Dec 08

Oak Trees, Socks, and Ideas

Posted: under Life beyond writing.
Tags:  December 8th, 2015

With the book away, and many undone things to accomplish, what’s the next step?   The day after its departure, the tree removers came and took down three trees in the back yard, none of which I was happy to see go, though they were dying branch by branch and endangering the house or a neighbor’s.   Lack of them completely changed the yard as a wildlife habitat (much more sun, much less overhead cover from the winter hawks and falcons) so most birds disappeared for most of the following week.   In the meantime, the oaks went into full color change, two weeks later than last year:



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Dec 03

Gone Away

Posted: under Cold Welcome, Life beyond writing, the writing life.
Tags: ,  December 3rd, 2015

Cold Welcome flew away to NYC yesterday morning,  right when it was due, but I was too wiped to post about it then.  It went off at 129.863 words,  and I think all the words are in the right order, though I suspect there are errors.   I’m still not satisfied with the formatting  for the transition signals I sent to readers, but Word was being such a pig about things that it took me much longer than it should have to mess them about and increase the clarity quotient.

Meanwhile, three more dead or partly dead trees in dangerous locations have been removed by the tree removal crew, the HVAC people put in a good stack for the furnace, roofer returned today to reset and caulk the collar for the furnace & hot water heater stacks (he had insisted we needed to get the stacks installed properly by modern standards)  and I started the toe decreases on one of the turquoise socks (the left one.)

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Nov 17

Gone Tree

Posted: under Life beyond writing.
Tags:  November 17th, 2015

At one time we had an old (by CenTex standards, where ash trees frequently do not live past 40 years) and lovely ash tree shading the entire front yard at the house my mother lived in when she died.   In the last 5-10 years, it’s been dying by inches, not helped by the long drought from 2007 to 2013-14.   I don’t have a picture of it at its best.    We felt the job was too big for us to tackle with a couple of ropes and a small chain saw.  This is what it looked like just before the tree removal people arrived this Monday.

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Nov 15

Closing In

Posted: under Craft, Life beyond writing, Revisions, the writing life.
Tags: , , ,  November 15th, 2015

At this stage of revision, I always wish I had another two weeks.  Or a month.    There’s always one…more…problem bit to untangle, that I think would benefit from more time to analyze and think about.  And then another, in the next section.  However, things are progressing appropriately.  The holes are filling in,  the once-blurry places are sharpening into focus, and though I’m dealing with some decisions made earlier that I might make differently now, they’re working out with some fierce hammering and welding.   (Clever ideas.  Clever ideas are the ones that seem so shiny! and smart!  at the time, and that flow easily in first draft and then…toward the end…reveal themselves to be more clever than good.  For instance, the…mumble-mumph.  How do you mumble-mumble and mumph-mumph so as to have a crisis *here* that requires characters to appear to have a random emergency giving you-the-writer the opportunity to lay the hook for the string that will later be pulled, so when something (errummph?) is revealed, the reader will feel a connection–yes, there was a foreshadowing but things were so hectic I missed it–and thus the revelation is not a deus ex machina.   Though of course all this backstage work IS the writer being the deus ex machina.)   Read the rest of this entry »

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Nov 13

Possible Absence

Posted: under Website Notice.
 November 13th, 2015

Website host has informed customers that the AC in the server space died, and the backup unit is running, but not a permanent solution.   Also, the HVAC people will need to get into the server space to complete installation of any replacement, which will require turning machines off so they don’t vacuum up the inevitable dust.    When this will happen, we don’t know yet.  (It’s Friday the 13th.   Let’s all perform whatever rituals it takes to make this go smoothly and the HVAC equipment & teams be available, OK?)   I follow the website host on Twitter, where announcements of progress will appear.

But should this and the other sites disappear suddenly, that’s why.  Panic not–We Shall Return.

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Nov 12

Cold Welcome

Posted: under Uncategorized.
 November 12th, 2015

Confirmation today that the title Cold Welcome has been approved for the new Vatta book.  Hurray! says the writer.

Though of course I want a warm welcome for it when it finally appears.    But it’s certainly not the kind of reception Ky Vatta expected on her first return to Slotter Key since she left as a disgraced former cadet captaining an old, inefficient, cargo ship slated for destruction at the end of the voyage.

Revision continues on the manuscript, with one bleary eye on the calendar.

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Nov 02

Just to Complicate Things

Posted: under Life beyond writing, Revisions.
Tags: , ,  November 2nd, 2015

Roofing Begins

Yes, those are roofers tearing off shingles at the house my mother owned when she died.  Our son lived there awhile and stays there on weekends, as do guests.  It’s where we have parties, too, as it has  more room than our house.   It will soon have a metal roof, which should last longer, given that we have hail storms and branches that fall on the roof and squirrels who think getting through roofs is a lot of fun.

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Oct 20

When characters refuse the good bits

Posted: under the writing life.
Tags:  October 20th, 2015

You will be as disappointed as I am that just putting very interesting and amazing stuff in the surroundings of a story doesn’t always persuade characters to take advantage.  Things you will not be seeing in the book, despite my earnest endeavors and a lot of research and backstory work:  a mammoth hunt, harnessing caribou/reindeer for transportation of anything,  Irish elk shaking those tremendous antlers, or the terrifying attack of a pack of dire wolves.

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Oct 16

Artwork: Ky Vatta by Lana Klassen

Posted: under artwork.
Tags:  October 16th, 2015

As I told you awhile back, I met a talented artist at KeyCon (Winnipeg) back in May of this year and commissioned her to do a portrait of Admiral Kylara Evangeline Dominique Vatta, or Ky as most of us know her.   I think she did a great job.  It took awhile, because she had to finish the school year (she teaches in a high school) and then had something else to finish, and various other things happened, but here it is.

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Oct 11

GRRR Google

Posted: under Life beyond writing.
Tags: ,  October 11th, 2015

The local PBS station carries as their secondary station something called, and it had an interview with Eric Schmidt of Google; I saw the last part of it.   Right toward the end, he started bragging on how wonderful Google Books Project was, and how they’d been “litigated to death” (not with their money they weren’t) and how that settlement had been overturned (no doubt with the application of money) and they’d get it all done in time and it was a great service to society.
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