Tag Archives: writing

Socked in the Jaw

I spoke too soon and completely jinksed it. The neighbors woke me up 3 times last weekend including twice in one night (11:30am and 2:30am), there have been six cars parked there since I got home last night, they woke me up at 2:30 and 4:30 (!). Mom must be away again. argh.

Last week I was running some errands and had to transport various awkwardly shaped items to and from the car. In the process I managed misjudge what I was doing and hit my jaw on the corner of the car door really hard. I have a relatively high pain threshold and I still had to stand there for a couple of minutes with my eyes watering. It made me think of all those movies and TV shows where the hero gets beaten up and/or shot and then rappels out of a building and leaps into a helicopter and flies off to save the day. That wouldn’t happen.

I was out in the garden earlier looking for greens and I found raspberries. If it ever stops raining I need to get back out there and harvest.

Ms. is cooking along, still more slowly than I like, but I will meet my goals one way or another.

Coming soon: Clarion West Beg-a-thon. It the 10 year anniversary.

68512 / 75000 words. 91% done!

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The Good Place

There’s this comedy TV show called The Good Place that’s about this woman who dies and ends up in the Good Place when it seems that she should have ended up in the Bad Place. We’re already through a couple of season but I’m not going to spoil the story.

This season there was a bit where a character from the Bad Place is strategizing things that could be bad and one of them is this room where the New Yorker keeps coming and piling up, no matter how fast you read you can’t catch up.

My love/hate relationship with the New Yorker continues. Way more love than hate. More like love/exasperation.

Right now I’m powering through the summer double issue as fast as I can so I can go a whole week with no New Yorker. The double issues have this thing where they put short pieces in the middle of longer pieces.

I just realized that I cannot skip around in a magazine. I have to read from cover to cover. So when the article is interrupted I have to stop and read whatever is next and finish that before I go back to the first article. Yesterday I was reading a story that I wanted to finish but then it was interrupted.

“Just skip over and come back to this,” I told myself.

But I could not do it. I had to read the stuff out of order. Why does my brain work this way?

Last month was drier than normal and I was not on my watering game so I think my berries suffered a bit for it. One of the blue berries looks kinda sad, too.

The book is still there and still waking me up at night and still inching closer to completion. Backwards on the wordcount again.(GAH!)

67476 / 75000 words. 90% done!

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Everything Changes, Everything Stays the Same

Here’s a shot of the irises. They only last about a week and they’re kind of a pain. I don’t know why I feel bad every time I accidentally pull some of them up. Pretty while they last.

Here’s Percy — look how cute his leaves are. I found some fig forums online so I will be learning everything about figs. People who love figs are very passionate about figs. People who don’t know about figs are sad.

This is a giant dark opening behind the alien bush and inside the hedges in the backyard. Every time I do yard work there, I imagine a growling clicky sound like you hear in a horror movie while some unsuspecting lady hums while gardening and a giant creature with claws and teeth gets ready to tear her apart.

If you don’t hear from me, that’s what happened.

Still trying to fix the 90% draft and some sad back tracking happened this week. I nuked two chapter because they were a huge mess and sometimes it’s better to jettison stuff than try to fix it.

64163 / 75000 words. 86% done!

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We’re at 98% of a Flimsy First Draft

My goal was to have a first draft by the end of the month and I’m mostly there. I’m still working on it. I have a series of about five scenes that are more framework than actual draft and I am still filling those out so this is even skinnier than I would normally refer to as a first draft but I need a win so I’m giving it to myself.

I have almost two full months to get ready for first readers and I am going to need it. I struggle with all of these books in different ways which is exasperating. I want to have figured this out.

In other news, I nuked my Instagram account. This article helped me decide because this is my experience. People are posting fewer photos and more stories and often the stories are too long and I HATE that herky-jerky thing — I don’t need to know what it’s called. Also the ads are creepy — I will talk about something, like say, pizza, and then a pizza ad pops up in my timeline. We were talking about the opioid crisis at the office and then a drug ad showed up in my timeline. Creepy.

