Lessons from My Reading

M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Twirling Around

Trivia:  The leaves swirled around us while we were running around in bigger circles.  The coming cold front will probably end Charlotte Armstrong and the red rose's blooming for the year.  Want to be the zucchini survives another cold snap?

Reading:  Interrupted my Charlaine Harris reading kick.  When we learned the local museum charged to enter, we went to a bookstore to kill some time.  Ended up spending $30+ instead of $6.  One of my goodies was the hard bound Patricia Brigg's Homecoming.  Enjoyed the story though I thought the artwork too similar to the Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake one by the same publisher.  Maybe I mis-remember, but I thought there was a greater stylistic difference in paper covered comics.  (I'm sure some artists did more than one series.)  -- If I get ambitious, I might do a little research to find out.  Doubt it though.  I'm lazy in my old age.

I did finish Grave Sight, the first of Charlaine Harris' Harper Connelly series.  Must say I like her southern kick.  Also like her turn of a phrase:  "...people used to shedding authority..."  and "...shooting accusations...", to name a couple.  The who-dun-it was also intriguing though she kind of telegraphed the ending when she mentioned the sheet of paper with the blood types.  No evil master-minds here, just bunglers trying to hide their mistakes by digging themselves deeper into the mess.  Harris satisfies my interest in small group dynamics.  Also, her main character got struck by lightening to gain her ability to locate the dead.  Nice to see the different character twist.


Grave Sight was published in 2005 after Harris published multiple books.   Maybe sales give you permission to use lots and lots of passive tenses.  Or, maybe passives are an easy target for critiquers on the boards, like adverbs, and editors don't necessarily throw up their hands in horror when they see a passive.  Is there a "do want I say and not what I do" phenom in publishing as well as parenting? 


Writing:  Plodding along.  Can't fine tune my writing schedule though.  The problem of "what to do when" disappears only to reappear.   I'm getting Tangled chopped, but progress on Emma is slow.  I'm going to try working on Emma in the mornings to see if I can get more words written at a sitting.

Progress:  1500 words chopped from chapter 8 of Tangled.  Maybe, thanks to my critiquers, I'm learning to catch all my duplicate descriptions.  I'll probably remain too wordy for current publishing standards.

Question:  If I write fantasy, why do I read so much mystery?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Falling over My Feet

Trivia:  Leaves are turning fast in our yard -- except for the peach and apricot, but they're never in sync with the Colorado weather.  Since we aren't getting enough, we went up the Rist Canyon to see more leaves.  The road is winding, hilly and narrow all the way from Bellvue to Stove Prairie and down the Poudre Canyon.  Since it was Monday morning, almost all the traffic was going the opposite way.  -- Nice to break the routine.

Oh, we almost got too close and personal with a couple deer who didn't have sense to stay in the yard where they were grazing.

Reading:  I've started a Charlaine Harris marathon.  When I went to B&N, I couldn't find Koontz where I thought he'd be (to stock up on Odd books to read them in sequence).  Found Harris' Harper Connelly series, so that's what I'll read.  Now I can only hope I don't decide to go back to Voices of Ghost Creek.  I've got enough on my writing plate.

Read Harris' A Secret Rage, a stand alone about catching a rapist -- of the main character and a couple of her friends.  The mystery has all the elements of enjoyment.  Nicely drawn characters, even the secondary ones.  A nice trail of clues.  A satisfying climax.  It kept me reading past my bedtime.  Maybe more important, that southern atmosphere.

Writing:   Emma bopped me up the side of the head.  Figuratively, that is.  Came up with another character out of nowhere and had to do a little research of Skadi, a Norse goddess of winter and other things.  When I went back into my character/location log to save my notes, I found I'd been writing by the seat of my pants.  

So, last night I updated a lot of stuff like I should have been doing the last couple months.  Physical characteristics.  Tics.  Favorite words.  Basic attitudes.  Wishes and desires.  Weaknesses.  All that stuff -- What was I thinking not to keep it up to date?  Not much, obviously.  


So, Maxim 10001:  Defining your characters makes your book easier to write.


