Tuesday, May 27, 2008

General Hospital

Well, the obstacles and distractions continue right up to the end, it would seem. I really intended to start posting more after the Sunday May 18 post, but circumstances have prevented it. I can't remember what happened that next Monday, but something did and I do remember only being able to work for half a day.

About two weeks ago we learned my mother has breast cancer, and last Thursday we spent the day at the hospital with her while she had her surgery. The operation went splendidly, no blood loss, no problems whatsoever, which is pretty remarkable for an 80 year old woman. Of course many people were praying. We are waiting now to see if chemotherapy will be needed.

Friday, the next day, she was discharged from the hospital, and after driving her home, I come home and literally crashed. I was SO tired I just lay around all day and napped. Meanwhile, during all of that my husband was suffering from a very intense stomach flu. Saturday I got some good work in, but Sunday was church and also the day we were going to celebrate our son's birthday. We were to meet at 5pm.

About 4pm I went from feeling fine to feeling bad. By 6:30 I was in the bathroom losing my lunch (literally). It was the most intense bout of stomach flu/diarrhea I've ever had, which admittedly isn't saying a lot since I've rarely had the stomach flu. I think the last time was when I was a kid.

The second day, Monday, I couldn't sit up for any longer than it took to take a few sips of water. I slept on and off pretty much all day. And visited the bathroom in between. So obviously I didn't get much work done then either.

It's so bizarre the way these things keep coming up, but I am getting used to it. In some ways I just want to get this book finished before something else happens! If only I had the energy. I'm not feeling too bad today, even went for a walk, though I still haven't been able to eat much more than dry toast in the way of solid food. Maybe tomorrow.

Believe it or not, though, things are progressing with The Enclave. I have 23 chapters ready to go, and six more drafted. Only one of those is really, really sketchy at this point (that would be ch 29, the one I started today). I think the book is going to go to 33 or maybe 35 chapters. But these are shorter chapters than were in Guardian-King, especially some of them. So it doesn't look utterly hopeless. I doubt I'll get it in by next Monday, but I'm now shooting for sometime that week for sure. Probably should let my editor know.

On the home stretch now!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

May is Halfway Over

These are Desert Marigolds. They are common desert flowers. Most all the desert flowers are yellow because yellow is easiest for the bees and other insects to see so they can come and pollinate things. Yellow also goes splendidly with our blue skies and purple mountains!

Alas, spring is very nearly over now. Today it was 96 degrees according to my car thermometer. It was still 90 when we took Quigley for his walk at 6:30pm (three miles round the park now).

This has been a crazy month. Mother's day, the death of a friend's mother, a doctor's appointment (that shoots a morning's worth of time to work), a graduation reception, and last night my son's official graduation from the Eller Business College with a Master of Science degree in Management Information Services. Last week he was flown to San Diego to interview for a job, which he decided on Friday to take and will be leaving in about two weeks. On... um... June 1, in fact, which is also my deadline for this book. That cannot be coincidence!

It also means that get togethers we'd have put off until June can't be put off, so we're tending to do whatever comes up now because we know it may be a long time before we can do it again.

We also have an anniversary, a birthday celebration, and I'm on temporary duty watering my mother's yard while she visits my sister in New Mexico. Plus Quigley, who has settled down a great deal, though he's still AWFUL with visitors and still needs some sort of serious outing every day. We alternate between the two mile walk, the three mile walk and an hour or two at the dog park, where he is extremely friendly to all the people and really quite nice, except for the jumping up. They are mostly dog people though, so they aren't too bothered and he's not too intense about it, either.
Anyone who comes to our house for a visit, however, will be assaulted and mauled in his exuberance. He seems to think people enjoy being punched in the stomach by his paws, and also that they like to have their arms held in his mouth. We are having trouble getting through to him that they do not...

As for Enclave... I finished chapter 26 last week, then went back to address 24, which meant I first had to go back to chapters 2 and 5 to put in all the changes I'd decided they needed. That done, I finished 24 and am now about halfway through ch 27, lost in the chaos of all the possible things that could happen, trying to figure out which things will happen, and how they all interelate in terms of cause and effect. It's very fluid. I'm determined not to get all upset when the chaos comes, just take it in stride and wait for it all to settle out.

I am close to the end now, but I still don't know how far, exactly. Things are combining and telescoping in ways I hadn't anticipated, so what had a week ago looked like chapters and chapters worth of material, doesn't look like quite so much now. And it IS only a first draft!

Have a great week

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Flies, Flyswatters and Flying

I started chapter 26 today, and here's the nonstop I wrote (slightly edited) about 2:19pm trying to get myself jumpstarted:

Okay, here goes. I’ve been dinking around, doing everything but writing. I’ve been... I don’t even know what I’ve been doing. Fooling with Quigley. Looking up reviews of Charlie Wilson’s War. Because I thought it was lame and wanted to know if someone else did too. Apparently not. All the reviews I found were very positive.

