Friday, June 29, 2007

The dreaded edit

Well, I started revising the first half yesterday. I'll admit I was scared. I spent almost half my lunchtime yesterday staring at the printout, working myself up to start it. Why?

Mostly just a basic fear of what I'd find, I suppose. That I'd read it and realize it was all horrible, or that I'd have to slash most of it out, and my carefully built-up word count would dissolve overnight.

Yesterday I only did 2 chapters (see above about half of lunch hour), but I ended up adding words. It was kinda fun after all. I just expanded some scenes, tweaked them, made them deeper. Today I hit the big slash, and had to take out about 1500 words where I've completely revised the plot. Fortunately I've added about 950 back in so far, and am in the midst of an all-new scene now.

I don't know if I'll make it to my original goal of 34,000 by the end of this month, but I'll be close. And I KNOW I'm making it better.

Sometime when I'm not writing and not catching up on work I'll do a blog on our Winnipeg trip. Not today. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Wow, and whew.

I wrote 1066 words today. I'm at 50%. {beam}

I also came up with a ton of what-I-think-are-good ideas last night for deepening the world, for tying it (loosely) into existing spiritual concepts, for strengthening the themes. For making the beginning, which is currently a bloody, confused mess, truly kick-ass.

And I'm going to Winnipeg tomorrow for a week, for vacation and for Julie's wedding. I'm thinking as I'm at the halfway mark, it might be a very smart time to pause on the forward momentum and go back and do all that stuff I want to do to the first half before I proceed wrong-footed. Straighten it out and get all those issues sorted.

But we shall see. I'm also currently reading an already kick-ass book, so I'm a tad busy. Vacation, wedding, excellent read, writing frenzy.

It's all good.

P.S. If I don't post again--and I probably won't--I'll see y'all when I get back from Winnipeg.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Conversation notes

Conversation I just had with Child at dinner:

Child: Do you know what my bread just said to me? It told me to have bad manners. That's why I'm talking with my mouth full. {giggle}

Me (blandly): I'm a little bit concerned that your bread is talking to you.

Child: Why? {giggle}

Me: It's pretty unusual for bread to talk to people.

Child: Well, Belle has a talking teapot.

Me (after a pause): Good point.

Friday, June 15, 2007

And now for something completely different...

Happy Friday, all! Today we have a special guest blogger, one you've all heard me talk about (over and over and over and…). She wants to see what all the fuss is about for herself. May I present…Generosity Rayburn!

{angry throat clearing sound}

Er…sorry. May I present…Jenna!

{little wave} Heya. It's Jenna, not…that other name. First, let me say this wasn't my idea, like I’m clueless and need to learn about blogging. I'm on MySpace every day. I'm 15. Hello.

I think Susan just wanted to see what I'd talk about if she let me out. Bwa-ha-ha.

Aside: I cannot believe how long it's taking her to write about me. Seriously. If she'd just listen to me for more than an hour a day, we'd be done already. I feel like I'm on "pause" all the time, waiting for her to come back and let me move on. Doing stuff is fun. Talking is fun. Hanging out with Neil is fun. Waiting? Not fun.

Anyway, when I am allowed to move (thank you), she's got me hopping all over the place. Joe's World, Montana. Joe's World, Montana. Improv class, lunches, the movies. The hospital.

No, I don't want to talk about the hospital.

Lots of stuff. Which I'm glad about, actually. Because if I didn't have all this—um, stuff—going on, I'd be bored out of my mind.

(Did I mention Montana?)

So. I guess that's it for now. She's poking me again and telling me not to give away any spoilers, so I suppose that's my cue to go pause again. Until lunchtime, when I get to go cause trouble some more. Bwa-ha-ha. And maybe I'll come back again and guest blog another time. Like when I actually have something to talk about?



Oh, and a fish update. {sigh} Last night one of the fish (let's call him Psycho) started viciously attacking the other fish (aka Defenseless). It wasn't pretty, with Psycho head-butting little Defenseless's battered body around the tank. Yeah. Fortunately Child didn't witness much of that, though I was a little shocked. Who knew about fish? In any case, Defenseless went to watery heaven or wherever they go, so we have one fish for now. We may add more (a different kind) after vacation. {sigh}

Thursday, June 14, 2007


I cleaned up the good scene from yesterday, and am still happy with it. Today's isn't as strong, but I'm still not quite sure where it's going to I'll play with it.

I just got a work publication back from the printer that I worked really hard on. And it looks PERFECT! {happy sigh} I am so relieved.

It's sunny out today, so maybe I can convince hubby to go for a walk with me around campus.

Oh, and the fish? Yeah. The tiger barb is looking like it's not long for this world. We've been fighting ich since we got it, and we're losing. This morning I couldn't find him, and Child finally spotted him INSIDE a little decorative jug on the bottom that he shouldn't even fit into. I guess a survival rate of one out of two isn't bad. {cough}

Whadjya eat? Ah, now you'll start to see my pattern. Usually I grocery shop on the weekend, and Sunday/Monday/Tuesday I try out new stuff or make the real recipes. On Wednesday or so we start to use leftovers, or just have all-out leftover or simple meals the rest of the week. I guess I run out of steam. {g} Last night we had spinach salad, a cooked ham slice, and leftover couscous. I did spruce up the couscous (plain) with toasted garlic and pine nuts, just to make it at least a tiny bit flavorful.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


And then that turned into one of the best, strongest scenes in a while. Perseverance pays off, as always.

