goopy snow. Because the leaves were still on the trees, there was something for the snow to cling to, and many trunks 6-8" thick were snapped right off. Other trees were bowed flat to the ground. By the time I took this picture, a week later, the trees were valiantly fighting their way upright again. Time will tell if they make it.

A typical sight for miles along the highway. Posted by Picasa

The location of these photos is close to where Jim works. We went over for a barbecue with his shift, and then drove the extra two hours to see our daughter and son-in-law. And saw this group of bighorn sheep beside the highway.

Bighorn sheep along the road. Posted by Picasa

It was a long day, and my butt was really sore from sitting for ten hours (with a few breaks). Home at 11:30, and back to the salt mines this morning.

Friday, September 16, 2005


My life is much too busy. I'm feeling quite out of kilter at the moment with that. My neck and shoulders are better. I saw the doctor, and am getting xrayed next week. I'm not too concerned about that. One more chiropractic on Monday, and I think I'll be pretty much good to go. I haven't had a headache worth mentioning for a couple days now. So that's all good.

Evenings have been busy with my kids home. Jim took a couple extra days off work this week to spend with them. They've been spending quality time, so that's good. They leave about midafternoon on Saturday, but lest anyone think that will give relaxation time, it ain't happening. Saturday evening our worship team is getting together for a barbecue and a practice, and Sunday Jim and I are driving out to the mines for a potluck picnic with his mechanics' shift up there. There are 17 mechanics on his shift, so with their families, it could be quite a few people. It'll be good to meet some of the people he's talked about. And Monday Jim goes back up for another work week.

Work? Crazy. I've never met a busier week here. It's been rare to get ten minutes between customers, which really isn't enough to start concentrating on revising. I've gotten nothing useful done in the writing end of things for several days now. All I know for sure is that the chapter that needs to be totally rewritten is next on the list. Still. It's such a comfort to think of that being the first thing that needs doing. :P I've worked ahead a bit here and there, but there's only so much I can do until that chapter is nailed. I know the last chapter, the denouement, will also need rewriting, but that doesn't scare me so much.

If life doesn't settle down I might have to start writing at home evenings. And here I thought I had the perfect job for it...

Monday, September 12, 2005

Over 70K now

I think my free ride through the middle of this novel is about over, though. I'm expecting to need to make more changes again in these last chapters similar to what was required by the first few. But so far it is coming together fairly well. I'm reserving judgment right now as to what project follows behind this one. I think I'll need a week of catching up in the store and with class projects and stuff before I nail that down. Still don't know whether I'll jump into nano prep or another revision. Decisions, decisions.

My neck continues to improve. Why does it always feel like a major set back to go to the chiropractor, though? It takes a few hours afterward to begin to feel human again. But we're definitely on the swing back up. Feels good.

It wasn't helped, over all, by sitting in the car for twelve hours on Saturday, though. Our son and his wife managed to swing a seat sale to an airport not quite close enough to home for my personal comfort. Now they are visiting her mom in a nearby town for a couple of days. They'll be in and out all week, then back to the college classes they're currently skipping.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Cleared 50K on revisions today :)

I'm pretty happy with how far I've gotten today. It's amazing how much more I can get accomplished without that couple coming in to dither over porcelain tiles. (They'll be back Monday, or so they've promised me...)

Most of what I dealt with in today's words was fairly straightforward editing. I needed to rework some bits, but nothing too major. I still love the full length argument that I wrote between Cae and Treyan a year ago, so didn't change much in it now. Just needed to keep Cae's language high and mighty and formal throughout it.

Jim's home now for four days, and I'm thankful for that. Chiropractor helped, but not nearly enough. Headaches are constant. The only complete relief is laying flat on my back, which is a little difficult to do at work, and not that easy to do at home, either. I get bored, staring at the ceiling. I have slept ten hours each of the past few nights though! More chiropractic next Monday, and I've finally made a doctor's appointment for next Thursday. That's about as fast as one can ever get in around here; I was expecting longer actually. And I'm not dying, so emergency room doesn't seem the right place. So...that's life.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

In case you were wondering

I'm not dead yet. But I have another chiropractor appointment today in another attempt to put me back together. I had gotten to the point where every day was a little better than the day before, but I've been stalled again for a few days. The worst pain is settled into my neck. Sometimes I think, it's not so bad, I can handle this, and then I think, yeah, but why? If the technology exists to get rid of it, we should proceed poste haste to do just that. And then I realize how tight my jaw muscles are, gritting against the pain, I Yeah, I have another appointment today.

When Jim left on Saturday evening he thought he had the chores all set up for four days, but the cows (aka: pigs) have eaten everything and there's still one day to go, so I'll be calling in friends or family to bail me out this evening. There is simply no way that I can manage bales of hay yet today. Then he's home again for four. Hopefully at the other end of that I'll be able to cope again.

Yesterday I was back at work after a three day weekend (in which I slowly and carefully got my kitchen cleaned at least). It is still quite busy at work and that shows no sign of letting up. I've been working nearly daily with one couple as they manuever their way through all the flooring decisions for a large new house. Some folks trust their first instincts (if they can afford them, anyway) and just get stuff on order. These folks want to be sure. That's okay, but it is time consuming, and I feel like I repeat myself a lot as I explain reasons for and against.

Around all that, I did manage to revise most of a chapter yesterday. Unfortunately, the short opening scene turns out to have been in the wrong order, and putting it in the right place would not work, so I axed the darn thing entirely and am trying to work the pertinent info in elsewhere. I stared at the last scene of the chapter for awhile and realized that was where the rubber met the road as far as the eliminated scene went, and I simply couldn't face it with the headache I had by that point in the day. It's waiting for me this morning. That scene will be a total rewrite. All in all it's coming along all right. It's a decent story. I may sell it some day. It's unlikely to win any great awards.

On the other hand, two months after finishing first draft of Shann's story, it is still haunting me, in a good way. Part of me says, oh, skip nano and do the Shann revisions yet this fall. Who knows? I may do just that.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Anniversary celebrations

Jim and I aren't very good at planning stuff ahead, and anyway our daughter put on a party for us in July (piggy-backed on Jim's sister's wedding). So it's not like we haven't officially celebrated the big two five. On the actual day (Tuesday) Jim was working upcountry, and Wednesday was his sleep day, coming off of nights. So Thursday I booked the afternoon off work (which thrilled my bosses. No, I'm dead serious. If the store is locked, no one can order more jobs...we're THAT busy...). Jim and I drove up the lake and across the ferry and spent the afternoon wandering around marinas. Jim would love to buy a sailboat some day. (And I ask, with what free time in the summer would we sail? He cuts hay all summer long...) So he lucked out with a guy just coming into the docks in a Matilda 20 footer who was happy to answer questions and offered us to go onboard and look around. Really friendly guy. (All I know for sure is that the sailboat in my novel has to be bigger than this one, no doubt at all.)

We went out for a nice dinner and then drove to the hot springs and sat in hot water for a couple of hours, then back across the ferry and home. I can assure you that the hot springs felt fabulous on my back. It's not back in A-1 condition, and that may take a few days yet, but it's definitely better than it was two days ago.

Meanwhile today Jim is going shooting with some friends, and this evening we're getting together with our worship team for some music. It's been a long summer off.

And me today? Time to get back into revisions. Hoping for some serious word count passing by.