Friday, March 18, 2011

Guest Blogging Today

I was very excited to be asked to guest blog today over at the official Save the Cat blog! As you guys know, it's one of my favorite plotting tools ever.

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Whopping Dose of Random...

I went to the chiropractor today as part of my Full Body Tune Up so that I can still be writing when I'm seventy. As we were chatting away, he asked me if I felt I'd 'made it', which had me stopping to think. With as much as I think about this stuff, you'd have assumed I'd have a firm marker in place for that, but I didn't. I started to say once a person hits the bestseller lists, but even that must seem tenuous, once you're there. But as we talked, I realized that I've started to feel like this whole wonderful gig isn't going to be snatched away come morning. Maybe that's as close to feeling one's made it as one gets in this business.


I also happened to notice my chiropractor's hands today. He's a big, burly guy--a record holding power lifter and it shows in his hands. They actually reminded me a lot of my husband's hands, who has worked as a heavy equipment mechanic for a number of years. I realized that made a strange sort of sense since a chiropractor is pretty much a mechanic of the human body.


An unanticipated consequence of having two new books out next month as well as two new paperback editions is that I have author's copies piling up here in my living room at an alarming rate. At last count I had a combined total of NINETY books! I feel a number of contests and giveaways coming soon....


I think I forgot to post my very cool news here! I mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook, but I don't think I talked about it here.

Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist: The Unicorn's Tale is on the Spring 2011 Indie Next List! Hurray, Indies! And thank you!

And Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus has been nominated for an Agatha. Yep, that's my name next to John Grisham and Kathy Reichs! Huge thanks to Malice Domestic for this honor.


Oddly enough, literally everyone I met and talked to yesterday was in a horrible mood. I'm wondering if it was the impending earthquake we were all sensing.

Also? In spite of the three of us here in the house having had horrible, rotten, foul mood days, within about 5 minutes of sitting down at the dinner table, we were laughing. There is no miracle like that of a wonderful family.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Peeking Out of My Hermit Cave

It has been brought to my attention that I have been very quiet lately, and yes, I have. This book is being a bit of a bear to start—for many reasons. A primary one being that it is dark, dark, dark. And I shrink from all that darkness. But try hard as I might to pull it in other directions, that’s where it wants to go. So it has taken me the last two weeks to give myself permission to write the first draft as dark as I need to then, I assure myself, I can lighten it up in subsequent drafts. I mean, that IS the advantage to being a multiple drafter, right?

But I feel like I’m stumbling along in fits and starts, feeling awkward and cumbersome. To help me through this clumsy, graceless stage, I am rereading the classics: BIRD BY BIRD by Anne Lamott and ON WRITING by Stephen King. They are hugely helpful and I am very much enjoying and soaking up these gentle encouraging voices full of bone deep wisdom. It is wisdom that I seem to need right now. Lamott, in particular, seems to be speaking right to me.

But also, as I struggle to hear the faint glimmerings of these new characters in my head, I need to tune out some of the voices on the outside because that noise and commotion draws too much of my attention. When I turn down the volume of the external world, it is much easier for me to hear my emerging characters. So I am alive and well, just…pensive. And quiet.

I’ve never needed quite this much psychic exclusion to start a book before, but I’ve also never written anything this tortured, so it makes sense. It is probably not surprising that these books did not demand to be written until my children were grown and self sufficient. To counteract all this sturm und drang, I am spending lots of time walking in this world, enjoying my family, reminding myself that old wounds do heal, lives that seem dark can find hope, essentially doing whatever I need to do to keep the nature of this book from overwhelming me, while still giving it the nurturing attention it needs to be born. A bit of a juggling act, actually.

Also? I am trying to be ergonomically savvy. The older I get the more aware I am of the wear and tear the act of writing and mousing and typing and sitting for hours on end has on my body. I had an ergonomics specialist come the other day and evaluate my process and stations and retweak everything. I want to be able to do this for another twenty or thirty years, so I need to make sure I’m not over stressing various joints, tendons, and muscles. Which is pretty much guaranteed if you spend nine hours a day on the computer, so I’ve just been cutting back in general.