And if you haven't read it today, check out Da Momma's post on {sniff}


Humph. Struggling with the writing today. I don't know what the problem is, but it's annoying.

Actually, I do know what the problem is, I guess. I changed locations/scenes, into a "rest" moment, and I'm not really good at writing those. I need and appreciate them when I'm reading, but give me the middle of high action to write any day. {sigh} Or dialogue. I love to write dialogue, at least in this book.

What's your favorite bit to write: dialogue? action? description (pardon me while I ugh)? introspection?

Whadjya eat? We needed a light meal, so I made vermicelli with roasted asparagus and tomatoes, which is actually a Mayo Clinic recipe (healthy!). It's one of our favorites for summer; the asparagus is soooo good this way. I served it with parmesan toasted bread. Actually I'm never sure whether Child will eat this one--sometimes she does, sometimes she doesn't--and last night she wanted her own food. Which is fine. We have mac-n-cheese leftovers. {s}

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I managed to squeeze some writing in yesterday even though it turned out to be a lunch-with-hubby day, so it's all good. Mexican food _and_ progress on Jenna.

Today I've got to get my usual 750 words. Hopefully won't be a problem. I get to start today's writing with a kiss scene, the first one in the book. The girl's been a bit too busy for romance so far.

Whadjya eat?
Last night I tried a new recipe, Chicken Yakisoba. It was a bit more labor-intensive than my usual work night recipes, but basically it's chicken stir-fried with Napa cabbage, carrots, onions, and Chinese soba noodles. The yummy light sauce has sake (I used plum sake), soy sauce, and fresh ginger in it. Hubby had seconds and Child actually ate quite a bit before she had to be rescued with cottage cheese. {g} I'd make it again, though probably not often. (But Child and I had lots of fun saying "chicken Yaki-SOBA" over and over and over...)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Not sleeping, writing, and cooking

Child's first sleepover was great...without much sleeping, but I did rather expect that. I did NOT expect them to bounce back up at 6:30 AM all bright and bouncy, but apparently Child's Best Friend is an early riser. Usually weekends are for sleeping in, at least until 8:30.

We took a nap yesterday afternoon to compensate. Yep, me too. {still yawning}

When we weren't running around buying trees/cleaning/having our portrait taken/playing/making cookies etc. this weekend, my brain was on Jenna. I keep having those moments--you writers know them, hopefully--where I am SO excited about what this book could be if only I get it right. I know it's far from that in this first draft, but there are glimmerings. I even sat down and wrote a whole paragraph while the girls were busy playing in the other room.

As I've been into cooking for the past few months, I've decided to copy Sara's "what's for supper" feature, now that she's not doing it that way anymore. {g} Except I have to post what we had for dinner the night before, since I'm never absolutely sure until I make it. I'll call the new feature a version of a famous Butte phrase:

Whadjya eat?: I don't have a recipe to link to, since last night's dinner was straightforward and simple. We had lamb chops with mint-apple jelly, couscous, sliced tomatoes with balsamic vinegar dressing, and fruit salad (fresh strawberries, apples, black plum, and grapes). Child loves lamb chops with mint jelly, so this one's an easy sell. :)

Friday, June 08, 2007


I was excited yesterday because JENNA is really starting to take off on its own, in a direction I hadn't quite expected. Still within the same general plot, but new branches are shooting off all over, and I love that. I had a brief moment of wanting to run through the halls shouting "THE BOOK'S ALIVE" like Frankenstein.

Thankfully, I stayed behind my shut office door and ate peanut butter cups in joy instead.

I can't wait to get cracking on it today, to see what is revealed. One of the characters is telling a story I don't know yet. {s}

In other news, my writer friends have books popping out all over. My great friend kc dyer's new YA book, Ms. Zephy'rs Notebook, debuted yesterday. I haven't had the chance to read it yet, but you know I will as soon as possible. Sarah Beth Durst's first book, Into the Wild, comes out in two weeks--and that's already on my must-buy list. And Diana Peterfreund's second Secret Society Girl book, Under the Rose, comes out the end of this month. An embarrassment of riches, eh?

And in other other news, my girl is hosting her best friend for their first-ever sleepover tomorrow night. I'm a teensy bit Mom-nervous, but mostly I'm just looking forward to it. I love Child's best friend, and she's always fun to have over. What's all night? :)

And the fish are still alive. Yay.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007


Things I've learned over the past week:

--Setting up a fish tank for the first time is rather a blur of filters, and conditioners, and correct plants, and correct heaters, and what to do when.

--When the instructions say "heater must be completely submersed before being plugged in", they mean it. Or the bloody thing doesn't work.

--Once I've broken a heater {ahem} I become instantly neurotic about the new one I bought to replace it, convinced that it's not working properly. I may even run home during the day to check that the fish aren't burning up.

--The little bubbly fountain I bought for my office is cool, and is indeed relaxing. It almost wipes out random thoughts about fried fish.

--I really am the mom of a big KID now. She'll be in kindergarten in the fall. As of today, I'm even a soccer mom. {gasp}

--Dead Witch Walking is a good, funny book. But I get way different looks reading that, or Vicki's books, than I did reading historicals. I love this, and this fact alone would make me want to read more.

--I can write 700 words a day steadily if I concentrate on it. I'm still on track for finishing the first draft at least of JENNA by Surrey, and pitching the sucker.

--My friends rock.