Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Bad Blogger

   Yea, that's me. I'm the bad blogger.
   So...I managed to write nearly 130,000 words of the new novel since Memorial Day weekend before writing over 4,000 words of an outline for the revamped version of which I am around 12,000 into...and you know what? I am still dissatisfied with how things are going.
    I am going to go out on a limb here and admit to the world in general that I prefer writing stories with fantastical, magical, supernatural, and paranormal elements because I generally just stink at writing real life, except for Life Skills, but that novel took a years worth of attempts before it finally pleased me enough that I could release it.
    So, when I am not writing on my blog like I should be, it's because I am in manic author mode writing at blistering speed and going nowhere with this new novel but to the Failed Attempts Compost Pile. You'd think with a compost pile as ginormous as the one I've created over decades of writing that it would provide rich, fertile ground for new ideas to spring forth from. Ha!
    "Some days I want to throttle my muse," she muttered darkly, cracking the knuckles of her right hand then reversing her hand position to crack the knuckles of her left hand, her sinister hand. Beware, O Muse! Beware the sinister hand!
     Well, that abut sums up today in a nutshell.

Monday, June 11, 2018


One of those uh-oh moments occurred last night when I was writing along thinking I was writing one novel with a certain plot line and a second, darker plotline reared its terrifying head, catching me by surprise. What if...well, I can't say because I have already been yelled at by Kelly after telling her what this new plot line is..."Well, you just spoiled it for me, Mom! Thanks!" So, who am I suppose to bounce ideas off of? The cats?

I can work with what I've already written, tweaking it here and there, adding sinister elements, red herrings, subtle clues....and then we'll see what we've got and go from there.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

When you Realize Your Daughter Has Grown Up

Kelly has begun the process of buying her own home. She's been house hunting since January 2017. It's been a long tedious process, and also a frustrating one filled with highs and lows. She wanted to find a home in which she could be happy, and have plenty of room for her library and a train room, and with room for all her various collections. The problem has been that the market cannot support the demand. When a nice house she could afford came on the market there were already bids on it before she could even contact her realtor to arrange a showing. Occasionally the buyer removed the house from the market because they couldn't find a house they liked and panicked. Other times people showed up at open houses with their designers and you got a feeling of defeat before you'd even stepped through the door to see the house. You knew it was already contingent. Other houses looked great in photographs posted on MLS but in reality were not so hot. Several houses had mysterious water pooled on the basement floors. We don't like mystery water puddles in basements.

But finally, she found a house she liked, viewed it with her realtor, put in an offer, negotiated, and then when the seller agreed to her offer, arranged for a second showing with her realtor so she could take us to see the house. Now she is jumping through the hoops, signing papers, setting up the house inspection, looking for the bank/lender with the lowest rate, making lists of things to do, fielding phone calls, all the while working her full time job. her father and I have stepped back. She, at not quite 26 years of age, is buying a house, not us. She's an adult now and we are her parental safety net.

I am waxing nostalgic tonight. It wasn't that long ago, when she wasn't even two years old, that I would send her to her room if she needed time out. I soon discovered that she liked time out because that meant she could sit on the floor in front of her bookcase and look through many of her favorite storybooks n her own. I caught her doing this...and it is one of my favorite pictures of her sitting there, surrounded by books, looking at me as I snapped her picture, her finger pointing to a picture in the book because I had interrupted her telling herself the story as she remembered me reading it aloud. she had a huge library for a toddler and it kept growing to over a thousand books through the years. Many series and individual books have found their way to various library book sales and have been passed along via tag sales, but there are a few cartons containing favorite storybooks for her t take to her new home along with her own personal library she's accumulated through the years, including a lot of books on railroads and especially trolleys.

It seems like a long time ago I closed the toy box lid. She had outgrown those toys. Now she juggles, writes, repairs vintage trolley cars, fences, reads a lot still, and has started her own collection of tools she uses to work on the trolleys. She has the big LEGO Collector town series, some of them build but then we ran out of storage room in the cellar so many of them remain to be built. One room n her house will be for these Lego buildings and her collection of LEO trains. She also has a small N-scale railroad table her father built for her, and many cars and engines to display. Her house will be filled with all the things that she is interested in, including antique fire grenades (early fire extinguishers from Victorian times), vintage soda bottles, vintage ink bottles, and some plush animals- a menagerie of souvenirs of a quarter century lifetime, plus two years.

Although it makes me sad and a little anxious to see her on the verge of moving out of the nest, I am looking forward to seeing how she sets up her home, what colors she chooses, what furniture she finds to make it her home. What will her signature stamp on her own home be like? I look forward to going over for visits, maybe sitting at the table in her house and writing like we've done here for years.

I's not easy, as a parent, to accept the fact that one's job of raising one's child is over, and now we are passing into the letting her test her wings at their full extent, catch the wing and soar into her future. I'm proud of her, of who she has grown up to be. I never told her who she was, I let her discover herself through all the things we did while she was growing up. That's how my mother raised my sister, brother and me. She gave  us guidelines and love and let us find who we were ourselves. she never criticized, she never said I told you so, she never said we were wrong, she just asked, what did you learn from this and then she'd give us a hug and we'd be go to go again. We knew she was always there, like Kelly knows that her father and I will always be there...but as a aren't you have to step back and let go and let them live their own life and be happy.

That's really all I wish for her as she takes this big step forward- I wish for her to be happy.

I accept that she has grown up. I can look at her and be proud of her. I can be satisfied with what I did, how I raised her and guided her and gave her room to grow, didn't crowd her and hover over her constantly, didn't do everything for her. She found herself, found her path herself and she is happy.

