A Return and Confusion

As one might guess, I’ve been conspicuously absent the last month or so.

I’ve been trying to finish my YA book, which is a little past the half-way point. However, then fall (winter) began to settle in. It sort of snuck up on me unawares. One day, my alarm went off at 5 a.m. and I noticed it was pitch black dark outside. I stayed in bed until 6 a.m., and the darkness didn’t change. It was still like night time.

As some might know, I suspect I have SAD (seasonal affective disorder). This means I get depressed in the winter time. Last year, I got a jump on it by taking my meds in early September. This year I forgot until that morning in the dark.

It takes a few weeks before the medicine kicks in. I found myself driving to the store and my heart began to sink for no reason at all and my eyes clouded up. I made an appointment with the doctor.

It’s hard to be light and breezy (as in writing YA) when you are feeling down in the dumps. So the book came to a slow but crushing halt. I want to finish it before the end of the year, so I have started working on it a little at a time. When faced with the prospects of writing or jumping into bed, I choose the bed more often than not, but I am trying to curb that bad habit.

On the positive news front, I am taking a class, wire wrapping jewelry. This is a very expensive hobby. We are provided copper in the class, but if you want to upgrade to silver or gold you’re on your own.  I’ve met some interesting women in the class. It’s on Tuesday mornings, so I have to make sure the office is covered, but the time away helps. Plus, I am making Christmas presents with my own two hands.

My daughter broke up with her once Mohawk boyfriend this weekend. She’s young and flighty but that doesn’t mean the guy deserved it. It’s too bad. I like all of Ms. MiniD’s boyfriends, usually more than she likes them. Parental approval is the kiss of death for these guys. I’m sure when she finds a no-good wife-beating serial killer that we disapprove of, she will latch on to him.

Other than that, we are hunkering down in the Tundra for another long winter. The first freeze was weeks ago. So much for global warming.

You Can Go Home But It Won’t Be The Same

Just returned from a quick trip to Colorado. More later… The basic premise is that you can go home again, it’s just not going to be the same as you left it.

OMG! I’ve been gone for over a month!

I just realized that I hadn’t visited WordPress for awhile, but I was amazed to find out after just logging in today that it’s been over a month!

What the hell?

There’s much news and no time to devote to sharing it. For those of you who wish to follow my escapades, send me a quick note at the end of this entry and I will send you an email with links to what I’ve been doing.

Let’s just say summer  has been busy.

The best thing is that I’ve been writing, usually for an hour or two every day. Yesterday I pumped out four pages of the novel which sprung from the loins of the novel I was working on. Tandem novels! Whee!

My garden is super, all in place. Except for the critters, things are going great. Now if the weather would cooperate. We haven’t had much for a summer this year. It’s mostly been cold, rainy, foggy and gray. Just like San Francisco but without the culture or the sushi.

I’ll try to come back this weekend…

Preparing for My First Recital

My violin teacher has decided to include me in her June recital.

This is momentous! For the last four years, she has tried to tamp down my enthusiasm for playing with others. True, I’m a slow study, but the ambition is there.

I plan on playing some Bartok dances. My husband might accompany me, even though he cannot stand Bartok. Most Bartok doesn’t bother me; in fact, I studied it when I took piano many years ago.

The weird thing is that I’m getting a little nervous. It’s not that the piece is hard; it’s easy. It’s not like I’m playing in front of a hall full of people; we will be entertaining at a nursing home about two blocks from my house. It’s where my teacher’s husband currently resides. He’s 92 years old, fell down a while back and is unable to move himself.

I’ve played nursing homes before. In fact, my church group in high school used to go every Saturday and play guitar. When Ms. MiniD was still here playing flute, she did the same.

Nursing home audiences are grateful for the break in the usual schedule. Sometimes you wonder if they are cognizant of what’s going on around them.

This is a perfect group to practice my chops on. Most of them can’t chase us out of the building, and that’s good.


All Jazzed Up: A Postscript

It’s been a couple of days since I returned home from the writers’ conference, with my head all jazzed up with new strategies and ideas.

Monday was a dead day. Not only did I miss my return flight (they changed the time without telling me), the subsequent red-eye I was scheduled on was two hours late getting to San Francisco. I used the time to write the first chapter of my next book, and this one promises to be less of a downer than the first one. Instead of getting home before 6, the plane landed at about a quarter to 7. However, since I was chock full of enthusiasm, I actually went straight back to my day job and went to work.

Around 2, I started to fade quickly. Back in the day when I was young, staying up all night was a no-brainer. These days, this lady can’t take it. She is old. I barely made it back home before the peepers shut down completely.

Of course, it was just a nap. I had to wake up at 5:30 to go grocery shopping. That’s because the dear Mr. Demonic eats out when I am away.

It was tough to get out of bed, but I did it.

Now… for the news: I participated in the “speed-dating” of agents. I got to talk to two. One said my novel wasn’t interesting enough. I pitched my coming of age novel to the next woman, and she said I could send her a query letter! I do have a slight problem in that the novella doesn’t have an ending, and it wasn’t the book I was hoping to sell in the first place.

I learned that my epic woman’s literature (chick-lit is not the correct genre for the piece, since there’s no hook up at the end) will need to be trimmed by, oh, let’s say one-third? It’s massively huge. I knew there were plot and movement problems, and to have someone tell me it wasn’t interesting is lighting a fire under me. I’m going to let that one sit for a week or two before I attack it again.

I learned a lot of other things too, which I will divulge in later posts. Right now, I have to get some people paid.

It’s good to be back!

Elevator Riding

Novel: check.

