News of Books and Spring 6-12
The first day of work after a vacation is usually a bit of a drag.
I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know, of course. I mean, who wants to come back from lazing about in the Florida sunshine to getting up before dawn in the frozen north and going to work? You’d have to be crazy to enjoy that, right?
Well, I’m a touch crazy.
I like my job, I like the challenges and rewards alike. And, getting back today, I spent most of my morning sorting out all of the things that happened while I was away. It gives me a good feeling, knowing that I can fix something or make someone’s day. Plus, I had the office to myself, so I was able to focus on my work and whip through the files. It was an excellent day.
And when I got home, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I need my solitude. Florida was great, the rides were fun, my friends are the best. But there’s a point in my existence where I just need to be by myself in a cabin in the woods. And that time is pretty much ¾ of my week.
So, I started my log fire, got dinner ready, cuddled the Gimli (my little Cairn Terrier), and let the cat chill out on my shoulder. I also had time and space to get some serious thinking done, so I worked out the ending of my book that had been tripping me up and set a deadline for Sunday night to have that first draft done.
Vacations are wonderful, but in between adventure, it’s even better to have a warm and safe home to come back to. I’m a restless soul with a nester’s brain, so sometimes the voices in my head can’t agree. That’s alright. We manage to keep it together—most of the time.
So, has anyone out there watched the Umbrella Academy?
Of course you have. It’s amazing, it’s getting awesome reviews, and surely someone other than me has realized this. So for those of you who haven’t had a chance to check it out yet, do so. You know me. I’m picky. So when I give a show my stamp of approval, you can take that to the bank.
As you might have guessed, tonight was a TV night. I hung out with the mum and sis, gave them the treats I bought in Diagon Alley over the weekend, and had a chill evening. Until something went terribly wrong.
Oh, the horror.
Let’s back up. The treats I bought in Diagon Alley were a couple of chocolate frogs and a box of Berti Botts Every Flavor Beans. And they mean every flavor. Naturally, when we cracked them open, it quickly became a game. Take one, pass the box. The pretty colors are probably dangerous.
For the first part, the bean gods shined upon me. The worst thing I got was a black pepper, and I actually thought it was tasty. So while the others gagged on bile and what can only be described as ‘butthole’, I giddily worked my way through peach, lemon, watermelon, raspberry…
And then, it happened. I found the spoiled milk.
Now, y’all don’t know me like that, but I’d sooner drink turpentine than a glass of ice cold, fresh milk. So then you make that a rotten glass…The. Horror.
For a Friday, I had a chill day.
Work was busy, of course, but the sun was shining when I left and I had a weekend booked for writing. There’s a reason I tell stories, and that reason is that there is nothing in this whole wide world that I’d rather be doing than writing. Just the thought of having the weekend to myself, with Mars and my animals for company, had me skipping to my car.
Stocked up on food and tucked in, I enjoyed a quiet evening before wandering off to bed, excited for the days to come.
Let me take this moment to make a quick announcement. The Shopify platform that I use for my website is excellent. They calculate shipping and taxes directly through the sales, have a lot of options for web design, and work well with my mobile device. They super dropped the ball, however, when it comes to their blogs.
A few updates and its slightly easier to use the blog on my mobile device (though still temperamental, and if I had to type it out on my phone, I doubtlessly would have given up years ago) but there is one thing that makes all of these good things seem small. Shopify doesn’t have any way for me—the owner, author, writer of the freaking blog etc.—to reply to comments from my readers. This is wildly frustrating. They recommend that I just go and comment myself, but that’s just stupid. It doesn’t notify the original commenter that I did so, there’s no way for me to reply directly or even to tag the people (that I can see), and everything is out of order.
So if you comment, know that I see you. I love you. And I will usually comment on my own blog post as means of reply. Thank you for taking the time to leave a remark! You’re the best of humans.
I woke up today like it’s Christmas and I can smell waffles cooking.
No, it wasn’t Christmas. No, waffles weren’t cooking. Why then, you ask?
BECAUSE IT’S A FREAKING WRITING WEEKEND.
