Monday, February 28, 2011

The Cusp of Spring

Ah, it's the last day of February! Spring is just around the corner. In fact, it feels like it's already here, at least where I live. We've had thunderstorms, warm south winds, and twice I've had the chance to sunbathe. Yep, in February. Which means March will likely be cloudy and cold. Time seems to get confused on occasion. Or maybe the issue is humanity trying to create order by naming a set of days and then expecting those days to behave a certain way. And then we're scandalized when things happen differently than we say they should. That's Philosophy In Your Corner by Court Ellyn.

In honor of the cusp of spring, here are two timely masterpieces for your enjoyment:

An Orchard In Spring
Claude Monet, 1886

Springtime at Giverny
Claude Monet, 1880

Friday, February 25, 2011

Progress Report, 2-25-11


Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Rewritten: 6 1/2
Pages Cut: 3
(oh, so many darlings, gone forever!)
New Scenes: 0
Bad things that happened: the trial of an evil elf
Good things that happened: Aerdria does look lovely in that silver dress

Not much more to add really, accept that with this day's progress, I finished another huge section of revisions and will be spending the next few weeks (hopefully not more than three), typing in all those hand-written revisions. That leaves three or four sections of the same size still to go. Which means I will likely be posting on stuff other than progress reports. *taps chin thoughtfully* What shall I post? I'm sure something will come up ...



Thursday, February 24, 2011

Progress Report, 2-24-11


Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Rewritten: 5
Pages Cut: 4
New Scenes: 0
Bad things that happened: a demon is on the loose
Good things that happened: the best I can come up with is that despite all that galloping around, Kieryn didn't fall off his horse.

No writing yesterday. It was Wal-Mart day. Shudder. Why does grocery shopping drain me so? It takes up an entire morning, gives me anxiety for two days prior, and when it's over, my brain is shot. I hate it so. On the other hand, the afternoon was heavenly. Shopping done, the day so fine, I put on the bathing suit and sat in the glorious sunshine with a cool Great Plains gale whipping about me. I turned on the ipod, and over strains of haunting Celtic music, I listened to birdsong and wind, and read a chapter of A Wizard of Earthsea. A few hours like those are such a rare gift, and life, for the moment, is perfect.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Title? Who Needs a Title?


Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Rewritten: 4
Pages Cut: 4 1/2
New Scenes: 0
Bad things that happened: Rhoslyn reveals herself to be the most needy person ever!
Good things that happened: Um . . . the shellfish was nice?

Today was obviously about cutting crap, while making use of (and greatly reorganizing) the few odd lines here and there. *whew* I'm still not happy with the flow of the scene, which was intensely emotional, and I'm not sure I was up to it. But there's always the next read-through, so I can relax about it and move on.

Art of the Week:

Stairwell of the Hotel Tassel, a town house built by Victor Horta in Brussels for the Belgian scientist and professor Emile Tassel in 1893-1894. Considered the first true Art Nouveau building.



Monday, February 21, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

No writing today. I'm taking a few minutes during a break to blog a bit. Today being President's Day, my honey is off work, so we're taking the opportunity to get some early gardening projects started (and finished, I hope). So far we've only gotten some lavender shrubs transplanted closer to the house, though we've still got hoses to run and mulch to lay. The point of this particular project is to cut down on the weed problem. Last year was the perfect year for crab grass, and I gave up on weeding in despair for several months. There's just too much to be done by two part-time gardeners, especially when one (me) just likes it to look nice but hates the bugs and heat that must be endured to get things looking that way. To give a hint of the ongoing project, here are some photos to illustrate:

When we first moved into our house, the backyard was a lumpy grassy area. We tilled that grass to create a blank canvas. The kitty posing so languidly is Raphael.
Then came the stone patio. Yep, we moved those stones ourselves. Stonehenge took on a new meaning:
The fun stuff started soon after:
And finally, after a couple of years, we started to achieve our vision:
Now we must maintain. So gardening fabric is making an entrance into the trouble spots, and so is bunny poo (believe it or not, we really do need to fertilize). This early in the season, I'm always hopeful that the beds will look better than the year before. *fingers crossed*

Thus, writing is pushed to the wayside for today. Still, there is Friday's progress to report:

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Rewritten: 2
Pages Cut: 1/2
New Scenes: 1 (2 3/4 pgs)
Good things that happened: A harp is carried back to its people
Bad things that happened: Prisoners of war are exchanged

Friday, February 18, 2011

Progress Report (2-18-11) and the Zoo


Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Rewritten: 5
Pages Cut: 3/4
Good things that happened: Kieryn makes a rainbow
Bad things that happened: Rhoslyn's dress was found where?

I didn't have the chance to write a word yesterday. I was invited to go to the zoo with my sister, mom, niece, and nephew. So I walked around the zoo for six hours yesterday with a 5-yr-old and a 2-yr-old, and a had a great time. Best of all, my honey showed up after lunch and had the rest of the day off to spend with us. But today, for some reason, I feel like I've got a hangover. Could it be only one day without coffee is killing me? Could it be the miles we walked yesterday that I'm not used to? Could it just be getting high on too much goodness? I hope it's the latter but bet it's the other two.