Synopsis: check.

Elevator intro: not quite.

After a flurry of email regarding the Godzilla synopsis problem, I managed to condense 500+ pages into two reasonably informational pages, double-spaced. I’m prize-winning when it comes to blowing up a story and adding 100K extra words to it, in fact, that’s easy, but whittling has never been my strong suit.

It’s not that I have a vested interest in my words as they are, because I’m not that kind of writer. When criticized, I tend to view it as a learning experience and not as an assault on my character. I’ve been truly assaulted before, and I know the difference.

My problem yesterday was coming up with an “elevator introduction” — something of a couple minutes length to explain my novel to (hopefully) some publishing Joe I have hopelessly trapped in an elevator ride between the 2nd and 5th floors.

I’d heard the term before, but I thought it was a quaint little metaphor, not an actual spiel I’d have to have in order to launch an attack on said captive book publisher. I mean, really. Who hangs in an elevator when there’s a writing conference going on right downstairs?

Turns out, it’s an actual thing one does.

Oh, the naivete of this poor little bumpkin! This job was to take my synopsis and turn it into three or four quick yet enthusiastic sentences. And don’t let me forget that other magic ingredient, turning on the charm.

Both tasks are impossible for me. Let’s see, I’m the kind who runs off at the keyboard. The reason I do that is because I’ve never been comfortable with talking to real people. My lack of self-worth might have been the result of my looks, my teeth, my size, my troubled upbringing, who knows? Writing has been the easy release, made more simple through my sheer love of words.

The other obstacle is my disdain of glad-handing. You can call it that, or brown-nosing, or greasing the palm. It’s the main reason I’m leery of politicians and used car salesmen. I want people to like me for me, not to like me for my charm.

Oh, well. After another flurry of email back and forth to my mentor and cheerleader, I think I’ve come up with something for my proposed trip in the elevator.

I just hope I remember my name.

Not Really Finished…

As the Little Fluffy Cat knows, after the blush and triumph of finally finishing my book wore off, Monday morning I received an email of the upcoming activities at the Writers’ Conference. It’s action packed from morning until late night with presentations, food (! a plus, I thought I was on my own there…) and a hotel more full of agents, editors and publishing houses than I could imagine in my lifetime.

My business cards arrived at my son’s house, addressed to him, so he opened the package. They’re beautiful! All that worrying and hair-pulling (we know I don’t have much hair) for nothing.

Then, of course, came the bad news. Well, more bad news. My fear level is at an all time high. When Friday comes, I hope I can remember my name. That’s bad news number one.

Now I learn in order to participate in the “speed-dating” event, I must have a synopsis of my novel.

Synopsis? Gah… I thought my “job” was finished and it was on to the editing. I was looking forward to red marks and streamlining my baby from a chubby blob to something sleek and muscular. Whodathunk that I’d have to have a synopsis, too? The word hasn’t been in my vocabulary since college. What the hell was a synopsis, no, what was a good one?

I sent out word to Little Kitty, who emailed me more information than I could possible absorb. I printed every email out, and every link to every page. (My eyes can’t handle a lot of words on a computer screen.)

I find I work best under pressure, which is why deadlines are no problem for me. In the yearbook biz, you set a deadline for your schools that is about a week before the actual deadline for you. It’s called a cushion, and although I was supposed to be finished with the book by December 31, completing the task on February 9 at 1:05 p.m. was actually not bad for me. However, a few things happened on Monday which made for concentration to be a commodity in short supply. Writing that day was crazy.

My #2 girl came in to inform me she had an abscessed wisdom tooth. Why did she wait until the day before my trip to go to the dentist? And on a Monday, the busiest day of the week? She lasted three hours and left. Then a call came in from Ms. MiniD, who reminded me I needed to put her ADD medicine in the box I was sending her. I hadn’t taken her prescription to the pharmacy yet. I also had to finish the laundry and pack, and with the conference, I had laid out just about everything I owned and nothing seemed right.  (Except for those new pumps I bought. Black, stylish, and tres comfortable.)

The day was long and hectic. I was practically chained to my desk until 6 p.m., and people, when you get there at  8 and don’t get up but once to use the facilities, that is a long, long day. I can sometimes write during my day job, but with all the stress and the phones ringing, my attempt at crafting my synopsis was lame-o.

Tuesday morning, before going to the airport, I had to pick up my own cholesterol prescription, mail the box to Ms. MiniD, and get the rest of the junk off my desk by 10. I also had to email a corrected yearbook proof to a school, because they were going on winter break at the end of the week.

My husband was being pokey, as per usual. When he wants to go somewhere, he is waiting in the car with a pained expression on his face. When I want to go somewhere, he has to go to the bathroom, grab a cup of coffee and lose his car keys. These are the keys to the brand new Hyundai which he lost the afternoon the car was delivered back in September. It appears there was only one key since it was a repo, and to get another one took several hundred dollars and a lot of legwork, which is why the car sat all winter under two feet of snow.

If you saw his office, you would know why he loses things. If he were to die tomorrow, I swear, it would take three or four years to wade through the junk. It’s not just papers, under those papers are tons of pens and pencils, personal letters and at least a hundred keys, most of which he doesn’t know where they belong too. I also happen think my husband and I are both pre-Alzheimer-y now that we are in our 50s.

Anyway, he finally located the keys, but he was lackadaisical about getting to the airport. That’s because he took two phone calls and he tends to weave while on the phone. Somehow I made it to the airport in just enough time to get on the plane. Now I am sitting in my hotel room, where I hope to get a decent synopsis finished before Friday.

Thank goodness for that cushion.