Found a treasure trove in B&N yesterday -- besides the coffee and cinnamon scone and Harris' books.  Was looking to see if they were stocking Realms of Fantasy again ... if they're publishing again.  Anyway I discovered Writer's Digest's Novel Writing.  All sorts of good stuff from getting ideas to marketing after a book is published.  

The last article is a discussion of why novelists need a platform just as non-fiction writers do.  -- I know the info is useful, but I want to be a hermit; it suits my disposition.  

Progress:  Not much.  It was the weekend.  Did get my crits done, so now am waiting to read the next chapters. 

Won't be writing as much tonight either.  Castle is on the TV.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

The World Upside Down

Trivia:  The cats are upset.  On Thursday, their favorite lounging chairs went out the door to be recovered.  The monkeys have uncomfortable replacement chairs (in comparison), but cats don't do uncomfortable.  Worse, they can't curl up in the same chair and sleep all afternoon.  They don't fit.  -- Monkeys don't have to have wings to be evil in some universes.

Reading:  I've given up on Barbara Hambly's Traveling with Vampires.  The bookmark remained stuck at page 60-something.  I scanned a couple chapters, but the book didn't draw me back in.

So, what goes wrong when a favorite author writes a book you can't read to the end?  I'm not looking for the "wow" factor -- when you end up reading until 2-3 in the morning because you can't put the story down.  All I want is an enjoyable read to give me a break from writing, cooking, TV, and whatever.  One thing:  I'm not into the vampire thing -- good or bad or both.  

I've been thinking about it for a day and came to the conclusion it was the characters.  They all went in the cliche column.  

Must say in the positive column, train travel added a different dimension [in contrast to carriages], but she didn't exploit the captivity of traveling by train.  Corsets presented another problem.  The character struggles with them, but avante guarde Edwardian ladies did without them.  So, the protagonists ran all over Europe (Turkey included) chasing vampires and their henchmen (women).  Eeh.


Now I have to find something else to read along with Rutherfurd's The Forest.  Maybe Kootz's Odd? 


(Aren't I supposed to be reading young adults and/or fantasy?  I'll have to settle for another episode of the Omega Factor [old British TV program].)


Writing:  Emma and crew are stuck in a smelly cell, waiting to be rescued.  I have to flesh out the spriggen nastiness, but that'll probably end up after I finish the draft.  At this point, I want to get an ending on the book.


Tangled?  It's still getting chopped.  


One of my critiquers on this made a comment that changed my perspective on my Half-Elven.  I decided to concentrate on Kerry (a child) because she was the vulnerable member of the cast.  She still is, but the emphasis of the books is more abstract -- dealing with societal changes.  Yeah.  Really, marketable, huh?


Whatever, now I'm going back, yet again, and changing things.  Isn't learning wonderful?


Progress:  Not much.  I'm playing as much solitaire as I'm writing.  (Not counting the blog.)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Another Day

Trivia:  Yesterday, we were going to look at the leaves, only the forecast said rain on the flats.  It's too early to drive in snow, even possible snow, so we went to Loveland instead.  Schmidts for a krautburger lunch.  Yumm.  You can't get a good krautburger in our town.  [My Russian German background sneaks in in odd places.]


Then, on to the Loveland museum for their ofrenda exhibit -- Memento Mori.  While interesting and worth the drive, I'm not into rococo.  Too ornate for my taste.  You can't see anything for the clutter.  Bottom line:  I'm glad I didn't have to set up the exhibit.  Maybe the pieces were glued together.  I hope so.


Comment:   The papers and magazines are saying that the "people" don't think the Obama administration is solving our economic problems quick enough.  Do they really expect instant results?


The problems took over a decade to develop.  The Republicans turned the "free market" loose during the Clinton administration by reversing the bank regulation put in place during the Depression.  Their reason:  the market experts, not government, knew how to regulate best.  Their Greed reigned and eventually exploded in our faces -- and wallets.  Logic says, it'd take a while to clean up the systemic mess thus created.  But what do I know?  Maybe someone has a direct line to a miracle worker?  I haven't seen any sign of it.  Only hot air.


So far, one good result: no one is talking about privatizing retirement accounts.


Reading:  I'm reading less.  The new television series have arrived.  Castle.  The Forgotten.  I even watched Eastwick last night, but don't know if I'll continue.  I could always rent the movie or read the book ... if I wanted to visit that world.  Maybe, it's because Cher isn't there.  (She was in that movie, wasn't she?)