I still have a Twitter account and I reluctantly log in about 5 minutes or less a day, except Timbers games, when I spend a lot of time logged in because I like being with people sharing my joy or my pain, depending on what the team is doing.

A fig tree’s first spring leaves. There will be lots of photos of Percy.

A couple of miscellaneous notes:

New Yorker story about heirloom beans. I love everything about beans: stories about heirloom beans and other people who like beans, cooking beans, eating beans, pictures of beans, bean recipes, the bean store. I make lots of different kinds but generally we’re perfectly happy with pinto beans.

Neighbor report: woke me up again last night. *sigh*

I don’t know what’s going on with my word count meter. It was gone and then it came back and last time I checked it was gone again. Here’s a different one:

66254 / 75000 words. 88%

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Earning Our Highest Condiments

I’m not going to lie. There are daffodils out there but I don’t have time to get out the camera and take photos so these are from last year.

On Monday I came home from work and opened the refrigerator and the bracket that holds all the condiments in the refrigerator door popped off and condiments went flying.

I was not in the mood to deal with that problem. Fortunately, nothing broke so I transferred the condiments from the floor to any shelf where they would fit. I took the broken shelf and set it aside to deal with later.

Our refrigerator door holds a buttload of condiments and we love condiments and have very many. It became a problem to find anything in the fridge because every shelf was overflowing with condiments. I finally found a box, filled it with condiments and put them in the outside fridge.

I thought maybe I could fix the shelf but it’s a tiny wedge of broken plastic — just a teeny piece that holds it on the door. Poor design in my opinion. So then I dug out the paperwork that came with the fridge thinking I could pop online and order the part but I couldn’t figure it out. So I now look forward to what will no doubt be a long and aggravating telephone conversation with Sears to see if I can solve this problem. Plan B is duct tape.

All my energy that isn’t devoted to day-to-day survival is on Book #3. (I have a cover!) The situation will not change for some time.

(Yeah, it does look grim. There are still a couple of scenes ahead that aren’t counted in this but I’ve moved into panic mode.)

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I’m Back! Or Am I?

I saw this photo in my endless unedited photostream and it looked so otherworldly it took me awhile to figure out what it was. This is someplace in Madison, Wisconsin. I should look it up but I need to run out the door in 3 minutes.

I am back in town after a whirlwind trip to CA last weekend. I’m still running around trying to do more than I can handle. But I did some social things, too. And I baked two pies this morning and taking one to a get together this afternoon.

I have a story coming out in Apex Magazine tomorrow. Read the whole issue — it’s really good. Here’s the forward from guest editor Amy Sturgis. And don’t miss Rebecca Roanhorse’s story Welcome to Your Authentic Indian Experience. It’s a good companion piece with mine.

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Receding

Another look at downtown Portland in the Snow. This is on the park blocks behind the Schnitz looking north.

Below are photos of the snow at the park-n-ride, first seen here on the 18th. The photos below are the 23rd, 25th and 26th. I bet there’s still a little bit tomorrow.

I’ve got a bunch of sprouting bulbs — little green tips peeking up. I thought maybe something was digging up bulbs but the Internet tells me that’s something called winter heaving. I keep finding sprouted halves of bulbs on top of the dirt. I’m supposed to plant them deeper. Now I know.

No new words on Book 2 this week. That wasn’t completely unintentional. I had planned to take a few days off to write a draft of a short story that I thought I could whip out. Then the time that I had set aside for that project didn’t work out. It took me all weekend to get the draft whipped out. That’s still fast for me. We’ll see how long it takes for me revise it into something I would show someone.

It’s resting for now and I’m back to romance. I’m still on track for my deadline but just barely.

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Happy New Year

We made it to 2017. Hooray.

