Maybe it's the fleeting touch of spring in the air. Maybe it's the pressure to Get Things Done. Maybe it's a response to finally—for months, and without non-fiction distractions—focusing on stories. Or maybe it's a delayed rebound from the multiple years I chose to ignore all the ideas. Whatever the cause, I find myself beset night and day by the internal demand I get everything written NOW.
I'm blasting through the rest of Sand of Bone now, making swifter progress now that I feel more immersed in the world. Suddenly, this idea trotted in this morning that I should completely cut the middle book from the trilogy. I could do it, with the creation of a new set-up for what's now the third book, and I'm liking the ideas more and more.
The second book wouldn't be just lost words, though. On the heels of the above thought came the inkling of a different story that could be told of the characters and culture that fill much of the second book.
Grumpy Neb from The Drunkard keeps tossing me his observations about his young charge, smart and sexy Lin from The Slaughterer is forever just sitting down to dinner with his huge family because that's the scene from which the entire plot flows, and the narrator of the final book in the Chant series is whispering angry tidbits at me.
Three key scenes from Surrender run through my thoughts over and over. I drove home from Asheville with another novel idea rattling around, and had a rough plot sketched by the time I got home—one that will connect with the Indy book I still plan to finish, and the Charleston book I decided to write when I visited That Man.
Because I really, really needed another project. Because having ten novels in various stages ranging from "nearing final draft" to "collection of ideas and plot points" simply wasn't enough.
Sweet New Idea Muse, surely there must be a writer out there staring at a blank page who could use a touch of your inspiration. Truly, I will be just fine if you move along to the next gal. But if you're worried about how I'll do without you, you could leave your kind cousins Word Count and Revision to watch over me.
(Aside: That Man continues to be awesome and fascinating and kind and fun and someone I'm happy to have in my life. Hee.)
Last weekend was spent in Asheville, North Carolina with That Wonderful Man. Fabulous food, great conversation, and cool outings. He and I both have exciting things in the works. I so enjoy hearing him talk about things he's passionate about. I came home feeling all warm and glowing and other cheesy things. I am already looking forward to seeing him again.
The dojo is growing so quickly I decided I needed help sooner rather than later, so I began training a woman who can help with some of the administration and sales. We're fortunate to have found someone who has not only the job skills, but the understanding of and passion for our program. In addition to the new help, we're reconsidering our spring and summer schedule because of the high number of new students coming through our doors. This is a good problem to have, as long as we continue to manage it properly.
The Storybundle launch has been pretty awesome. The rising sales numbers has put me in a marvelous mood. More on that experience as it unfolds.
Revisions for SAND are back on track, and I'm so very happy with the results. The changes are moving the plot and character arcs away from their formal residence, Rim of Melodrama. I am so much happier with the results, though still resigning myself to the fact I'll not be finishing these revisions until late March. I simply don't have the hours.
Dev achieved a solid, productive school day without me needing to prod and nag. That was, in truth, the biggest anti-stress event of the day.
Last night's dreams were totally weird, but oddly connected. In every one of them, I was traveling. In one, I was stranded at the airport without a ticket for my return flight and no way to get one. In another, I was wandering up and down a beach, at night, trying to find my hotel. In another, I was wandering through a hotel/mall/casino looking for my room.
A bit of that might be because I realized last night that the cruise Dev and I had considered booking back in December was likely the same one that limped into Mobile last night.
Tonight, Dev and I will celebrate a family Valentine's Day by seeing A Good Day To Die Hard. What else would a mother and son who spar together go see? :)
Cool little things:
First: One of my favorite people from my high school years is my drama coach. As an actor, he taught me a great deal about how to be comfortable—and therefore be real—on stage, and one of my coolest high school experiences was acting as his stage manager when he directed 1984. We still chat on the phone now and then, and have managed to see each other in person twice in the last twenty years. I tell you all this so you'll understand how unbelievably awesome it was to hear him say he can see me in Sword and Chant.
Second: A complete stranger gave Sword and Chant four of five stars over at Goodreads. I'm telling you this because... Well, because you're my friends, and I'm so ridiculously jazzed I keep giggling. :)
Our Christmas tree is up! This is an accomplishment. Last year, I put up a tree with a few standard glittery ornaments because I didn't want to pull out the special ornaments. Special ornaments hold memories—that's their purpose—and neither Dev nor I were interested in swimming in that ocean. We didn't put lights outside, either. We didn't do much of anything but get through the first Christmas without his father.
This time, Dev volunteered to help. There are only special ornaments on the tree. And since we have a much smaller tree (because we have a much smaller space for it!), those special ornaments fill the spaces perfectly. If it ever stops raining, or freezing, we will put up some outside lights as well. Nothing huge, but enough to reclaim the season.
