Monday, November 24, 2008

The Road

Orycon is over for another year, and it was a lot of fun. My daughter enjoyed herself, found the classes she chose to be well worth the effort, and in general comported herself in a very responsible and mature manner. This was our first trip out of town together, just the two of us. Before, I've either gone alone or with a friend, or the whole family. It was nice to spend that time with my older girl and see what she thought of things and hear about her ideas and impressions. I found her to be a relaxing travel companion, as she didn't argue about anything, wasn't high maintenance, and was way more help than hindrance. I love Portland, but we still got lost twice--once in finding the hotel, and once in finding our way out of town. It was all those ramps and bridges...and MapQuest's bad driving directions. I've come to the conclusion that I really need a GPS unit.

In talking to my daughter on the way home, though, I had an epiphany about why I love to travel. When I'm home, I'm always on duty, and there's always something else I "should" be doing. If I'm sleeping in after a night's writing, I "should" be awake doing housework or teaching the kids. If I'm awake at night working on a book, I "should" be sleeping. If I'm helping the kids with schoolwork, I "should" be working on a book or doing housework or errands, and if I'm running errands, I "should" be at home helping the kids with schoolwork. It's hard to organize time well enough that at any given time, I'm not neglecting one thing in favor of another (though I may actually be doing better at organization lately....) But when I'm traveling--when I'm in a plane or in a car, I am, like the fae, in a liminal place--a between place--and I like it. It's a place where I don't have to do anything but the traveling. Especially if I'm driving, I can't do any of those other things that usually clamor for my attention, so there's no pressure. I never realized before just how mentally freeing that is, but it's true. During the time getting from here to there, I'm free to let go and just be. Who'd have thought a long strip of blacktop could be such a magical place?

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Soon the older daughter and I will be heading off to Orycon, the science fiction/fantasy convention held annually in--you guessed it--Oregon. My teenager made a special request to go to a conference with me, and since conferences are prohibitively expensive, we decided on a convention instead. There are still classes--writing-related, industry-related, and fan-related, so she should be able to find plenty of things to experience while we're there. The coolest part for me is that she wants to see what things are like in mom's world. I'll get to see it through her eyes, in a sense. I'm sure the fact that she knows she might see aliens, fae and werewolves in the hallways is also part of the inducement.

I just finished my Ninth Wave rewrite. Now we'll see what happens.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Almost There

Are we there yet? Seriously, I think so. I am within three chapters of the end of my latest revision to Ninth Wave, and I'm taking it to the Moxie meeting tomorrow. Ultimately, if they only get to skim the rest, it'll be okay, since the lady who critiqued it for me is going to review it again also. She emailed me edits with page numbers and everything, and that has been very helpful. Her insight is amazing.

Friday night I was still struggling with a tricky dilemma, trying to figure out how to rewrite a part where the logic of a decision my heroine made was under question. Basically, the request was, "show us more of why she made this decision." At first, I wasn't sure I could show it in any more detail than I had already done, but when push came to shove, I had to find the answer. I brainstormed it and got to a certain point, rewrote the chapter in question to the point where my logic left off, and then got stuck briefly. I slept on it, let it percolate...and was still stuck. I was at the point where I needed the rest of the answer, and had no idea how to logic it out, so I just...appealed to the muse, I guess. I decided to trust the process and not think too hard, and just see what happened. And, like the magic it is, the answer came as I was writing. It just flowed from somewhere, through my subconscious and out through my fingers, and when it was done, the logic was good. It made sense. It held together. And it not only deepened a point of conflict that my agent had wanted deepened before, but it also cast new light on an important relationship in the book, not to mention my heroine and her past and motivations.

Sometimes you can't mug the muse. Sometimes you just have to ask for what you want, and then trust that it will be there when you need it. The subconscious is a powerful problem solver, and our subjective experiences add up to more than the sum of their parts. That's where the real magic starts.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Have Mercy

The new Mercedes Thompson comic book, that is. It's a new story by Patricia Briggs, put out by Dabel Brothers in comic book form, dealing with the character Mercy Thompson at the time when she first moved to the Tri-Cities. I just picked up issue one of the four-issue series tonight, and I love it. The only thing I hated was when I hit the end and there was no second issue available yet.

