Friday, March 31, 2006


Here you go...

Thursday, March 30, 2006

85K and counting

I completed chapter 28 of the Big Revision today. 27 and 28 are a little choppier; I'm trying to decide if that is okay. They certainly contain a major swell to the crest of the novel so there is a lot of action in them. I'll need to make a decision when I skim read the novel before sending it out to critters. I have a few other (minor) things to add or change during that read: things I realized could get a hint or mention in a specific spot that would set something else up a bit later. I hate to have wasted, unlinked things in there. I don't believe a whole lot in fancy dressing just for the sake of it. It all needs a purpose. With that in mind, I expect to be done this pass by Easter--maybe even next week--which will give me a bit of time to glance back through before kicking it back out the email door.

One of the projects I want to work on later in April is to start building myself a webpage. I'll be shopping for my host and url soon and have some ideas what I'll do there. I know, I know. It's scary. I'm the gal that was stymied by her BLOG for a couple of weeks. So is there some kind of reason NOT to bite off more than I can chew? :O At least I won't inflict this site on you all until there's something to see, though I expect it will be rather basic for awhile.

What kinds of things do YOU think would be good to find on an as-yet-to-be-published writer's page?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Three steps forward...

One back. It's not fair that the easy chapters to revise fly by and the nasty ones linger. Well, maybe it IS fair, cause I'd get just as sick of the good ones, I suppose. I made huge headway on Friday, revising three entire chapters that apparently, um, did not have huge problems. Today was a little different. The first scene seemed like it would be stronger from the other character's pov.

Generally speaking, in a multi-pov novel (there's four in this one), the writer has to make some choices as to which character's eyes to see each scene from. Sometimes it's easy...only one of the pov characters might be present. If more than one are present, I take a closer look. Basically I use two criteria: which character has the most to lose in this scene? And: how many scenes have gone by since I used this character's pov.

Unfortunately my original choice had been based on the second criteria, rather than the first. The confrontation took place between the antagonist, who has just gotten a somewhat tenuous grip on the thing he has always wanted, and the male main character, who helped make it happen but now regrets it. It seemed time to get into the antagonist's mind, so I used it. I think the new scene is stronger. Hopefully there are enough clues for the reader to catch that the antagonist is just using nice words to cover up, but Treyan, fresh from a joyous experience of his own, wants to believe the best in everybody. This one scene took all of today, and it isn't even a long one.

Not because it wasn't coming together but because it was simply a hecticly busy day at work, as was yesterday (when I gave up and critted three chapters instead of doing creative work). These people are coming out of the WOODWORK and they all think their floors should be done next week. They don't like hearing words like *June* or *July*. I'm actually WORKing at work these days: making phone calls, setting up appointments, placing orders, screwing up orders (yay me) and pacifying people. Probably the longest stretch either day that I could focus would be about twenty minutes before the phone would ring or the door would open.

But the revision plows on. I have my sights set to get it off to critters by the end of April. **Crosses fingers.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Please tell me you love the new look :P

I do believe I've got it this time. I spent a couple of hours this afternoon and another three this evening going through everything with a fine-tooth comb and I do believe we finally have lift-off. And now, honestly, I could do this again in an hour or two. Don't know that I will (!) but it would be possible.


Yes, I still want to know if you see problems. I'm sure hoping not, though!

Friday, March 24, 2006

In my little world

While I wait for the planets to re-align themselves so that I can do something productive on my blog layout, I've been revising. I haven't conquered as much ground as last week, unfortunately, but I did hit a nasty chapter head-on and conquer it. Also unfortunately, it is not the last such chapter to deal with, but I've got a bit of clear space before I hit the wall again. I think. I've revised 22 chapters out of 33 to this point.

My other area of concentration right now is critting a novel by my pal Maripat. I'm only 3 chapters in (of 25) so there's a ways to go on this as well, but it's my reward after beating my head on the False Perceptions wall all day!

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Even more messed up!

In trying to fix this blog thing I have screwed it up fifty-nine ways from Wednesday. At the moment, I believe it is equally unhappy in Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer. Call me an equal opportunity kind of person. :P Apparently I didn't save that last version, thinking I already had it, but I was wrong. And it looked much uglier in between as anyone who might have tried to access Saturday evening may attest. Anyway, I'll give it another whirl in a day or two. Thanks for your patience. You ARE being patient, aren't you?

EJ, first I have to try a couple more times to screw it up on my own before I get into paying somebody to fix it! :P

Friday, March 17, 2006

FP revision clears 60K!

Yes, that's worthy of a headline. I've revised six chapters this week, each with two to five scenes. A few of those scenes got by with minor grammatical upgrades (beware the lowly comma!) but most of them got more. A couple received high end treatment including massive amounts of the original material hitting the recycle bin. And now I'm finding things AGAIN that should have been worked in earlier in the story. The villain's son plays an important role in the early chapters and in the later ones. Where is he now? He's certainly not off on a business trip. He needs to be doing what he does best, prodding his father, even though in a more limited way so as not to steal the spotlight. To be honest, changes thus far have been significant enough that I'll need a read-through at the very least before this story goes off to readers again, and hopefully I can plug in some of those bits on that quickie pass. In case you're one of my readers waiting patiently for the book, my current goal is for it to be out of my hands and into yours by the end of April.