I savaged my book today. I ripped through words like my fingers were lightning and my brain the rod. I was freaking on fire! And I zapped through a few thousand words easy as blinking. I didn’t quite get the book finished, but that’s ok. I got through the problem areas, tightened up a few chapters, and realized where I could add another chapter to really keep the story flowing. Today I was successful.
And man oh man, was I full of fire. I knew what I wanted. I knew how I could make it happen. And, when the gears wore down and my brain was ready for some R&R, I rewarded myself with an old fashioned, then Star Trek and dinner. Because—as happens when I write—I forgot to eat all day. So, hungry and satisfied, I spent the rest of my evening knowing that today, I made what needed to happen, happen. And with the firm knowledge that tomorrow I’d finish Olympus.
I wrote a book today.
ANOTHER book. I can hardly believe it. It seems like yesterday was November and I was sitting down with the task of writing Firebird’s sequel. If I think of it as a writing a book, it’s an overwhelming undertaking. But if I think of it as telling a story, every day becomes a new chapter in an evolving book.
I never do outlines. Since middle school, I’ve detested the very notion. Stories are living creatures, they shift in unexpected ways, and those ways are often my favorite twists in a story. I don’t know for sure what my characters are going to do until my characters are in the situation. And more often than not, I’m every bit as excited and surprised as you are.
Sure, I realize that every writer is different. But this isn’t their blog. This is my blog. And in my blog, outlines suck.
After the story is finished, then I make my outline.
I’ve written a book, but because of the way I wrote it, it needs some tightening up. I need to fix the chapters so they flow, find places where there needs to be more meat, other places that could use a trimming down. It’s my method. I read and I comb and I cut and dye and style. I make this manuscript into something I can be proud of.
And then, I give it to my beta readers. Which is probably the second most intimidating part of writing a book. The first is, of course, what comes last—selling it. People hand me their hard-earned money and in return, they get a piece of my brain. All I can do is put my best effort into making that piece of my brain the best story possible.
Unpopular opinion: I love the time change.
I know, I know. It’s archaic. It’s not functional. It’s a pain in the ass. And sure, I have as much trouble as anybody when it comes to waking up that hour early and finding my way to work.
But you know what the time change does for me? It changes time. Pretty profound, I know.
Hear me out. We go about our day-to-day routines. We wake up at a certain time, we work for a certain time, we go home, have supper, and find sweet slumber. It’s the same. It’s pedantic—literally. It’s, for lack of a better word, boring.
But when the time change comes around, you know that things are going to be different. It’s forcing you to see the world an hour before you would normally ever see it. It’s a shift in the subtle rhythm of our lives, a something that makes us take notice. And sure, it sucks. But it’s a different kind of sucks than our wandering about the tiny boxes we call buildings. It’s something new. So, here’s to my opinion. I’m going to go back to chugging my eight gallon of coffee, now.
Just, holy hells, we’re defrosting.
The SNOW IS MELTING. Today, it was 42 in Minnesota. The roads are now brown and dirty instead of white and—somehow—still dirty. The roof over my window is a constant drip drip drip, and instead of walking outside and having my face burn from the cold, I walk outside and slip on the sheet of ice that used to be my driveway.
Seriously, though, I was just standing there and sliding toward my car. It’s a whole new, exciting world to be a commuter.
Still, I survived, and I enjoyed a few precious minutes of sunshine while I was at it. Spring is the best time of the year. Even up here, where it’s mostly just a defrosting until the mud goes away and is summer. Spring in northern Minnesota is a placeholder between when we can ski and when the mosquitoes come out.
I’m thinking about my garden, about what my yard looks like when it’s not buried under three feet of snow. I’m thinking about how I can swim and kayak and canoe when the water is soft. I’m wondering which trail will be my first snow-free hike. And, every now and then, I’m remembering what it feels like to lay on my back porch and sunbathe.
I’m also digging through my garage, looking for where I put the hammock. Oh my goodness gracious, the hammock! I’ll be sitting in my bikini sipping a margarita in the sunshine in no time. Cheers, beautiful readers! Here’s to a book finished, a glimpse of spring, and the knowledge that we’ve enjoyed another week on this beautiful Earth.