Today's Desk, Writing

Writers Desk 5/18/17

Hey! Lookit here–something new? Oh, what? No, it’s an old feature resurrected. Like a zombie, but with words.

Out the window: Heat and humidity have draped the sky in a colorless high overcast. Breezes gust occasionally, drying out the plants even more, and even the wind feels hot. Ugh. The newly planted gardenias are drooping terribly, and I’m really hoping the weekend brings ALL THE RAIN.

On the desktop: A cup of everyday green tea. Scads of notes and notebooks, both for this book and the next one, and the notes from my recent trip to Paradise Lost. 3 x 5 cards, some with writing, some still blank and waiting.

Today’s Work-in-Progess: Jessamin Stow, Book Three. Still.

I mean, yes, I love this. Honest, I do. but I’d hoped to be finished with it before Paradise Lost. Instead, due to so many things–Dasher and his ill health, my own ill health, home-life drama (let me tell you about the refrigerator dying suddenly, and the termites, and…)–well, I’m not done yet. And it’s making me crazy.

I’m kind of a stickler for making a schedule and sticking to it. None of this has gone to schedule, and it’s not a fun feeling. Which is only adding to my anxiety when it comes to sitting down to write, you know? (Ah, Impostor Syndrome, you know me so well.) The good news is that I’m so close to being done, I can practically taste it! Now to just do it.

And Another Thing: My next novel is all lined up and ready for me to get working on. I have a plot, and characters, and the basics of a world. I need to do more research on various things for world and culture building before I can get to writing the first draft, but OMG I am so excited at the prospect of this new novel!!!! It’s so shiny and fun and cool and I haven’t messed any of it up yet OH WOW!

But before that, I need to sip on some tea, calm down, and finish this novel before me. I got this.

Happy May, everyone.

Today's Desk

Writer’s Desk, 5/17/16

Caution: creaky writer hobbling through. Make way, make way for the woman with the ice pack!

Out the window: A high overcast, with occasional glaring sunshine and less-occasional droplets of falling rain. High humidity making everything feel like wilted lettuce–underwater wilted lettuce. Still and all, a good day for staying inside, ensconced at a comfy desk, and writing.

On the desktop: A blueberry-cardamom scone (we went blueberry picking over the weekend) and a cup of my very special tea–Mariage Freres “French Breakfast.” You can’t put that scone with just any old tea, of course, so I broke into the “good” stuff.

Today’s Work-in-Progess: I’ve taken up Book One in the Jessamin Stow trilogy and have started hacki– um, I mean editing it thoroughly. Not just a “clean up the rough bits” edit, but a hey, this whole bit here is wrong, and the structure is leaning and ready to collapse over here, while this bit is so overwrought it could support three books by itself kind of edit. Structure, pacing, revelations–all of it’s going under the knife. It’s amazing what a couple months’ distance will show you.

And while some of it is cringe-inducing (yes, really. But who doesn’t cringe at their writing errors–in hindsight, they’re so obvious), I’m still really, really enamored with the characters, the story, and the way I see it all evolving into something lovely. One day I’ll get to share it with you. Right now, I get to keep on editing. I get to savor the characters, hugging them to myself before I offer them more hardship and misery to work their way through. And I can’t wait until I see how they end up, after it’s all over.

And Another Thing: Why the fancy tea and indulgent scone, you ask? Because I’m treating myself for putting up with aches and ouches, scrapes and bruises. Yesterday I “bounced” off our paver-surround fire pit, and while today I’m no longer bloody, I am incredibly sore. To coddle myself into putting on my brave face, I’m pulling out the “good stuff,” tea- and treat-wise. It’s working, too. I don’t feel nearly as sorry for myself as I would without them. (And yes, the story of why I bounced off the fire pit is one of idiocy and farce all the way around, so no, I’m absolutely not going to share it. Suffice it to say it involves our version of “Hey y’all, watch this!” And I should know better by now.)

goals, Today's Desk, Writing

Writer’s Desk, 8/18

Um, the desk is kind of messy today. Promise me you won’t laugh!

Out the window: Hot hot hot, and more humid than the bathroom shower stall post-shower. Bright sun with occasional bouts of heavy, rain-laden clouds obscuring the sky entirely. Later it will probably rain. (I can’t wait. Not that it will cool off any; it’ll just make me feel better about the humidity.)

On the desktop: An explosion of notes, a notebook propped open to a page with editing comments, 3″ x 5″ cards, pens, mug, glasses case, along with the usual clutter. A bright cloth lizard watches over the mess with bead eyes bright.