So. I ate lunch. And I don’t know what else. Frittered. Oh, I wrote in my journal. Killed flies. Melted the flyswatter. Got the snail mail.

So. (Again.) Here I am. I’ve at least been thinking about ch 26. Oh yeah, and the cover for The Enclave they’re working on at BHP has come through. I don't know what I think about it, yet, except that it features the top of a woman's face and Cam is turning out to be the stronger, more central character of my male/female pov's. Even though Lacey starts the story.

So... (for the third time.) "So" is some kind of conjunction, isn’t it? A summarizing? A leading to? Well, I can see that even here nonstopping I’m going to just ditz and be blank and accomplish absolutely nothing. I thought earlier that maybe it would be better to try to work through editing chapters that I’ve already drafted than to just do what I’ve been doing today. Kill flies... melt the flyswatter -- Oh, and I looked for the source of the flies, too, because there are way too many and I’m convinced something is manufacturing them. Last time this happened, it was a bunch of dog food kibbles that had gotten knocked under the refrigerator. First I had discovered a stream of maggots on a march across the kitchen floor from the fridge to the freezer, then found the dog food kibbles under the latter and in a dark corner, riddled with holes! Gross!

So today I immediately used a flyswatter handle to knock the kibble out from under the fridge. There were only a couple kibbles, but they weren’t riddled with holes. Nor were there any maggots. I think I’ve gotten all the food sources out from under the the refrigerator, and also the freezer, and under the garbage can. I can't think of any other place. So where are all the flies coming from? Oh, and I melted the flyswatter by putting it on a still-hot burner (one of the disadvantages of having a ceramic cooktop stove). Then I had to clean plastic off the burner and cut off the burned parts of the flyswatter's swatter.

So.(Number 4) This is really and truly blither today. Could I at least try to address the subject? Lacey arrives at the party...

And from there things took off. I got on a roll, the timer went off, I ignored it and now, two hours later I have 7 pages of sketch/draft for chapter 26. How about that?


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Annual Bassett Hound Olympics

The Annual Bassett Hound Olympics was held in Ocean City New Jersey last month. I thought this video was good for a laugh, or at least a smile. Though I think it's unfair to compare their athletic abilities with other dogs. I mean, their legs are short. Their bodies are almost as long as Quigley's. Their ears are longer. It's not fair to expect them to be able to jump and run when they don't have any legs...


I'm not surprised that I might enjoy watching such laid back hounds, sort of a break from the totally unlaid back hound I live with.

We took Quig to the dog park tonight. He was going nuts in the yard and car. Had earlier been fighting with his big Milk Bone can, digging random holes and eating the bermuda grass roots (Bear used to eat the grass; Quigley digs it up and eats the roots. How weird is that?) So he gets in the dog park and instead of running madly around like the little Weimaraner who's only a month younger, he trots from person to person (jumping on them happily), and spends a lot of time in contemplative sniffing. C'mon, Quigley! We brought you here to romp, not sniff. Admittedly at home he can't smell the smells he's smelling there, but still... He really likes all the people, and the people mostly like him.

Finished ch 25 today. More or less.


Monday, May 05, 2008

What Happens Next

I reached chapter 25 last Friday. Then the weekend came. We had a work party on Saturday afternoon, and then Communion and pot luck on Sunday, so I didn't get much work done either day. But today I got back to work... staring out the window, lying on the couch watching the penguins, trying to figure out What Happens Next.

My agent called me last week, just to touch base. It's been awhile since we've talked and for all he knew I could have suddenly started writing Prairie Romances. I assured him that would not happen.

We talked about my process, and he said I write with outtakes. I just get these snippets of scenes -- a few lines of dialog, an image, a situation -- but I have no idea where they go, or what they have to do with each other. I just sense that they are supposed to be there. It's much more intuitive than logical or linear. Which is not the easiest way to do things. But I like that observation. I've been dealing with my "outtakes" today, writing around the edges of them and slowly but surely they are expanding into something.

Like when a character I thought was somewhere else began to intrude on the sequence I was writing today, and by the end he was the whole point of the scene. He and Cam even had a conversation that took me totally by surprise.

Back to my agent, though. Because we also talked about the next book, and I learned that Bethany House is waiting for me to send them a synopsis. Imagine that! Well, I have a book I already started developing back right after Arena sold, but it's a lot different from what I'm doing now. I'm quite intrigued by it and would love to write it, but maybe I should do something more along the lines of what I'm doing now.

Like I have time to be thinking of that, when all my brain is used up trying to figure out What Happens Next in Enclave. But that's God's problem, not mine. Mine is chapter 25, and I now have almost 12 pages of that written. Only a few places left to figure out before the chapter's done.