Categories
1. Storysculpting Book reviews Writing Life

Inside my head

I have finally tried the iTunes “Genius” feature, the one that generates radio-channel-like mixes from my music collection. (It’s only been there for years…) Now I get”singer-songwriter” mixes, “party-dance” mixes etc. It’s fun to click and let it pick songs, but there is one huge downside; I’m long accustomed to timing my work sessions with music, and these mixes will go on forever, randomly repeating.  If I don’t watch myself I can keep going for “one more song…” for hours. Which is noy healthy.

A thing I realized recently: committees have distinct, recognizable personalities. It makes sense, right? Groups are made up of human beings, so it’s logical they reflect the personalities of their members, especially the leaders. Corollary: not all personality traits are healthy ones. Could I give real-world examples? Oh, yeah. I could. But I won’t.

“Reality” television, oy. It’s a thing that makes me sad for humanity. I have no problem with basically-real, transparent-about-the-scripted-parts documentary shows,  but the manipulative, harmfully-scripted creepy ones, like all the American “talent” competitions, DIY dramas, and voyeuristic surveillance shows? Brrrr.

The latest in searches:

puffball mushroom species, fairy ring mushroom species

etymology word history greenhorn

tomato, garlic, rice, feta recipe
(when I can’t decide what to cook, sometimes I query the internet with “list of what’s in the fridge” + “recipe” and the internet provides. )

Media update!

  • Book: The latest Archangel novel by Nalini Singh. I honestly cannot remember the names of any of them, and it isn’t important. It’s a long, lush, complex alternate world fantasy genre, and it’s fluffy goodness. Just what I needed.
  • View: Sorry To Bother You.  I cannot adequately review this…but I recommend it. Scathing social commentary AND a drama with a cutting sense of humor. Not an easy watch, but a really good one.
  • ViewSkyscraper. It had Dwayne Johnson, so I had to try it. Not as bad as I expected. Basic cartoonishly unbelievable action movie plot with another telegraphed occurrence of the tired Betrayal By Trusted Friend trope, but wow,  The Rock is great working with kid actors. I mean, seriously awesome.

Random cat pic:

I should probably start calling these “random Scooter pics”

Last no-context WIP snippet for a while:

Bergen’s leering expression held steady until Deena pulled out the chair opposite him. Then his split lip curled off his teeth, turning the smirk into a grin. “Well, hell-oh, Chief Cheerleader. You taking me on?”

Deena kept her face locked in the don’t-screw-with-me expression she’d learned in the Army, but inside she wanted to burst out laughing. Chief Cheerleader? Seriously? “You don’t know me, Jack Bergen. You barely knew me, back in high school. A lot’s changed since then.”

And that’s all the all there is for this time.

Categories
1. Storysculpting Book reviews Writing Life

Inside my head

I realized recently more than half of my meals consist of a fruit, a vegetable, a bread, and a cheese, plus tea. Cheese pizza & applesauce; crackers & veggies w/spread & berries; pickles, bread, sliced cheese & apple; lettuce salad w/almonds & cranberries and a pita…what can I say? I’m predictable.

Last con of 2018 for me this weekend. VERY much looking forward to it as I pack up my stickers, bookmarks, signs, and of course my books. I have “con boxes” now. the whole repping myself as an author feels…real and mostly comfortable. At least at small cons.

I haven’t mentioned this lately, but if you’ve ever wondered, any images on this blog I don’t take with my phone camera come from Pixabay. They’re all CC0 no-rights-reserved public domain images, but I believe in sourcing (and paying a bit when I can.) So if you like pretty pictures, Pixabay.com is a great place to find them.

Using a gate-keeper and a screen time tracker to keep my online distractions under control really works. I’m at 2 hours/day on the mobile side, including texting and my fitness tracker, with no social media access on the laptop. I’m a happier camper without it, and a much more productive one. Next goal: trim my TV/movie viewing down to 1 hour on non-library nights and nothing after midnight. That…will be a challenge.

The latest in searches:

  • LBJ programs Great America
  • evidence tape procedures
  • difference between gourds & squash

Must-share site of the moment: TIL Reddit. It’s a fountain of random trivia WITH CITATIONS for each entry. It might as well have been created for me. Writing research gold, and a great story idea generator too.