Picked up a Barbara Hambly book, Traveling with Vampires which ended up being a disappointment.  Right off, the first chapter didn't clue me into the time period.  I waited until the second chapter to learn it was set in Edwardian times, just before WWI.  The vampires are the gothic kind with a helpful faction and an evil one plus the academic heros.  Why are smart female characters in historical novels always wearing spectacles?  [Of course, I don't read books where vampires are the primary characters ... except for the Anita Blake series and ??...]

How disappointing was Traveling?  Let's just say, I got to page 66 in the week.  I'm on page 52 of Charlaine Harris' A Secret Rage in one day.  In between, I read two sections of Edward Rutherfurd's The Forest.  [I reread the sections like short stories.]


Writing:  Back to the Rococo thing.  One of my faults when drafting a WIP is saying the same thing twice, maybe more times.  It doesn't bother me that much because I figure I can always take the best description and eliminate the rest.  It helps reduce the word count.



But in working through Tangled, my second writing effort, I find there is another way I repeat.  I show the action, then tell the reader what's happening.  I wonder how many other beginning writers do the same thing.  Of course, I'm deleting some and my critique partners are finding others I missed.  More words on the chopping block.  [Am in chapter 8, almost ready to start 9.]  -- We won't talk about backstory.



Whatever, I find I'm trying to imitate Lee Child's style ... which may not be such a good thing with YA fantasy.  But, then, Tangled isn't YA.  It's a multi-character driven adult political fantasy.  I think I got off to the wrong foot by emphasizing the kid character in the book, something I did because I needed a vulnerable character.  Adult elves aren't much vulnerable except to boredom.


Progress:  Tangled.  I'm thinking of getting rid of the "Austel's Idiot" angle in the title, queries, etc.  Am about a fourth through the chopping an eliminated 10,000 words.  It may actually get down to a reasonable size when I get to the print editing phase.


Emma?  Finished chapter 13 and found out why Fritha lured her into Faery. [Not the reason I thought.]  I even know how she's going to escape in 14.  I'm getting to the end of this WIP because of the water constraints.  You can only go so long without drinking water and you can't carry much in a knapsack.



 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Crutches

Trivia:  It snowed on the last day of summer.  It didn't freeze hard enough to kill the zucchini, so it will still flow onto my kitchen counters.  If I had the courage of my convictions, I'd yank it up by the roots.  I don't.  So, I wait for the frost to do my dirty work.

Writing:  I've decided that beta readers/ critiquers are a crutch.  One I rather keep in my life.  I've learned so much about my writing from them, not all of it good.  (I make the dippiest of mistakes that even I know better to make in the heat of the writing.)  More important, they catch the stuff my eyes glaze over.  I read it but my brain doesn't catch it -- even though I catch the same thing in other books.  Even published ones.

I wonder if other unpublished writers get discouraged when they see "beginner mistakes" get published.  I don't get discouraged per se, but if there are too many, I put the book down.  My internal editor stifles my enjoyment of the story.


Progress:  I got Emma off the hill and into the arms of the villeins!!!  Or at  least, into their castle which is rather stupidly made with two towers opposite each other -- instead of building their bailey in the center of the fort on raised ground.  That's a plot point I had no idea about.  I'm going to have to use it in some way.  Until then, Emma gets to contend with the lady who lured her into Faery in the first place.


Tangled is still getting chopped.  Up to Chapter 7, and the pace remains almost 1000 words a chapter.  (So far the multi-character plot progresses.)  But the times I say the same thing twice, only a little bit differently!!!  Thank you critiquers for pointing them out.  Also, when I use the same word three to five times on a page.  I don't always catch them myself.  -- Only one chapter got eliminated, but I may be able to turn it into a short story or novella.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Unintended Consequences

Comment:  Couldn't resist shooting my mouth off about Cairo's pig problem.

Cairo isn't the most modern city in the world, by a long shot.  From what I've read they rely on the super-poor and animals -- especially pigs -- to take care of their garbage.  People throw it out on the street , and someone worse off than they cart it off or eat it.

