Saturday, March 15, 2014

March 15, 2014 Debating

I rewrote a chapter yesterday which I'm particularly happy with, but will, if not now, at some point, need feedback.  After writing it and reading it to my daughter, I thought I might post it to get a little feedback from less biased readers (I love my daughter, but she has been following my writing for years, and is probably a lot more forgiving than others would be!).  I don't want to post it in the other blog (despite the fact that I've done exactly that with one of my other books, which directly related to the theme of my surviving and beyond blog), but I know that currently, I don't get a lot of activity here.

So I'm going to throw it out and see if I get any response before doing a copy and paste job of what currently bears the inauspicious title of "Chapter 8".

Write On!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 11, 2014 New directions

As the progress on my current novel is going too slowly to record noteable progress here, I decided to do something different until I can give you an update that's at least a little exciting.

Essentially, I'm going to use this space to exercise my funny bone (or at least write some things which amuse me!).  I hope you'll be amused.

This week's offering was inspired by my garage cats, Hailey and Cinders.

A couple of years ago, I was alerted, by way of a chewed through radiator hose on my 4 month old car, that I had some uninvited guests who had taken up residence in my garage.  I suspect the event was triggered by the city's insistence that my neighbor clear out the jungle in his back yard.  As our city, over the last few years, has taken it upon themselves to be more annoying than any HOA could possibly be, we have been forced to live up to their lofty standards, in this quiet, lower end subdivision. 

Finding that their current environment had become inhospitable, these pointy-nosed, four-legged squatters had moved, en masse, into my garage, where they found all of the comforts a rat could hope for:  bins full of clothes to chew up for nests, a cupboard full of paper towels to shred, various foodstuffs stacked neatly on shelves, just waiting for sharp teeth to rip them open and consume their contents, and lots of clean space to foul. 

Upon learning that the sudden overheating of my car was the bold and unapologetic work of this extended family of rodents, I set out to do the right thing by our environment, and purchased traps instead of poison. 

Have you ever heard a rat snicker???   Trust me when I say that it is not a comforting sound.  It is especially disconcerting when 20 or 30 of them gather around a trap, making little rat jokes about the silly human who thinks for a minute that they would set a single paw into the evil contraption. 

Seeing that a passive approach was not going to rid me of either the rats or their destructive ways, I started putting out feelers for what Red Skelton dubbed "nature's exterminators".  Having owned cats for many years (or rather I have been owned by them!), I knew that they were very effective hunters, but I was not prepared for the incredible prowess of the Hailey and Cinders rat removal team!

Inside of a month, amidst a cacophony of squeaks, grunts and thunks, my garage was rid of the filthy creatures.  Even when a rare one managed to hide for a bit, once flushed from their temporary hole, I would walk away, wait in the house for sounds of the interloper's demise, then go about my business. 

My shop vac did triple duty sucking up the evidence of the rats' extended stay, and we moved a number of things which had held their place for years, but, eventually, the place was clean, the freezer which had fallen victim to the feeding frenzy was replaced, and my life returned to its peaceful flow.  I had also gained two very affectionate girls who had, at one time, been considered semi-feral. 

But the story doesn't end here.  A hunter doesn't stop hunting once the easy prey is gone.  No!!!  The girls have rendered a two block radius completely inhospitable to small, furry, four legged creatures (though the two, yappy brown dogs who run loose in the neighborhood are still around, sad to say!), and, though they hunt less often, still manage to keep their skills sharp.

This week, my first indication that hunting season was open was a large pile of white feathers on the front lawn, next to the plum tree.  As there were no bloody parts attached, I was ok with that. 

Apparently, I failed to offer adequate praise for the elimination of a clearly thieving bird, because the girls stepped up their game.  Were it not for a sharp eye and fancy bit of dancing this morning, I might have found my bare foot covered with mouse guts! 

The corpse was place just outside the door which leads from the kitchen to the garage (where, thanks to the girls, I can, once again, safely store foodstuffs!).  Small, it might have been, but bare foot and dead, well, anything, is the stuff of nightmares!  I think I might even learn to backflip if it were necessary to avoid the meeting of guts and foot!

Realizing my error (but not before using half a roll of paper towels to dispose of the latest offering), I heaped praise upon the heads of my two huntresses, not bothering to remind them that I'd prefer they place them somewhere less likely to be found by bare feet.  I knew it would fall on deaf ears anyway!