Random cat pic:

cranky cat-dragon defends his turf

No Context WIP snippet:

The world of the living ceased to interest Fletcher Davis when his last great-great-grandson retired and moved away. Fletch had been dead a long time by then—a century or so—and without family in town to keep him entertained, the mortal world quickly grew boring.

And that’s all the all there is for this time.

Categories
1. Storysculpting Authoring Writing Life

I promised a scenelet. Here it be.

A while back I asked if anyone wanted a sneak peek at Ghost Town, my new work in progress. Y’all said, “Yes,” so I of course did nothing for ages. Until now.

TL;DR version of context: She’s new on the job. He’s been dead over a century.  Together they solve crimes.

The longer spiel: Deena Davis fled her wee Illinois hometown as soon as she was old enough to enlist in the Army.  Now she’s back in Gridley as the newly-appointed police chief, just in time to catch Gridley’s first murder case in decades.

Her great-great-grandfather Fletcher was Gridley’s mayor during his lifetime. Since his death he’s been the mayor of the town’s ghostly population. He was a big fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and he has the ability to make himself seen by his descendants.

He is keen to help Deena solve this murder whether she wants it or not.

Also, Deena owns a retired military working dog named Bazel. (Because I wanted to write a dog, that’s why.) That’s why there’s a pic of a Malinois at the top of this post.

     Fletcher caught up to Deena while she was on her way to talk with the county clerk’s digital specialists. One minute she was checking the road behind her before changing lanes, the next, her rear view was blocked by the ghost’s smiling, whiskery face.

“Hello, granddaughter!”

Deena’s startled flinch nearly put them in the ditch before trained reflexes kicked in. The car rocked on its wheels, and gravel crunched under the right front tire, but she settled the swerve.

“Not funny!” she snapped as she regained control. “Don’t ever pop up like that when I’m driving, not ever.”

“When you’re—oh.” Fletcher took note of the scenery flashing by, and his face fell. “I didn’t think to check the physical plane ‘afore visiting. I’m right sorry, Deena. ”

His contrite expression looked sincere, but the man had been a politician. Deena wouldn’t trust him as far as she could throw him. “You’d better be sorry. This partnership will come to an abrupt and nasty end if I slam head-on into a semi.”

Bazel nosed irritably at the mayor, who was occupying much of the same space in the back seat as he was. Fletcher ignored the dog’s intrusion, his expression thoughtful in a dangerously familiar way. Deena had seen that look on her father’s face more than once when he got to yearning for grandkids.

She shouldn’t have mentioned dying. At least the ghost couldn’t set her up on blind dates. He could nag, though. Better cut that off before it starts. “And don’t even think about telling me I should settle down and start popping out kids.”

The ghost stroked his mustache and slid to the other seat to get away from the dog. “No idea what you’re on about,” he said cheerfully. “Ain’tcha going to ask why I’m here? Lemme tell you. I made inquiries last night, and I have news.”

“That’s grand,” Deena said with maximum insincerity. Just as she’d suspected, the mayor was going to hover over her and get in the way. The tires squeaked as she turned hard into the office parking lot. She found the building number and pulled into a spot nearby. “I have to interview a digitizing specialist. Learn anything relevant to that?”

“I don’t reckon so. Not even sure what that is.”

“Then wait here—or if you won’t do that, at least stay out of my sight and keep your mouth shut so I don’t look like a lunatic.”

“Hold on one goldarned second.” Fletcher did his instant-move thing to appear at Deena’s shoulder as she opened the rear door to retrieve Bazel. “Is that any way to talk to your partner? Listen here—”

“No, you listen.” Deena unlatched Bazel and looked down at the dog to avoid the talking to thin air issue. “I can’t drop everything any time you decide to show up. Maybe you have all the time in the world, but I don’t, and there is no box for ‘ghost evidence’ on the reports I have to file. This comes first.”

She looked up at the end. Fletcher met her angry gaze for long seconds. “You don’t have to be so hurtful,” he finally said.