Then the swine flu started roaming the globe.  To prevent a possible epidemic, Egyptian officials took the easiest solution by getting rid of the pigs so they couldn't act as incubators.  After all, the pigs mostly belonged to the Christian Copts, a minority.  Who cared, besides them.  Hundreds of thousands of pigs died to keep humans safe from disease.

Only there was all that organic garbage the dead pigs no longer ate.  It keeps piling higher and deeper.  I'd guess Cairo smells pretty much the same as Naples at the height of its garbage crisis. 


Writing:  Really mean to get Emma off the hill today.  Got my critiques done.



So far, this is my writing accomplishment for the day, and I still have the comics to read.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Passive Voice, Passive Lives

Trivia:  Got the old man to do something new today.  After the farmer's market (corn, tamales, chilis, peaches, honey for baklava and other good stuff) and coffee, we walked down to the Poudre along one of the Martinez Park trails.  Lovely.  Trees, people, bikes, grasshoppers, dogs, horses -- all using the trail without crowding each other.   A nice quiet walk with birds and the murmur of 287 traffic in the background.

We usually walk  the Spring Creek Trail near Rolland Moore Park.  I see a switch in trails even though we have to drive further and no fishies.  Too much garbage and dodging bicycles.  

Comments:  Just plain disgusted with the whole narcissistic political mess.  Like my bumper sticker says:  "Invest in America.  Buy a Congressman."  Don't think it matters much which party's in power.

One comment does come to mind.  Somewhere I read: 'Invent it in America, manufacture it elsewhere.'  -- And the corporate goons think the American body-politic is going to buy us out of a recession.  Can't they see the unintended consequences of sending American jobs overseas?


Reading:  Finished Louise Penney's No Rules for Murder ... or some such thing.  Dinner Group is tonight, and I have to take it to a friend to read.  Not as much head hopping in Rules and some nice background on Gamache's life.

Have to decide what to read next.  Probably rereading Rutherford's The Forest.  Talk about telling!  I wonder if he could even get it published without major chopping now days, but history is seldom so palatable.  Besides, Salisbury is one of my favorite British cities.

Writing:  Not much is going to get done today.  I have to cook munchies for the Dinner Group. (We've been meeting mostly once a month for forty years now.  Our conversations have switched from diapers/babysitters to medicines/ailments.)

Emma's still on her hill, but I hope to get her off of it tomorrow. 

Tangled is still hogging my sitting time.  While it's the 'second' book I wrote, it'll probably be the most salable of the six if only because of the sexual politics intertwined with the civil/military politics.  Actually, it's rather embarrassing to read, but my critiquers are slapping me into shape -- catching passives, adverbs, telling, and confused sentences.  Back story is getting eliminated up an down the chapters. 

Have gone back to the title:  "Austel's Idiot: Caught in a Tangle Maze".   Yes, there is another one:  "Austel's Idiot: Dark Solstice".


Plenty of passives in writing this, but that wasn't what I was aiming for.  I ran out of time so on-going past action action will have to wait.


Progress:  Chapter 6 of Tangled is now 4200 words, down from 5900.  Talk about unnecessary verbage.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ann, you're sorely missed.

Today, I went to the nursing home to visit you, as I usually didYour door was closed, and the nurse said you had died.  Only she used the euphemism "passed away". 

Your evil twins miss you.  The three of us will never shock waiters again.

More of the Same

Trivia:  My husband seems to be coming to the end of his picture project -- turning his 30+ years worth of slides, which gathered dust in a box, into prints.  He's been putting the prints into albums, one for each of his trips.  

The personal pictures end up on the dining room table for me to put in albums.  I thought I got the things in order by year (about five inches stacked) -- when he scatters another bunch on the table.  Guess, it's nice to get them organized into albums, but I suspect they'll still gather dust.  

(I'm behind at my end of the project, but it's nice to see pictures of the kids when younger.)


Comment:  David Brooks, of News Hour fame, made an interesting observation in the New York Times  yesterday (15 September 2009) in his column. He discusses how we turned from a humble people (WWII, sort of my generation) into a narcissistic one (now).  In the opinion piece, he quotes the London Times to the effect that  "fascism had stood for grandiosity, pomposity, boasting and zeal."  

My thought:  "Ouch!"  If the news media is right. the description fits too high a percentage of Americans to a "T".  