Little Wonders:
Feeding a peacock from my hand. The zoo people let the peacocks roam where they will, and when the kids stopped to ride the carousel, one came right up to my bench and I got to feed it crushed Fritos from my purse (don't tell the zoo people).

Listened to pair of bald eagles fight over their hidden stash of meat.

Looked and looked for a copperhead snake lying in it's usual pile of leaves, then decided "Aw, how sad, they took it out," then after a few minutes of still glancing over the leaves, saw it lying right in front of me! How could my eye not see it? Amazing and very scary camouflage.

The kids faces. Watching them see and discover and get excited when they have something to show you. Best thing of all.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Know Your Bastions!

As a writer of fantasy, it's common for castles and forts to make an appearance in my pages. So, to be able to obey the old saying "Write What You Know," it was necessary to acquaint myself with the ways of castles and all the terminology involved. But because I don't frequent actual castles often enough (those tickets to Europe are rather expensive), I do still get confused on all the "buttresses" and "baileys" and "barbicans." The terms that tend to give me the most trouble, oddly enough, are the ones I use most frequently. Either my resources are giving me conflicting information or my brain habitually remembers things backwards (which I tend to think is the case).

To keep things straight, I've provided a diagram. Our model is Penrhyn Castle in Bangor, Wales. So the next time you tour your castle and watch for baddies approaching on the horizon, you will know which part you are ducking behind and which part to shoot your arrow through:


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Progress Report, 2-15-11


Falcons Rising
Pages Rewritten:
Pages Cut:
3 1/4
Bad things that happened:
Kelyn drinks too much poppy wine and becomes easy prey. For whom, you ask?
Good things that happened:
Still nothing (very evil laugh follows)

Side note: I have spring fever. It's 70 degrees and sunny here, and I wrote with the back door open and thought I had gone to heaven.

Art of the Week:

Gloria Scholik, 2010

(I love the fairy's distrustful expression!)


Monday, February 14, 2011

Ah, yes, here we are again...

Let me back up a bit and post an update on things.

It's been perhaps two months since I've blogged here, though I have been journaling at LJ for a couple of weeks now. I think I was feeling the pressure of networking and finding something interesting to say, when I just wanted to write on the novels and keep the details to myself. I mean, only I would understand what I was saying, but no one else would have a clue about the plot/character ramblings I wanted to scribble about. And seriously, little else of note, that I would dare share in a public place, was happening. So I took a hiatus and thoroughly enjoyed it. But it's time to dive back in.

The novel project is crawling forward. I'm finding a chain reaction happening. I expected some of it, but nothing quite this dramatic. When I rewrote the first half a couple of years ago, I had changed a few details that are now adding up and causing far bigger changes in the last half. It's a pleasant surprise. I know the text, the characters, the events so well, that it's like these changes should always have been a part of the story, but just hadn't made it onto the page yet. But those changes are also able to keep my interest engaged. I wish I could describe in detail what I'm talking about, with examples, etc. but those examples just wouldn't make an impact on anyone else. You'll just have to read it when it comes out in print.

I'm also getting a bit impatient. It's February, and that stack of paper is still huge. I just want the project to be done with, so I can hold the printed and bound book in my hands and cry with relief. A decade ... that's a long time to become sure of the path this story needed to take. That's swallowing a lot of pride and saying this story is not what editors are looking for these days, but readers might like it and sod it if they don't, I have to finish the project. I've promised too many people involved that they'll receive a copy, anyway, hopefully by Christmas. I'm glad I was realistic with the deadline. It will take me all year to give the novel the attention it needs, while allowing time for short stories on the side.

Good thing is, the cover painting is finished. Well, at least the pastel part is finished. Now I've scanned it into the computer and it will take time to hide the seam between the two pages it took to paint a full wrap-around-sized pic. Also, some of the corpses' faces are too bright for being in shadow. I'll have to darken them as well, and b/c I'm not fluent in the GIMP program, this part of the project will take me a long time to finish, too.

So you see, I'm down to a nitty-gritty, driven routine. If I don't have many updates, it's because the same ol' grind is happening day in and day out.

I am keeping sane by calling it quits most days by 5 pm, eating dinner with my honey, then dungeon crawling with him in DDO. But then, going to sleep, bashed and bloodied from fighting undead and lizard creatures in the stinky sewers, my mind turns again to what I will write come morning. Meditating on it, seeing it clearly, all over again. Like I had a decade ago. Ah, the life of a mad writer.

I found this really cool update system somewhere on LiveJournal and thought I would try it out and see if it keeps me accountable to posting. I've had to customize the thing so that it works for this particular project:

Project: Falcons Rising
Pages Rewritten: 5
Pages Cut: 1 1/3
Bad things that happened: a funeral. :(
Good things that happened: not much - it's hopeless! (evil laugh follows)