She just needs to get through this nerve-wracking house buying ritual-the mountain of paperwork and list of things to do...and then the fun part of decorating, buying furniture and moving in will begin!

It struck me tonight- my daughter has grown up and although I am still her mother, the kind of mothering that she needs has changed...and I can accept that.

Maybe I'll go put my feet up and read a book! The raising part is over. The loving and guiding and being there part remains and always will remain. We both can live with that!

Congratulations, Boo!

Monday, June 4, 2018

June 4th and I want to put the heat on

Today I woke up huddled under not one, but two Portuguese flannel (heavy weight) blankets, a cotton blanket, a sheet...and my feet were still cold! Just three days ago it was in the 90's with high humidity and we had the AC going full blast. Today we had torrential cold rain and temps in the 50's. Fickle New England weather is wreaking havoc on my RA (rheumatoid arthritis) this year.

So what's a body to do when the weather is on a rollercoaster pattern, one's daughter is trying to buy her first house at age 26, and one's husband comes across a garter snake in the garage near the windshield washer fluid refill jug (essential for clearing the fuzzy coating of golden-green pollen off the car windshield every morning)...sit down and write. It's a cure for everything that ails you, except writer's block. If you have writer's block the cure is to walk away from the computer and practice deep breathing exercises to try to curtail the waves of anxiety and panic that will crash over you like an exuberant tsunami of self doubt...in the past 9 days I've written 87,093 words. That averages out to about 9,677 words per day. I worked my regular full time job four days of those nine days.

A novel is emerging like a snake from an egg. The head looks benign, but it's the tail that could lash out like a whip and pull the legs out from under the reader. be forewarned.

I received a very nice note in today's mail from the daughter of a woman I met at an author's event for a horror writer that I happened to attend. She and I got to talking in the parking lot after the vent. I gave her a copy of Out. We exchanged phone numbers. We talked a few times, met for coffee and in December she "adopted" me as a daughter, extended family. I visited her home earlier in May and had the grand tour of the antique farmhouse she lives in...which gave me ideas for a future story. She has two wonderful daughters of her own. One of them accompanied her to the house on the Sunday of Memorial Day weekend. They brought coffee and goodies and we sat at my kitchen table where the writing magic has happened for decades, talked about a variety of things, laughed, patted the cats who were curious about company since we hardly ever have anyone over other than immediate family members. "Mom" went home with three short stories to read, and my "sister" went home with two signed books. Everyone who visits gets a book to take home...that's a house rule. I've pasted the note in my scrapbook, one page after the card I received from a previous co-worker whose husband stopped by the office to chat. I sent her two books via her hubby and she was thrilled that I remembered her and had sent her more books to read. It was nice to receive her card in the mail.

Yesterday, a Baltimore Oriole landed in the tall oak tree just off the back deck while we were eating dinner. What a bright, cheerful orange he was! I definitely need to charge my camera battery because it takes too long to find my cellphone, swipe the screen, tap the camera icon, find the image I want on the screen and then tap the shoot the picture button. In nature, birds don't sit still and pose. He hopped up and over through branches before diving into the arbor vitae hedge. Zero pictures obtained.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go pull on my heavier sweater because I am NOT going to put the heat on even though it's 55 degrees outdoors, 67 degrees indoors. It's only seventeen days to summer, after all!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Memorial Day Write-a-Thon

Well, two books have been warring in my head for awhile.

This weekend, Garnet and Quella's story muscled its way past Romney and Ivy's 3rd in series as the to be written novel.

I put down 36,525 words in 70 pages, 8 chapters from Saturday morning to Monday night. Dashed off another thousand words at breakfast this morning before going to work.

The motivating shot in the arm to finally get this novel rolling was the idea to make it darker.

Well, here are two dysfunctional families with toxic members in each, two young people traumatized by their toxic family members struggling to find their path through life, who find one another...and then they discover that their namesakes had a brief, incendiary affair over a hundred and forty years ago, and all three of them died (the two ancestors who are the current characters namesakes plus their love child). Dark enough? Hmm...might need to notch the light down a little lower. Oh, did I mention there're ghosts and hints of reincarnation thrown in the mix?

Definitely dark romance.

Definitely dark.

I may need a miner's lamp to keep writing this one!

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Another Week, Another Blur

It seems like it was just Monday, and now here Monday looms again, a mere three hours away.

Work has been so busy that it makes the days run together like wet watercolors. Monday's purples, bleed into Tuesday's reds, that get watered down into Wednesdays blues, swirl into Thursday's oranges, and run into Friday's yellows. The weekend passes in the blink of an eye.

What have I accomplished? I can't answer that. It feels like nothing. I accomplished breathing. That's it.

My brain tells me I must have done more than that. I look around me and see evidence that baking was done, cleaning was completed, laundry was washed, dried, folded and put away. I work all week, I work at home all weekend. I write.

Aha! I wrote. I finally chose a version of a story- Garnet and Quella's story to be exact, that I felt I could work with without having to restart it a twentieth time. It now stands at 55 pages, 28,201 words. Progress is being made.

I really did accomplish something.

Oh, and Kelly came home from her vacation in New Orleans with lots of stories and more pictures. She had a nice time, but her friend's dog died while they were away, which was sad.

Today, I met an artist friend for coffee and croissants and we had an interesting, thought provoking conversation. An hour and a half flew by, and neither of us had been aware that it had rained while we were enjoying ourselves.

It all seems as if only a day has passed, but here I am, about to start another week...I think I need a vacation. Life should not speed by as if I'm on a runaway train barreling down a steep descending track to the little station called End of the Line. I feel like I'm missing something big...