Friday, October 28, 2016

In Memoriam: Pets

We call them 'pets', and we pamper them and fuss over them and sometimes think that they are in some way a status symbol. 


They love us unconditionally (though perhaps even more deeply when food is involved) and ask in return only that we be their Alpha dogs or -cats and provide them comfort, protection and affection.


In almost all cases, we are the gainers.


The worst thing about them is that they have such heartbreakingly short lives, and the puppy or kitten that rolled across the floor and hurried clumsily to you is suddenly the white-muzzled dog who lifts cloudy eyes to you and thumps his tail on the floor.


Dogs or cats?  I have both.  They both give love.


And they both die too soon.


Last night I bade farewell to a boy I have owned and loved and laughed at for nine years.  It was hard, but he was surrounded by those who loved him as he slipped away.



You never get used to it, but truly, it is a small return for the unquestioning, generous love they give us.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

IWSG October 5, 2016: Getting started

Today is IWSG day. Come join Alex J. Cavanaugh and all the other writers who support each other, make us all smile and think in this monthly hop. No one is mocked or sneered at. All are welcome. We have all been there.

Please be sure to visit our host Alex J Cavanaugh, and this month's co-hosts: Beverly Stowe, Megan MorganViola Fury, Madeline Mora, Angela Wooledridge, and Susan Gourley.

The twitter hashtag is #IWSG

Visit the website and look around: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

This month's question is:  

When do you know your story is ready?

My answer is that it is never ready.  Or, at least I *think* it is never ready.  I was just reading one of my published books, one that I am really happy with, that expressed what I wanted to express and told, I thought, a good story.  The fact that it features two of my absolute favorite characters is an added treat.

I opened the paperback copy I had printed for myself, read a section and thought, "You know, it would work better if I expanded the various contractions and changed a couple words."

I had to put on the brakes, hard, and admit that the story is set.  Too much fiddling makes the story stale.  (This does not mean that I won't fix the odd mistake that I find).  

And now, I am going to reveal what insecurity has me by the throat at the moment:

It has been too long since I published.

...or, come to that, since I wrote anything really new.

The Memphis Cycle

I have a series of books set in New Kingdom Egypt (think Ramesses the Great) with a great many stories that can come off that.  I have my notes: the stories just need to be written.  








The Crocodile Fable


I have a short piece, a fable about a crocodile, that is nearly finished.  I just have to finish it:





The Orphan's Tale #1
The Orphan's Tale #2






I have a series set in 1830's Paris with one completed, another nearly completed and the final one well underway.
I have other stories in varying stages of being outlined...


But I have published nothing in over three years.
Why?  Well, my father died in 2012.  That was a terrible blow. My delightful mother's health took a downward spiral.  She had been caring for my father and now she was dealing with her own issues.  She needed surgery, she needed to be moved to a better place.  And she was far away from her family.

Work issues, travel issues (my mother lives 250 miles away) money issues.  I was, and am, very tired.   But I can feel things moving, stirring.  I have ideas.

...and I received some notes from readers:

I really enjoy your Memphis Cycle stories.  I have all of them in paperback.  I know you have one in the works: is it coming out soon?
I replied, and they replied enthusiastically. It made me smile.  And it started me thinking. 

It could be done.  The fable is about 40,000 words, the cover is finished.  I have some 'shorts' on the Egyptian stories that could be put together.  Something to please those kind people who wrote me and follow me.

I have some vignettes from the Paris story that I could put out.  Something to read.

Ramesses the Great never looked better...
And, things having eased up a little, I can set the Paris story aside for a bit to let the edits sink in.  I could take up some kind friends on their beta-read offers and put the manuscript out for review.

...and I could get to work on the full length novel that fits after the second book of The Memphis cycle.  Heck, I have a cover:

...errrrr....  Maybe I need to work on that...

(You aren't down for the count if you can find something to laugh about, you know...)


Check out the posts on this hop.  Read, comment, enjoy.  I'll be doing the same this evening.