Today’s Work-in-Progess: I’m hard at work on the Urban Fantasy series that I’m planning to self-publish (once it’s entirely done). What, haven’t I mentioned this? I thought I had…hmmm. Well, let me introduce you! Series, blog. Blog, series. Um, no, the series doesn’t have a name just yet. That’s one of the things I’m working on. I’m just calling it by the name of the protagonist, Jessamin Stow, for now. Or maybe, The Rogue Series. Or, well, something along those lines.

I’m a couple of chapters in to the first book, and so far, the writing is going swimmingly. (yay!) But this is the first time I’ve tried a series, so I’ve outlined all 3 initial books (there may or may not be others after this point), and I plan on having a solid first draft of all three before I finalize and publish the first one. That way, any mistakes I find along the way I can (with any luck) correct easily and quickly. This is the plan. The first casualty of any conflict is often the plan, however. We’ll see how this one goes. (Wish me luck?)

And Another Things: I sent a flurry of short stories out on submission yesterday, so I’m feeling particularly virtuous and productive today. And the dog is off to his physical therapy, so I have a few precious hours totally alone in which to deeply concentrate and write. Which I’m off to do, right now. I can’t wait!

food, Personal Life, Today's Desk, Writing

Writer’s Desk, 6/3

I’ve got nothing else exciting going on, so here: look at my desk!

Out the window: A vivid aquamarine sky with white puffs of clouds. Palms swaying in the gentle breeze, and a hummingbird getting annoyed by my motions. Why can’t I just hold still and let her (no red throat) feed?

On the desktop: A mug of water, as usual. Sen Cha Green Tea Mints (gluten free!). And a really terrible sugar cookie with “key lime” icing. So sweet! So bland. But I’m eating it. (sigh)

Today’s Work-in-Progess: Editing short stories, written during the novel’s first draft and then left to languish, into something resembling submittable forms. Today I’m focusing on two, both of which started life as flash fiction, and only one of which will remain flash (maybe). The other will be closer to 2,000 words. I love them both.

One is SF, the other fantasy. I love both sub-genres within spec fic, and can’t stick to just one. I’m still not sure if this is a good thing, a bad thing, or just a thing that will have no bearing on anything. I’ll let you know when (if) I find out.

During this year so far, I’ve written (but not edited to submittable) ten short stories. My goal is 12 edited and submitted. I also finished the novel, am planning the short novel series that I’m hoping to begin writing later this year, and will start editing the novel in late July or August. So, while it sounds like I’m so far ahead and how amazing is that, really, I’ll barely have time to get it all done if I don’t get my tail in gear.

I realize that I really missed getting short stories out for submission during the novel’s writing. Finalizing a short story and sending it out for beta, and then onto submission rounds, feels like “instant accomplishment.” Writing a novel? Delayed gratification. Neither is better, but I think I need a balance of the two to prevent myself from getting too ansty. Next time, I’ll do better. I promise.

And Another Couple of Things:  Dasher’s swimming has progressed to the point where he sometimes goes in for a swim just because he can. Or because it’s hot and he wants to cool off. And he swims like a champ, not a rock. Sometimes he launches himself off the step, chasing the frisbee with such enthusiastic force that he makes a wave, and leaves a wake. (Insert proud dog-mom face here)

Also, the garden is going gangbusters. Tomatoes like…um, delicious ripe tomatoes. And more basil than I can keep up with. I’ve already frozen some pesto for when it all goes limp and gives up (sometime in August?).  At the farmers’ market, there are eggplants to make you weep. Can you say “eggplant parmesan?” Yum.

Which brings me to dinner. Off I go. Happy June, everyone!

Today's Desk, Writing

Writer’s Desk, 2/16

Since my mind is a blank, I’ll show you my desk.

Out the window: Strong breezes rattle the lady palm, making it sound like soft rainfall. Further off, dangling Spanish moss sways and dances from the oaks’ limbs. Earlier it was partly sunny, but now it’s mostly clouds, in preparation for tomorrow’s (very welcome) rains. As yet, it’s warm (about 70), but cooling quickly. Which is making me sad.

On the desktop: A sprawl of papers and maps and notes. A written list of blog topics to write about, should the brain go numb for too long.  A cup of Japanese green tea, and the remains of a gluten-free apple cinnamon  toaster pastry (cinnamon-mmmmmm!). Beside the desk, the dog is curled into his bed, sleeping snugly.