Reading:  Finished Riordan's Percy Jackson series, The Last Olympian.  I liked the twist on the word "last".  The last Olympian wasn't the stalwart warrior standing against all odds against the evil hordes, though that's an important part of the book.  No, she was Hestia, keeper of the hearth.  You know, keeping the home fires burning against all odds.   Incidentally, I thought the ending gave a nice conclusion though some might think it a little long.



I've already started Louise Penny's newest Gamache novel -- a Three Pines mystery away from Three Pines.  Not as much head hopping in this one, but she still uses multiple viewpoints.  I'm liking the linear effect of her writing while getting an insight into all the possible suspects.


Writing:  Poor Emma, she's stuck on a hill waiting to get captured by the spriggens.  Unfortunately, Kerry of Tangled has usurped her.



Wondering when revision is done.  I'm guessing:  not until a story/novel is sold.  

Looked at the short story that was the basis for There Be Demons (unagented, unsold), screeched and revised it.  The 2700 word story now weighs in at 2300 words.  Now, I've gotta do some revisions in the book to include the better ideas I came up with.


Progress:  Working on chapter 6 of "Lost in a Tangled Maze".   Maybe 5,000 words removed. --  An example of how important critiquers are:  By the time my beta readers tagged all the "telling" and other weak points (like adverbs and commas), chapter 2 dropped another 500 words.  They weren't missed when I reread it this morning.


Guess Tangled is the only thing I'm working on for the now, except this blog.



 

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Critiques Piling UP -- and I'm Playing with This?

Trivia:  Got back from the farmers' market.  [The old man's accumulating squash for the winter.  I buy kettle corn for breakfast.]  Anyway I cooked posole for dinner.  The aroma of the house as I came in the door was heavenly.  Much better than fried fish.

Another nice thing about farmers' markets:  You meet people you know but don't normally see.  Discovered a friend had an apricot poodle I didn't know about.  [It went crazy over the cat smell all over my clothes.]


Comment:  I had a sneaky suspicion that I was spending more money than usual.  When I checked, I was.  Things like going out to restaurants and buying books.  No big deal because we have the money.  It's just out of character.  

Then I noticed where the money was going.  To mom-&-pop places that I would like to see survive the recession.  The US of A must be in bad shape when your spending turns into charity.

If so many people weren't getting caught in the middle, I'd be laughing at the corporate-America mind-set/ethos.  They shipped hundreds of thousands of jobs overseas to improve their bottom line and increase executive pay, then expected the public to keep buying.  I rest my case for the intelligence of corporate group-think.

Reading:  Am well into the fifth book of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series -- The End of the Olympians [I think.  I'm not going down stairs to look it up.].  I'll finish it because I think it's a good case study in stringing action scenes together, even though I find them rather repetitive.    I also find it rather shallow in its characterization.  I can't quite excuse that away by saying the story is told from an adolescent male's viewpoint. 

Also bought a Barbara Hambly book about vampires.  I don't read about vampires, but there you are.  I'm a fan of hers, but I like the Ben January mysteries best.  [This was one of charity purchases.  I need another book ... like five pounds on my hips.]

Writing:  Am thinking my writing is a disaster at the moment.  I've got this short story which became the basis of my novel manuscript -- There Be Demons, and have been submitting it.  Rejections have come in regularly, some with nice personal comments.  I decided to look at it before I sent it out again.  Before I had chopped it down to 2700 words.  Now the story is 2300 words

Now I got to go back to the chapters I have to critique.  I recommend critiquing, beta reading, or whatever you want to call it.  I've learned a lot about revising and editing.  More important, I have a better idea about my bad habits from my critiquers.  Thanks all.

Progress:  Not much.  See comments about Night for the Gargoyles.

Friday, September 11, 2009

I've changed the title of this thing

Trivia:  The fall crocus are blooming.  If I crick my neck when I look out the bedroom window, I can see them -- with the purple asters bending over them and the bronze mums standing sentinel on either side.   If the silly apricot hadn't grown four feet when we pruned it two feet, I could see more of the back yard.