How cool would that be, to have your own characters come out in a comic book?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not Bad

Okay, the day after the hafla, I didn't end up lying around with the hot pad or ice packs or anything even remotely like that. I was a little sore in places, but nothing major, and nothing out of the ordinary. I guess I'm in better shape than I thought. Whoohoo.

Now I'm off to take the younger daughter to her dance class, and from there I'll go to my favorite haunt with the laptop and do some more revisions. I finished revising Chapter Ten last night, and since I split Chapter Three earlier, there are now a total of 21 chapters in the book, which leaves me only 11 more chapters to edit. Not bad.

The younger one actually got a decent amount of schoolwork done today on her own. One of her assignments involved making dinner for the family, so we started a soup in the crock pot, which helps us all out with the "who's going to cook" issue.

The older daughter took it upon herself to do internet research to determine the latest news on the whole melamine/candy issue, so we now know which of the suspect Halloween treats we can let them eat and which ones we can't.

Looks like everyone in the family is making some kind of progress.

Sunday, November 09, 2008


The fall bellydance hafla (dance party) is going on this weekend. Earlier Saturday morning I went to my usual bellydance fusion class for an hour and a half, then had an hour for lunch, then took a two-hour workshop at the hafla, then danced my solo in the evening show, then danced in three other group dances, which my daughter also participated in.... The teenager fell asleep in the car on the way home, but I have the feeling it'll be me who's sore tomorrow. I've never danced so many hours in one day in my entire life. At least I got compliments on my solo--I'll remember them when I'm holed up in bed or the recliner with a hotpad for my knees, back and feet.

There were some fantastic dancers present, and the turnout to celebrate my teacher's 30th year in the industry was wonderful. Many of the performers honored her, and some of us participated in a very large secret group dance choreographed of beginner moves that she taught all of us in her classes over the years. She was very surprised and touched by it.

Now I'm going to hit the hay. Due to the hafla and preparations for it, I did no writing either Friday or Saturday, but tomorrow it's back at it with a vengeance. I'm about halfway through the revisions, and I've actually hit most of the points mentioned in the critique, so it may actually go faster from here on out. The only snag has been that both the kids' computers died within a week of each other, and since they use a correspondance school, I've been having to let them use my computer most of the day for their schoolwork. The huz resurrected my older laptop and fixed its issues, so that gives one kid a laptop and one kid my PC. So that leaves me with my newer laptop and no office to work in for the time being. Once I've dragged myself out of bed tomorrow (or later today, actually), I'll probably end up at the office away from home--a bookstore or coffee shop. Hey, it worked for J.K. Rowling.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Ahead of the Line

I've already voted. I filled out an absentee ballot this year and sent it in by mail, so I will not have to stand in the voting lines. Last year I stood in line for several hours, and it wreaked havoc on my neck and shoulders. So this year, the Huz and I saved ourselves the hassle and got the deed done ahead of time. I'm so glad.

The only line I'm going to stand in tomorrow (or today, considering it's the wee hours, and so technically it's already Tuesday, even if I still think of it as Monday night) is the cashier's line at the Barnes and Noble, to buy the latest book by one of the authors I like. I may even go to a movie.

Book-wise, I'm working through some more edits. Thanks to the thoughtfulness of the amazing lady I mentioned in a previous post, and the agreement of my fantastic agent Bob, I'm getting a chance at another work-through of the original Brenna book before marketing efforts continue. If I can fix the things the lady noted, I should have an even stronger book.

So...what happened? Why did we wind things back? Put simply, the aforementioned lady saw some very specific issues that the rest of us did not, and thanks to her sharp editing skills, we were finally able to pin down what might have been tripping the book up--and tripping Brenna up. Sometimes all it takes is just one person to say something in just the right way, and previously unidentifiable issues become clear. I've been working on edits per her comments for the last week or so and was able to get some major progress done tonight. Once I have worked over the things she discovered, things should be looking pretty good.

Many thanks to the amazingly gracious and talented lady. You rock.