Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Your assistance is requested

I've started working on the next draft, scene by scene. I've just started. Now that I'm in my office and can spread papers all over the desk, it's so much easier to keep track of where I am in the story.

There's a scene in the last third of the book of which I have two versions. In one there is a fire, in another the fire is prevented. Whichever one I go with greatly impacts the last third of the book. As it stands, the fire is prevented. It might be stronger otherwise.

My question to you is how do I burn down a small cluster of chestnut trees? In front of people? With enough speed and destruction that they can't put the fire out in time? Perhaps you can see why I prevented it in the current draft.

As you were all invaluable with the bar scene, I know you'll be of great assistance in causing this fire. Gasoline and a match are not an option. I'm not sure how well flammable liquids travel through time and space.

Thank you.

To set the scene without giving too much away. Nea and Alex are in a forest. They are surrounded by nymphs as well as a variety of flora and fauna apart from the chestnut trees. I like the idea of lightning but am not sure magic can be employed. It might require plain old-fashioned human means. All of the players, including the nymph observers, apart from the arsonist are preoccupied by a bitter confrontation between Nea and her mother.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Oh the Joy

This was my office three days ago. It was convenient. I have this cool little table on wheels and I propped my paperwork up on the hingey part of the table. I could watch Yoda play to the right, observe the fish or even laugh at Ky watching bird and fish. I also watched television while I wrote. Multi-tasking is my middle name.

I spent several days replacing the main piece of glass in the door that lounged in the garage. It took some careful manipulation and lots of scrubbing to get a reasonably clean door upstairs and into the room.

While it's not perfect (several boxes beneath the door/desk have to be put away), I'm pleased with how the room has come together. Stacks of papers have already spread themselves across the top but I'm sorting through things right now so that's to be expected. At least now all those papers have homes, and will go into them just as soon as I can access the filing cabinet and shelf.

Thanks to the new level of organization my brain has been able to focus on the important things. I actually wrote some dialogue this morning that helped me get back into the right frame of mind. Thank you to Elen and Kate for your thoughtful input on my conundrum. It is about balance, as well as a time and place, not to mention purpose, for everything.

This office supplies me with all of the above. And no, that's not the same vase of lilacs in both pictures. I'm setting mood in every room. A good mood to assist me with all the crap in life and writing.

Monday, May 19, 2008


I rescued a baby skunk from certain death yesterday. He was limping as quickly as his injured leg would allow him to motor through the parking lot. He was headed for the even busier road when I got to him with a shopping basket. Poor little guy was terrified out of his wits by the time I reached him. He didn't try to spray me. He did hiss and cower. By the time the Humane Society came to pick him up for even more certain death(at least he wouldn't suffer from his injuries or die beneath the wheels of any one of the half-dozen cars I stopped in their tracks), I had repeatedly answered the question of why I don't work with wildlife for a living. For one thing, I don't have my rehab license. I also don't have the time or money required to take on rehab full time. I've done it for other people and know beyond all doubt that it's a 24-7, no vacation heartbreak.

Rather than get into all the whys and wherefores of wildlife rehab, and the fate of one little creature I crossed paths with for twenty minutes on a rainy, cold Sunday, I started thinking about how I could change the world. What could I do to ease the pain and suffering out there? Cyclones, earthquakes, tsunamis; they're on the news every day killing people for weeks and even months after the initial hit.

Nea creates those things. She does it for a multitudes of reasons, not the least of which is she's a demon. Thinking about all the real life tragedy those natural disasters cause left a really bad taste in my mouth about Nea.

Even if her tornadoes don't kill people they are still devastating. And that's her whole purpose. To make other people as miserable as she is. I understand why Nea does those horrible things but don't know if I can continue to write about them.

In the last blog, I was researching how to set a stand of trees on fire in front of witnesses. That same night, someone did that very thing at the end of my street behind my friend's house. We took the dogs for a run along there two nights later and were sickened by the huge swatch of land, and habitats, destroyed by arson.

I spent a good chunk of last night and this morning trying to reconcile fiction with reality. I have to tell you that at this moment in time, I haven't been able to do it. I don't want to write about deliberately causing a fire after seeing its destruction firsthand. The acrid smell still lingers in my nostrils.

I think about that little skunk and how we built parking lots, shopping malls and busy roads around his habitat. He literally had no where to go yesterday. He was surrounded by concrete and cars without a safe haven in sight. Not much different from the effect of Nea's actions.