Writing:  I decided to change the title of my rantings to "Mutterings" and got a reward for returning early.  A friend from the Northern Colorado Writers signed up as a friend.  Now I have to stop procrastinating and figure out how to sign up as a friend on her blog.  (Hi, Pat.) -- I'm a computer idiot so this should be fun.


Before I start muttering curses, I want to mention Donald Mass's article in the Writer's Digest.  [I was sitting doing the morning cat lap thing, and there he was, the first article about passion in your writing.]  After my snort that I've never been passionate, I found a reaffirmation of one of the things I'm trying to do in my rewriting: get the vp character's reactions to the events just described.

Of course, Mass said it better:  "One technique is to include not what a particular plot turn means in the grand scheme of things, but instead what it means to your point-of-view character.  In other words, illuminate for that person not what has changed, but how she has changed.



Yeah,  the untangling of "Tangled" continues.  So far (five chapters) I've cut about 4,000 words.  Whether the cuts are an improvement waits to be seen.



 

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Creeping Forward

Trivia:  Tamales.  Tamales.  We're having tamales for supper tonight.  Good ones that are half meat, thanks to the farmer's market.

That reminds me of the opening lines (at least in the beginning) of Black Orpheous:  Cebolas.  Cebolas. --  which reminds me that I need to buy beef broth to make onion soup.

(With a mind that skips like that -- I think I can be a published writer?)

Comments:  Americans are getting a new taste of corporate might in their wallets -- debit cards. 

Now, I've never allowed a debit card in my wallet for fear of not keeping my check register straight.  But, my suspicious urban-peasant radar was working overtime without me knowing.  A recent New York Times (9 Sept 09) alerted me to why.

A lot of people, in the past, used debit cards because they thought they offered less problems than credit cards.  That was before the banks latched onto debit cards as a new profit center.  With computer systems that logged purchases to their advantage, banks started gathering all sorts of new fees, fees that cost the consumer more than a 25% interest credit card.  

Nothing's better for the old bottom line than arranging the flow of charges so someone gets an overdraft fee of $50.00 on a $6.00 overdraft.  Anyone care to calculate the interest rate on that?  Then, if you don't pay the statement balance in total, you get to pay interest on the fee.  Great racket?  

I can't believe how many people think corporate-america has the consumers interest at heart.  Or, those lobbyists-in-waiting in Congress.


Reading:  We went to Barnes & Nobel for coffee and a scone.  Yeah, we bought more books to decorate the house with -- mainly another Louise Penny for me.  (The old man bought Grimories (sp) and some goofy compilation of practical jokes.  Both of which I'll probably read.)   I need more books to read like another five pounds on my hips

I'm finally reading Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series.  Nice to have a whole new set of monsters than the usual vampires and werewolves ... and demons.  Too bad more writers don't mine Greek (and their Roman imitators) mythology.  Can you imagine a minotaur pining from unrequited love and going all moonie?  Or is that mooie?



Writing:  My fantasy-reading son (who is one of my early [only?] readers) keeps holding Riordan as an example.  To paraphrase:  "Action.  Action.  Action.  Your characters sit around and talk a lot."  

Whatever, after finishing the third book, I get what he was saying.  Riordan gives some great case studies for structuring a books with lots of action and fast moving chapters, even though the books are fairly long.  I have a suspicion that's one of the secrets to writing for boys.  After all, boys don't sit around and talk a lot.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Can't Win for Losing?

Trivia:   The recycling's done for this month!  We have to lug it to a station with eight truck-sized bins lined up in a row, each taking their own blend of garbage.  Plastics.  Newspapers.  Glass.  Cardboard and the stuff in between.  I wonder how much "improper stuff" is dumped in each bin.  Whatever, the place is in constant motions, like ants.  As soon as one car leaves, another takes its place.

Comments:   The Republicans are having another hizzy-fit over Obama's address to the school kids.  Both the sainted Reagan and Papa Bush did the same, but I guess only the righteous right has the privilege of "indoctrinating" the kids to do well in school.  --  Again, I wonder when the conservatives will wake up and address the real question facing our society and offer some workable solutions instead of grandstanding.

Wanna bet the lumpin-politik will forget the corporate fascists are responsible for getting rid of the regulations that allowed the current economic mess to happen?  A fifth grader should know:  if it's possible to milk the system, someone will line their pockets at others' expense until someone makes them stop.  Madoff, anyone?  At least, no one talks about privatizing social security anymore.