Regarding the difficulties with viewing this blog in Mozilla Firefox, my tech team hasn't had time this week to analyze the problem. The half of my tech team that had surgery this week has no idea what's wrong, and the half that is packing for a state-to-state move isn't sure either. I don't really want to go back to blogger pink...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

What do you think?

I've spent the better part of the last two and a half hours on this, and that's only counting tonight! Tina and Mar both spent much of that time helping me out with the template as well. I think there are still some tweaks to go, so if you see something odd let me know in comments and I'll sic my tech team on it! :D

The photo is one taken by my daughter.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Return of 'Comes A Horseman'

Way back in time--approximately in November--I received a novel too late to do it justice on the day I was supposed to chat it up. However, Robert Liparulo did kind of issue me a challenge to read his first novel, Comes A Horseman even though I wanted to chicken out, not being a thriller kinda gal.

Okay, Bob. I finished it today. Yeah, I know, I took my jolly sweet time letting it get to the top of the TBR stack. After reading the first two chapters I knew I wasn't gonna keep going while hubby was working out of town. I needed to be sure somebody was in the house to keep the axe murderer off me. Chicken, I know.

Bob did a lot of things right in this novel. In fact, pretty much anything I didn't like I'll chalk up to the genre. The characters made sense. They developed, changed, grew. They had definite imperfections, ones that were important to the development of the plot.

And Liparulo certainly has heard the same advice I have: When it is all dark and your main characters know they are going to fail, keep heaping it on so they don't really stand a chance. And yet, the seeds for their eventual win had been planted early on.

There were a few bits of info I would have liked planted earlier, but perhaps word count issues forced some tightening up. For example--if you've read the book--I would have liked to see the idea of the secret hideaway in Brady's basement mentioned in an earlier scene rather than just where they NEED it. It kinda felt info-dumped in there, but it was a short info-dump so I lived through it.

Good job.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hike in the woods

This afternoon hubby and I went for a walk up a forestry road. The lure of climbing rim-rock was more than he could deny.

up the rim-rock Posted by Picasa

We had a good hike up (got the heart rate up, that's for sure) and came across a group of four deer watching us from the shadows. I took a lot of photos--most of them were throw-aways--and this is the best one.

Two deer Posted by Picasa

Turning back towards the truck, this is the view out over the lake. A good afternoon.

The view the other way Posted by Picasa

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Royal Pelter

Because the novel I am currently doing prep work for, Puppet Prince, takes place in an Emperor's household, I've been spending some time googling the various titles of the people that might show up in the story. You know, how do you address a prince: that sort of thing. Also, the various layers of servanthood. I just found the coolest tidbit from this website regarding the position of The Royal Pelter:

It is the duty of the Royal Pelter to hurl rotten fruit at anyone in the stockade, who has offended the Royal Household. As an emissary of the Court, the Royal Pelter must comport themself in a dignified manner while pelting. It is also their duty to Royal Pelter to distinguish when pelting is appropriate and when it is not.

Please excuse me while I go laugh myself silly. When I've recuperated from that, I'll have to see if I can incorporate a Royal Pelter.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Free Online Writing Classes

Did you know that Barnes and Noble University offers free courses for writers and others? They run for about six weeks at a go as near as I can figure. I've just signed up for their Grammar Fitness course that starts in April. I figure that should make all my critiquers happy. The downside to the courses is that to get the most out of them, you should purchase their textbooks which doubtless is how they make their money. My first stop, however, will be my interlibrary loan. I'd prefer to see if these are the grammar books I would like to own forever and ever amen before I plunk down my coin.

Today's chapter didn't quite get completed and I blame that on the emotional gamut the major scene runs through. Shudder. I had far too many eyes doing their thing, too many hugs, too many sighs. I needed to get a little deeper in the character's skins and get beyond that surface stuff. And you know what? It's work. Work I intend to finish tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Are you a writer?

Are you REALLY a writer? Are there days you wonder why you do this? Days when it isn't fun and you're sure your writing stinks and the scenes don't flow? Hop on over to Maripat's blog and get yourself a pep talk. Or maybe a kick in the seat of your pants. Whichever.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

All about Me

In case you've ever wondered what's up with Valerie, check out my crit group's new blog. Tuesday will be my day to post over there. Tina has prepared a list of writing prompts a mile long for those weeks when we all come up with a blank mind. We'll have to see how often that happens!

This week's entry is my life history, shortened version. Check it out if you're interested.

Monday, March 06, 2006

cleared 36K today!

I'm feeling a bit encouraged about progress on False Perceptions today. The disassembled chapter from last week was partially done. I'd gone through much of the grammar before and rearranged the scenes, but really couldn't think through refreshing the transitions to reflect the new locations. It wasn't as bad as I feared, and I was done in decent enough time to tackle the next chapter as well.