I'm switching the blog to Sunday posts only for the next little while. Yes I'm a day late. Yesterday was full. I might post more often if my brain gets back into writing mode. If I can justify Nea's behaviour in such a way that The Reader believes it. And cheers when she's redeemed at the end.

I've started organizing the office today. Maybe once it's done, I'll be able to get back to work. And write my way through this conundrum.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I'm reading. Susan Wiggs, JoAnn Ross, Maggie Shayne, NASCAR stories and Explore! as well as a few Canadian Gardening magazines. The latter serve dual purpose. I've got some flower beds that need help, and I'm trying to figure out how to burn down a grove of chestnut trees. They have to catch quick enough that no one is able to put the fire out.

I have a heavy work schedule, am recovering from a particularly debilitating flu, and re-arranging a room into an office. Some other stuff has to happen before the office can be converted from a spare room(all that furniture needs a place to go) so it's complete and utter chaos in my house right now.

I feel completely unproductive despite the above paragraph. While I'm thinking about Alex and Nea a fair amount, no words have hit the page in over a week. Well over a week as a matter of fact. It's disheartening. On the other hand, by the time I get back to fingers on the keyboard, I should have thought through the problem areas so that the words can fly.

It's good to be optimistic.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Nea has a less-than-delightful relationship with her mother. The nymph gave birth to her and that was about it. There was none of the nurturing, caring, guiding that most people expect from their mothers. At last meeting, Nea's mother was busy teaching Nea's alleged soul mate about earthy pleasures. Fortunately for Nea this was neither unusual nor out of character behaviour from her mother and she wasn't shocked. Even more fortunately, she didn't feel all that soul matey about the guy.

For all those people who think we writers merely transcribe our own life experiences, let me remind you this is fiction. My mother is loyal, loving, dedicated, funny, generous and nothing remotely like Nea's mother. Despite the normal ups and downs that every two people in any kind of relationship experience, we genuinely like and care for one another. My mom is smart, strong and a good role model.

There's a good reason for Nea's mother to behave so differently from my own. Not only does it serve the story and add to Nea's growth, but her mother suffered a great tragedy in the back story. A tragedy that altered both of their lives and one from which neither will ever truly recover.

With some luck and a great deal of work on both their parts, Nea and her mother may find understanding and a way to heal. My mom would be disappointed if they didn't at least try. She's a big proponent of doing one's best. That's not a bad thing.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


P.S. I love you came out on DVD yesterday. No, I haven't watched it yet, but I did buy it. I am listening to the soundtrack while I work on my new project. Yep, you heard right. I started a new project. Actually, I'm working up notes and an outline while I research some important details for Alex.

The universe, and plenty of writer friends, have been urging me to write a NASCAR romance. A hero came to me just over two years ago. I ignored him. I finished Gabriela's story. The hero raced back up to the front of the pack. I ignored him and started Alex's story. On Saturday, the driver roared up the line and roared his engine to get my attention. I tried to ignore him.

I would have succeeded if my friend Lou hadn't made a comment about why she disliked motorsports. Out of nowhere a woman appeared and reamed him out. She made some valid points. He made several back. The loud "discussion" was equally matched and hard to ignore.

I made notes. Lots of notes. I have goal, motivation, conflict, setting, character, growth and resolution. I have an email reminding me in that timely way that synchronicity works, that Harlequin editors are actively seeking authors for the NASCAR line.

The new project has to wait long enough for me to finish the polished draft of Alex and Nea's story. Those two have not been patient about having their story told. I revisited Bracken the other day in the course of writing Nea's Black Moment. He's too pissed to meet, or trust, another woman. It will be interesting to see which one of these new projects compels me first.

In the meantime, lots of reading, gardening and P.S. I love you. It's all research.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Hell did pay

I spent the rest of the week reading Explore, watching too much daytime television and thinking about the end to Alex's story while a vicious cold ravaged my brain cells. It's been nasty here this week.

I rushed the end of my first draft because I wanted to meet the April writing challenge. I realized it was rough but last night a solution came to me in the middle of the night. I didn't write it down because I ended up standing coyote watch for this darling dog with whom I am house-sitting.

This coming week, I'm going to go back to the last three scenes in the rough draft and make Alex's loss stronger, tie Nea's black moment into his then shove the tension over the Falls. It should be fun.