Here's to my little exterminators.  May they live long and prosper.

Write on!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 8, 2014 Why do I write?

I followed a link to a blog post on Linked In about why we write, and after leaving a comment, realized I needed to say the same thing here.  The question was (as you can see in the title) "Why do I write?"

The respondent's list of reasons made me think, but unlike so many of the lists I create, I could only come up with one answer to this question.

I write because I need to write, nearly as much as I need to breathe. 

I shoved it aside for years, then got minimal satisfaction writing a section of my former company's proposals until, finally, I realized it wasn't enough and that I was suffocating.  So I did the unthinkable (after much soul searching and finding something I wrote 20 years ago, saying I just needed to write!).  I quit my job, took a gigantic leap of faith and decided that, one way or another, it was going to work out for me.  Of course, this was done AFTER the kids were grown and gone! 

So, here I am, almost exactly three months later, with my first draft complete, maybe 1/5 of the way through the first pass at editing, working with a friend and marketing expert to develop a marketing plan, and taking myself as a writer very seriously.   So seriously, in fact, that while on a cruise, a man saw my iPad and asked about the internet connection, my response was that I had brought it for the word processing function.  He asked if I was an author, and I responded "Unless you count my blog, not yet, but I am a Writer!" 

That's right, folks.  Without even thinking about it, I told a perfect stranger that I am, indeed, a Writer.  Not an accountant dabbling in writing, or a writer and accountant at the same time.  No, I am, simply and totally, in my mind anyway, a writer!

Write on!

Friday, February 21, 2014

February 21, 2014 Editing update

I'm finding that this blog is for those who like it short and sweet.  I'm sticking to the facts and not waxing poetic (or not much, anyway).

This week's facts are:  12 chapters, 57 pages edited.  3,000 words added, and I'm about 1/5 of the way done with the editing/rewriting phase of  Book 1 of the Transition Series (still working on an actual title, but so far, nothing has knocked my socks off!).

I'm mentally processing the questions my marketing expert has sent me to answer, mulling over how best to respond to her queries while still managing to sound more like an intelligent, soon-to-be author rather than a blithering idiot.  But I'm finally fulfilling my dream of saying something in 10,000 words or more.  Though nowadays, it's more like 50,000 words or more!  Who'd have thought? 

And yet, I sit here, already thinking ahead.  Will I write the second book in the Transition Series right away, or finally get down to business and finish, or more likely, completely re-do, my memoir/self-help book first?  Sure, I'm known to read 3 or 4 books at a time, but I don't have a lot of confidence in my being able to switch back and forth between two completely different genre's.  It would be a lot like when I took both French and Spanish in high school and starting speaking Spanish with a French accent.  Not good!!!

But stay tuned to this very channel for updates on the editing process, and ultimately, the release date for my very first published novel!

Write On!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

February 19, 2014 Mercury retrograde and the AHA moment

I was going over some energy updates as I sat here trying to figure out why I felt "off", when suddenly it hit me!  Mercury retrogrades are a good time for going over old ground.   Editing/rewriting means going back over what you've written and cleaning it up, grammatically, fleshing out some parts and paring down others, making sure that you're consistent with time frames, people, places and things. 

My aha, is that in light of the retrograde which began on the 6th, and my editing which began on Monday, astrologically, (hey, sometimes it really does make sense!) I could not have picked a more appropriate time to begin revisiting and revising what I've written between November and January! 

How cool is that?  Not only that, as near as I can tell, my plate is clear between now and next weekend!  I guess I'd better get a little more serious and edit more than a couple of chapters a day while the stars are with me, huh?

Write On!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

February 18, 2014 Revision update

I got a whopping 2 more chapters revised today, although I also added another 1000 words as well.  Time is still being divided between re-writing and researching, so the going is fairly slow.  Frankly, I don't feel really good about Chapter 5, so I may revisit it tomorrow to see if I can make it better still.

Two steps forward, one step back.  Doing the revision cha cha!

Write On!

February 18, 2014 Progress is slow, but it is progress

Got off to a slow start yesterday, managing to edit/revise the first three chapters.  However, I also spent some time researching and found that my imagined facts about the location were close enough to the truth, especially as I don't name places, just describe areas.  I'll continue to use maps of the area to make sure I don't stray too far.

I  probably got about 4 hours of work in on the editing.  Like I said, it's slow, but I consider any progress a good thing, and don't want to rush through this part of the process.

Write On!