Today’s Work-in-Progess: First, a bit on the novel. I need to finish off this scene, and segue into the next. As the tension ramps up, I’m finding there’s less I can do in a single sitting. I have to get up, move around, release some adrenaline in some way, before I come back and try it again. (Or, in some cases, get distracted by something that absolutely needs to be done at this very moment or the world will end–AKA, cat vacuuming.)

Then I want to edit a short story written last month. It isn’t working as it reads now, and I think I know why–but I want to be sure before I chop and hack it up. This may be a slower edit than I’d like. Heh. What else is new?

And Another Thing:  There’s a new feature over at Fantasy Scroll Magazine. A podcast! The first episode is “The City Dreams of Bird-Men” by Emily B. Cataneo, and is read by Rachel Aronov. I think it’s well done, and well narrated. What say you?

Today's Desk

Writer’s Desk, 9/15

Drama! Action! Excitement!–Someone sitting at a desk and writing!

Out the window: Sunshine dapples through the Lady Palm (which I’ve pruned to no longer actually tap on my window screens), shockingly bright. And out the other window, where the sunlight hits the white paint of the porch, it’s blinding. Soon I’ll have to close that blind so I’m not squinting at the computer screen, simultaneously trying to see and to not see.

On the desktop: A small, rather neat stack of papers to scribble on and reminders to myself about various small or side characters in the novel. And a jar of push pins.

Today’s Work-in-Progess: The novel. The novel. The novel.

But my mind is drawn to a short story that I really want to write. Can you say “cat vacuuming?” Unh-hunh. Back to the novel. (*sigh*)

And Another Thing: The real reason for the tidy desk surface is that I finally got a corkboard and hung it right over my desk. Now most of those miscellaneous market listings, reminders, great words to use, terrible words to avoid, etc., are all hanging up there! I should have done this years ago. I’m feeling so organized ^–^

Moving, Today's Desk, Writing

Writer’s Desk, 8/14

Okay, so I’ve moved, and boxes are piled all around me. But I’ve managed to clear my desk and get it set up–and actually write in my new space.

Out the window: A completely new view! I’m so not used to this. Some kind of palm-y shrub is tapping at the window (note to self: prune that thing back later), and I can see the porch swing out the other window. A young live oak blocks most of the sky, but I can tell you it’s currently mostly overcast, and will likely rain (again) as soon as I walk outside. ETA: of course, the sun just peeked out from behind a cloud, making me a big old liar!

On the desktop: Almost entirely clear. Well, except for the bill that came in today’s mail. And my list of markets for a short-story submission earlier today. And a pen and small notebook. But hey, no boxes! That’s progress.

Today’s Work-in-Progess: The novel. I just got my 1,000 words in for the day, finishing up that scene and chapter. I’m behind, of course, and I’ll have to do much better than that to catch up. But today, returning to the pool and getting back into the swim of things was my main goal. The marathon can start tomorrow, since I’ve warmed up my muscles today.

Also, I submitted one short story for the very first time, and re-subbed another. It feels good to be getting stories out there!

And Another Thing: Just in case anyone is wondering, three baby fish found a home with a neighbor back in New Jersey, and the rest survived the trip to Florida just fine. And no, she had not had any new babies–for which I am entirely thankful!

Moving, Today's Desk, Writing

Writer’s Desk, 7/26

It’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of these. It seems about time to change that, and update the world on my goings-on.

Out the window: High clouds, with smatterings of sunlight burning through now and again. Though it’s cool, the humidity is rising and it’s likely to rain (again!) later today.

On the desktop: The general clutter, somewhat tamed. I’ve packed away some things into a box, things that I want nearby once I move but that I won’t need in the next 1.5 weeks. Also, two pair of eyeglasses. Unfortunately I need to wear them most of the time while using the computer (groan).

Today’s Work-in-Progess: The novel, of course. But also, this is the last weekend for the flash fiction writing prompt contest at Codex, so I’m puzzling over the prompts and trying to determine which one (or ones) to choose. Fortunately, I have more time to ponder, as the story isn’t due ’til the end of Tuesday. More time to procrastin–I mean, more time for research! Yay!

Good news: On the novel front, I’m nearing the end of the month, and am right on target to finish my 25,000 words for the month, thanks in great part to the Camp NaNo and my cabinmates.

Bad news: My original schedule had me near 80,000 words at this point. And I’ll be just over 60,000 words on the 31st. So, even though I met my target for the month, I’m still behind. And the move is before me, nearly upon me. With another 30,000 words to go (I’m guessing 90,000 at completion). Time to focus. Ignore boxes. Ignore email. Write. My characters are depending on me!

And Another Thing: Need I actually say it anymore? My fish had babies. Again. *drops head in hands and moans*