This one was labeled with big asterisks and the words FAULTY LOGIC, needs MUCH work, so my heart sank a little at turning to that page. Then I remembered that I'd already eliminated the faultiest part of the logic line from earlier chapters and things were holding up just fine without it. Even MORE logically! LOL. Anyway, got that chapter whipped into some sort of shape as well.

And still had time to do a fair chunk of reading on Maripat's novel which she FINALLY emailed me for critiquing yesterday. It is laugh-out-loud funny in places and I think it will be a pleasure to crit.

Sunday, March 05, 2006


Calf #13 died Friday morning, making three deaths in the last week. Hubby arrived home a couple of hours later for his four days off. Of course we have had no births since he got home. Are these cows trying to punish me personally or what? I had specifically ordered the remaining five births for this weekend. (Nice try...)

It occurs to me that in the past couple of weeks my blog has turned into a farm and housing report. Is that all I've been up to? Well, no.

False Perceptions didn't gain a lot of ground this week, though. The revision sits at about 30K (out of about 95). I ripped one chapter apart this week and then couldn't quite figure out how to put it back together. That will be Monday's job. How hard can it be? (Don't answer that...)

I spent a bit of extra time on Puppet Prince in the character building section. Personalities are starting to show clearly; faces less so. A varied and interesting cast is starting to take shape and learn to interact. My constant struggle is to give PP enough attention so that it becomes fully formed, but not so much that it will demand to be written earlier than Nano.

Forward Motion has a specific area for writers under the age of 19, and I've been one of the moderators of the Young Writer's Scene board for over a year now. We periodically run classes in there, so one of the things I accomplished this week was writing first draft for the next set of classes which will be on Viewpoint and Narration. It's a four-part class and I expect to start running it Wednesday the fifteenth. I also hope to do a class on dialogue later in the spring. Maripat has run the last couple of classes so it is about my turn.

It is time for me to really start focusing on FP, though. I can't move on until it is revised and out to a new set of readers. The dangling carrot is the revision of Marks of Repentance aka known as Shann and Taafa's story. I don't know that it will be any easier to revise in actuality, but I absolutely LOVE that story which hopefully will help. It keeps beckoning to me, but I must I must I must finish FP first.

Yeah anyway, that's what life is like in my little world.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Misery on the farm

This year I have to tell you that farming is not going well. This morning before work I found a very brand newborn calf in the corral. After awhile I phoned my in-laws and asked them to check the calf. MIL phoned about 10:30 to say that the calf wasn't up and sucking yet. Usually that takes one to two hours.

I decided to go home at lunch hour to see how things were. MIL was just heading into town to buy colostrum for the calf so I changed and went out to the corral to talk to FIL. After a bit I decided to walk through the rest of the herd to check on babies and mamas, and there I found another newborn calf, but this one was dead. What is going on?

I went back to work, knowing that the struggling baby was in good hands. MIL phoned mid afternoon to say that they'd finally gotten about six ounces of the colostrum into the calf, that he'd had a hard time sucking but eventually gotten the hang of it on the bottle. They were going to have lunch and a nap and check him again later.

When I got home, I changed and went straight back out. They were gearing up for another onslaught because baby still wasn't cooperating. (You guessed it; Jim is out of town until tomorrow.) I called our good friend R who was raised on a cattle farm and he came down and gave my FIL a hand, while MIL did the hold-the-rope-and-other-stuff detail. We spent two hours with the mama haltered and tied to keep her steady (her second calf, so she's young yet) and trying to get the calf on. R got the calf in position and its mouth wrapped around a teat. No sucking. Over and over. Finally he milked out a bit, put it in the bottle, and tried that. He wouldn't suck. Eventually R took the nipple off the bottle and just poured the milk in the calf's mouth. He did swallow most of it.

He's not going to last long if he can't or won't suck. We have no idea what is going on. All the ones that have been weak or sick (or dead) have been bull calves. The heifers have all been fine. Why? WHY???

Headed back out in a couple of hours to try one more time. Is it worth it? I don't know. We still have five cows left to calve out, but now I'm dreading seeing a calf rather than being glad.

Sorry, Jean. I don't feel up to calf pics at the moment.
I have recently read Brenda Coulter's book A Family Forever.

I don't read a lot of conventional romances, whether or not they are *inspirational* (which this one is). You may recall that I read a stack of them in the fall before taking my own run at writing a romance for Nano. Brenda's previous book Finding Hope was easily the best of the lot, making me laugh out loud on several occasions, and therefore I did not want to miss the opportunity to read the newest Brenda novel: A Family Forever

When a man who's sworn to protect his dead brother's fiancée discovers she's pregnant, he marries her, convinced that God will honor his good intentions and make the couple fall in love. But can it really be that simple?

The short answer is NO! The fascinating and believable story of Shelby and Tucker's unconventional marriage begins here with a sneak preview.

You'll enjoy the read!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Possibly good news

Our septic system was approved and inspected when it went in 29 years ago, and again when we hooked up a second septic tank (for the mobile home across the yard) in 1985. Now to find out if that qualifies us as currently approved. Or not.