She had been harsh. Much too harsh. She let out tension in a heavy sigh and rubbed her aching neck. Sun beat down on the pavement, and reflected heat rose up through her boots. Her ancestor looked cool and collected. Must be nice to not melt in the heat. “I’m sorry, Fletcher. You scared the daylights out of me. That gets my temper up. No disrespect. I do want to hear you out. Just—not now. Please.”

“Well, all righty. That’s a pretty explanation, and I might have a temper myself.” The ghost mayor regarded her Ford Interceptor with a thoughtful frown. “These carriages keep getting bigger and more complicated. How’s about you take me for a drive around town in it? I can give you all the news and show you the sights, and you can show me how fast it goes.”

“That’s—not a bad idea.” Nobody looked twice at drivers talking to themselves. Deena gave Bazel a quick ear scratch and straightened to see a figure at the office window duck out of view. Looked like her witness was getting nervous. “We’ll do that soon. Now go poof or whatever it is you do and let me get to work.”

“Poof?” Fletcher said. “Poof?”

She gestured extravagantly with both hands like a magician. “Poof!”

He was still sputtering when he disappeared, but he was smiling too.

Categories
1. Storysculpting Promotion

Londinium Cover Reveal!

I’m really excited today because I get to help Debbie spread the word about  the brand-new awesome cover for the next book in her P.A.W.S. Saga, LONDINIUM. The cover was created by the hugely talented Rachel Bostwick who also made the cover for the new box set of books 1 to 3 that are now available on Amazon.

So here goes – drum roll please – LONDINIUM (The P.A.W.S. Saga 4), on presale now.

“The pea soup has spoken,” said Caradog. “You are destined for Londinium.”
“Londinium?” asked Miri.
“It was the ancient city from which London sprang. The P.A.W.S. Institute of Londinium is the oldest in the world. It started before the city of today existed and straddles the old and the new. Unfortunately, today it is run by a fool.”

Join Miri as she continues her journey through Umbrae and Londinium with the help of werecats, wild warlocks, an old dog, a duck, and a whole lot of pea soup.

The P.A.W.S. Saga continues with Londinium.

Need to catch up?

You can do that all in one place with a brand new box set of books 1 to 3. Now available on Amazon.

DON’T MISS OUT! Get yours today.

Categories
Authoring excerpts Writing Advice

The Latest Peek at Heartwood

Look! My book has structure!

 

For those curious, I’ve begun work on the second chapter in Book 4. Won’t be long before the writing part of this novel is done-done-done. <pause for small happy-dance> That’s why I got the itch to parse out a full Table of Contents.

This one has been a long time in the making, longer than most of my novels, but every chapter so far has passed Beloved Alpha Reader’s stringent QA standards. I have high hopes that Heartwood will go from final draft to print quickly.

But wait, the strawman asks! How can it be a final draft if I’m not done writing it in the first place?  Excellent question.  The short answer is: I am a rebel-heretic-apostate when it comes to discovery writing. I don’t do “write now, edit later.”  I write. I fuss. I finish, and that’s it. (Gasps of horror all around, right?)

Well, sorta.

Long answer: I don’t write out a draft to tell myself the story and then polish up the result over and over (and over) the way all my creative writing classes and most critique groups insisted successful writers “should” write. I set up a bare frame–starting point, resolution, and cast–and start weaving. As I build the tapestry, I also add in, pull out and reweave and embroider elements as I go. By the time I reach The End, my finished manuscript can’t accurately be called a first draft. Technically it’s somewhere between the fiftieth and umpty-hundredth draft. Yes, even the last scene.

There will also be several edits between draft completion and publication, involving more additions/excisions/revisions for clarity & development.  But with rare exceptions my tales remain  fundamentally the same.

So a geological scale, transition from draft to proof to publication is practically instantaneous. On a human scale, it’ll be months yet, but still–that’s not long in the book world. Not long at all.

Arrgh. Cover art. Right. Being this close means I need cover art soon! I’d better get on that.


Want more of my words? My published works are available on Amazon and all the other usual online retailers. 

Science-fiction thrillers, science-fiction romance, and science fantasy, full length novels and shorter works. So many choices!