Reading:   Finished Patricia Brigg's Hunting Ground.  A satisfying read which I did in two days.  Liked the Seattle locale since I knew the environment from before the "freeway" disrupted everything.  The last time we were there I hardly knew the Pike's Street market with all the spendistas hogging all the parking spaces.

Can't wait for Brigg's new Mercy Thompson book to come out in mass paperback.  My kids would giggle over me being a cheapskate ... if they knew.  My lack of bookshelf space is the real reason for me not reading it yet.  I have two bookshelves (badly in need of pruning) to contain all my books.  I won't mention the books under my bed.

The library?  After a day, I can't find them under the piles of owned books scattered around the house.  Fines accumulate fast around here.

Kindle?  I don't wear a purse.


Writing:   Do I even want to talk about my lack of progress?  Actually, I am writing and accumulating copy.  Just not as much as I wish.  I'll be sticking out the slowness of Emma's journey into Faery and ignore the other ideas churning in my head.

I indulged in another vice beside solitaire to avoid writing last night -- watching the trailers about Christine Feehan's Dark series on YouTube.  Liked her comments, quoted from Romantic Times, I think, about writing slow but steady.  See?  I have an excuse for doing what I'm doing.  

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Waddling Along ...

Trivia:  Thanks to Whole Foods' storage facilities, we ate the last of the cherries today.  In September!!  The cherries came from Washington state so there's the little matter of eating local, buying local, small carbon footprints, whatever. 

Comment:  Quite a dilemma, being ecologically sound.  I'm a cheapskate so I figure that takes care of my ecological quota since I don't buy much coming all the way from China.  I do draw the line at giving up my coffee which comes from all over the world -- though usually fair trade.  Frankly, I can't remember life being so complicated for my parents, but that was another world ago.

Reading:  Finished L. L. Foster's: Servant; The Kindred.  From the feel of the ending, I guess this is only a trilogy rather than an "unending-everlasting".  Appreciated the urban fantasy without creepy-crawlies, just a paladin with light references to god and the church (Catholic).  Also, liked the size of the books.  Very little padding, or should I say wallowing around in the MC's emotions?

Writing:  Is there any way to disable the Solitare button?

On the Half-Elven front.  I'm working at cutting down the size of Tangled Maze.  Also, looking for a beta-reader relationship(s), knowing it will take awhile.  Got one great critique from Angel who nailed me for being wordy.  Me?

Kloken - Still, slogging away, but they found Glenda.

Oh, got a critique back from my lackadaisical crit group saying the ending of my short story (emotional vampires sort of) was too abrupt.  So I added two sentences.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Day, Another Blog

Trivia -- The grey cat has finished his morning lap time.  I've had time to think of what I'd write here -- once he stopped wiggling.  For some reason, we named him Wiggles when he was a kitten.  After five years, he hasn't calmed down much.

Comment --  A friend's now living in a nursing home -- probably for the long, painful slide out the door.  The place has signs all over saying they want the visitors, but not the flu.  (We want you, but not the flu.) -- Yet, the staff goes from room to room without washing their hands between people.  It probably doesn't make as much difference in a nursing home as a hospital, but still ...

Reading --   A friend gave me one of Louise Penny's Three Pines mysteries.  I had read a couple of them in the past, but wasn't as impressed as with the Charlene Harris' Lucy Bard books so never bothered to acquire the entire series.  --  I'm impressed with the way Penny handles the shifting viewpoints of the town's main characters and keeps a linear plot development going.  Quite a contrast from Elisabeth George's Careless in Red,  which I finished even though I found the beginning heavy slogging.  Some might call it head hopping, but I like knowing what else is going on while the mystery is being solved.  Guess my anthropological entanglements with village life are poking through.


Writing --  More like what I'm not writing.  After Colleen Lindsay offered her Backspace contest, I decided to rewrite the second book (Tangled in the Maze) in my Austel's Idiot trilogy?  series?.  Not that I really expect to win.  I think I did it because I was getting desparate because the Emma Klocken draft is not progressing.  It's still advancing in fits and starts -- at the pace of about 1000 words a week (instead of a day).