Above all else, I am grateful beyond measure that my son still talks with me. One night last week, he brought up a very serious topic while we were driving home. I didn't want to risk losing the connection—when a teenager starts talking from the heart, the smallest thing can stop the flow—so we sat in the car, in the driveway, in the cold darkness for a couple of hours as he talked his way through missing his father, grieving for the carefree teenage years he will never know, and figuring out what he wants to do next.
A couple of days later, he went to his first employee Christmas party. He was, of course, the youngest there by about five years, but had a blast. His coworkers like him and treat him well. He said it was the first time he didn't feel awkward at a big party. I think it's because it was the first party he'd attended that wasn't geared to young teenagers.
In two and half weeks, I leave for California to spend a few days in a treehouse with That Man (who is still wonderful, awesome, handsome, and understanding), then I'll head down the coast to spend a couple days with dear friend Patricia in either San Luis Obispo or Carmel, depending upon schedules. As thrilled as I am with the ongoing enrollment at the dojo (two new people last night!), I could really use the break.
Since moving to the new dojo location about two months ago, my number of students has doubled.
Still working on Sand -- some revising, some new writing, and a great deal of checking for details that no longer apply and/or need to be altered to fit its new worldbuilding parameters.
Sword and Chant has now sold in the UK, a fact I find totally frakking cool.
That Man is still, to my great happiness, in my life. I'm so looking forward to spending New Year's with him.
I'm still looking for an extra two or three hours a day. If anyone finds a stash of unused hours, please let me know.
And it wasn't just Browne. He'd brought other artists along. My absolute fave was Sara Watkins. Awesome and real and earthy and ethereal. She plays that fiddle like crazy. I adored her. She made me laugh and smile and cry. If you haven't already, check out her music. My current favorite is "Take Up Your Spade."
As I mentioned in this previous post, I'm choosing to remove the act of rape from the novel, and those revisions require a shift of motivation and personality for the primary antagonist. And that happens in the first chapter. From the first paragraph, I must decide how this altered antagonist will view the other characters and how he will react to them. How his sensuality is experienced and expressed, how his charisma entices while his actions repels. What he notices, what he assumes, what he plans, and what he wants. So while the chapter's outcome will be the same--X will no longer be able to do Y because of Z--the journey, and the journey's motives, will be different.
Another time-eater sounds trivial: I needed to know the size of the average cowhides, horsehides, and African buffalo hides. Since I want to use leather a great deal, I must have a reasonable source. And the source will determine the appearance and cost of said leather, as well as the environment and ecology of the setting. That, too, comes in to play within the opening paragraphs. But now those questions are answered, and the reader will likely never notice I bothered.
And now I shall return to it.
In other news: Tonight is usually the night I train, but I have just enough of an intestinal ick that karate would be a very bad idea. Tomorrow, I'm taking Dev and one of his friends to the local Renaissance festival, where he can't wait to check out the weapons. Once upon a time, I worked Ren fairs. I still have the costumes, but not the body that once fit within them. On the other hand, I've lost ten pounds in the last month, so there's always next year...
And in two weeks, I'll see That Man again, and I am SO looking forward to it!
Gambit II, our rescue pup, has suddenly expressed interest in images on the television. When Dev plays Skyrim, the Little Bit is absolutely transfixed. A few nights ago, a show we were watching showed an injured dog, whining. Bit jumped up and ran to Ty, who was peacefully sleeping by the couch, and pawed at the old dog until he got up. I'm not sure of Bit thought Ty was whining, or that Ty should be alerted to the whining dog.
Today I cooked down five gallons of Roma tomatoes into about three gallons of tomato sauce. Lots of garlic, onions, basil, oregano and bay leaves. The house smells like an Italian restaurant. That is a marvelous thing.
The attitude Dev brought home from his summer camps is still going strong, thank goodness. He helped run our recent belt promotion, and took charge of the class with confidence and smiles. He is managing his work hours around his school hours. He is gearing up for the increased karate training that comes before his next test--this one for his adult Shodan. He's hoping he will be given the title of sensei at that time as well.
Today I realized just how much my life could change if the new dojo location takes off. In the space of a week, I've gone from running a very small community dojo to being in charge of a larger business launch. Um...yikes?
Even with the dojo opening, September will be an "easy" month. The big decisions have been made. The schedule contains not a single out-of-state trip. I have only two days of wellness client appointments (and I'm holding to that unless I fill every available slot of those days). No dog shows, no karate seminars, no workshops or speaking engagements. Whew!
Diatomaceous earth is awesome. Last August and September, when the season turned a bit dry, we had a terrible time with ants coming in, searching for water. And, this being Indiana, there are always crawly insects ready to make their home in yours. Drought tends to make it worse. But this year, I put down a barrier of diatomaceous earth all around the house. No ants. No beetles. And I think I spied two spiders over the course of the summer. Best of all, it isn't a toxic chemical. It was, as I said, awesome.
Lastly, That Man continues to make me happy. That should probably be firstly as well.