I made some ambitious writing goals so you can expect much more of the half-assed content you’ve grown accustomed to. (Or would that be much less?) I keep finding notes for posts stashed everywhere — on Mac stickies, in Evernote, on my phone, on regular paper. I don’t know why I fail between that step and pasting it in right here.

I’ve had a good winter break. I always wish it were a little longer but I’m well-rested and more or less on top of my list. Less, actually. Perhaps one of my 2017 goals will be to let more things slide. Don’t tell Bob.

This time of year I clean off my bookshelves. The idea is to take books away to make room for the new books. I give the old books away or sell them back. Very rarely, I will throw a book away. A number of years ago I read a book that was beautifully written, wonderful characters and the worst story. This poor lady was a good, decent person trying to do something and everyone was against her and in the end she had nothing and was run out of town.

WHY EVEN WRITE THAT BOOK?

One less copy exists now. You’re welcome.

In the process of going through my shelves I always come across books that I forgot I had or that I still want to read. I found one such book and opened it and the purchase receipt from 2004 fell out. I still think I’m going to read it.

Keep your feet warm.

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Little Big Snow

My super big news, is that pen name received a *Recommended Read* review from Dear Author (prominent romance review site).

I knew there was a reason I still hadn’t worked on my best of list for this year and this book is it. Yep, it’s going on it for a number of reasons but I’ll cut to the chase and say it’s one of the best overall books I’ve read this year.

–Jayne at Dear Author.

This is a review site that I am a big fan of, however I’ve backed off romance reviews lately because I was buying 3 books for every 1 I read and I resolved (unsuccessfully, so far!) to catch up on reading what I have before I bought anything new.

I am now more motivated than ever to work on Book 2.

I’m trying to learn to use textures in my endless quest to be better at Photoshop. I don’t think these are excellent examples, but you gotta learn somehow.

We had just enough snow with a lovely coating of ice to make life interesting around here for a few days. It’s supposed to warm up tomorrow and stay above freezing so fingers crossed we’re in good shape for the holidays.

One last thing, the salsa update: I had this weird accumulating liquid issue in the fridge that I kept wiping up without realizing there was a problem. I vaguely remember dropping the salsa container. Must have been enough to crack the container. All that’s left in there now is salsa paste (still tastes good!).

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Updated RED TAPE Stories from Indian Country

This quick little project that was going to be done in August is finally finished. Well, except for the paperback. I’m working on it.

The selected stories have some connection to the people and lands of the Karuk Tribe.

The updated collection has three additional stories:

Lottie v. The Moon Hopper (originally appeared in Future Lovecraft).

The Last Willow Stick on the River and Reservation Jobs (originally appeared in Yellow Medicine Review).

Willow Stick and Jobs have no speculative elements and I gnashed my teeth about including them but in the end decided: it’s my collection, I can do what I want.

Here’s the background on the original nine stories:

The Battle of Little Big Science
(previously appeared in Asimov’s Science Fiction) This was my Clarion West week #3 story.

Estelle Makes the Casino Run
(previously appeared in Innsmouth Free Press) I wrote this for a contest with my Clarion West classmates.

Social Security
(previously appeared in The Wordstock Ten) This was my submission story for Clarion West.

Field Work
This was my Clarion West week #2 story. Are you seeing a theme here?

The Medicine Woman of Talking Rock
Yup, Clarion West Week #5.

Repercussions
Clarion West Week #6. This was me trying to do something different since you’re supposed to stretch yourself at the workshop.

Trusted Leader
This was my Week #7 story – the first thing I wrote after I left the workshop. The process was gruesome but I like the way it came out after about 5000 drafts.

Fish Killer
This story has nothing to do with Clarion West. I was upset about the dredge mining situation on the Klamath and needed to work it out.

The Casino Gargoyle
This was another submission story I wrote when I misunderstood the application instructions.

Purchase links:

Kindle | Apple | Kobo | Nook | Paperback

If you already bought it but want the updated version, drop me a note. We can work something out.

I have a couple of new short stories floating around out there. Hopefully I’ll have some news to share on that soon.

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