Uh Oh.

You KNOW it’s going to be a confusing writing day when, upon reviewing an outline, you cannot remember WHAT, precisely, you “meant by that.”

I have a novella mapped out. It involves some psychological terminology – which I could totally look up if that was the problem. It’s not. The problem is I don’t know WHY I used those terms. Upon review of what I remembered of this story, the terms are, to me, bringing up empty, blank rooms in my imagination.

This does not bode well.

Do I investigate these rooms or set it aside for perusal after I finish another project…?

Decisions, decisions…

I Am a Serial Novelist

I am preparing a new monthly column and reflecting upon my work habits.  I have a title for what I do.

I am a serial novelist.

This is, sometimes, a lot like being a serial killer but without the need to bury bodies.

I don’t write a book, take a month to regroup, then start plotting and designing a new story concept.  Granted, much of what I eventually write hasn’t been published, but I assure you I write almost every single day.  Rather, while I am writing one novel, I have notes for two to four others being made on my desktop.  I am writing, perhaps, about Rhiannon and Preston (from Making a Diamond) but on another document I am jotting down notes for She Was Riveting, a story I’ve got going taking place during World War II, and I’ve got my mental conversations happening concerning Robert and Georgiana in In the Name of Duty, an historical romance that’s still a work in progress. Alas.

So now that Making a Diamond is published and up for sale (with a Kindle edition — my first and I am SO excited!) I am now working on She Was Riveting and In the Name of Duty.  Whichever one grabs most of my brain next will be the one I tend to focus on for the next few months, until it is ready to go to my beta-readers.

Over the course of my writing career (such as it is) I have written more than twenty-five novels.  For a total of three years, I didn’t write any.  (Homeschooling sapped my brain!) But on the whole, I continue to be a serial novelist.  I am hidden in my neighborhood – no one expects my predilection.  I plot responses and presentations, like any good serial-anything.  And like a serial killer, perhaps, I make sure I have something to do if “this one goes badly.”

Am I macabre? Almost certainly.  Do I leave a trail of dead bodies behind me?  Dead characters could rise from their collective graves and hunt me down…if they were real.

But I also hope that, in my serial novelist career, I bring good stories of people who fall in love under the strangest of circumstances.  Stories of hope, with deep feelings and/or laughter. Stories of faith.  Stories of trust.

I am a serial novelist.  I am always working on something.  Be afraid. 😉

Sherlock Holmes is My Hero

I am an author.  In my skewed semantical universe, this means someone has thought highly enough of my words to pay for them and/or to request me to write for them. I differentiate myself from a writer in that I am held accountable for what I do.  This is not just a hobby for me; it’s a means of income.

Am I stuck on myself? Oh, probably. A certain amount of imperishable ego goes along with being a novelist, in my experience.

There is a considerable quantity of invisible baggage that trails a novelist.  First, there is a mystique that I confess I don’t entirely understand.  Maybe it is because when a novelist writes, their words go before perfect strangers to be analyzed and dissected and that takes a certain kind of bravery.  (I am not lauding myself, honest. This is just a characteristic that I believe is shared by writers.)  Perhaps it is the idea that we create realities alternate to our own that folks find fascinating.  Or maybe that our minds are almost always at least partly somewhere else, if this is what we do with our lives.

Now, my friends and family know that I am always observing.  For me, this is something I do consciously and purposefully, in full view of others.  At a recent wedding, I went around writing hysterical quotes I heard around me.  I am sure my friends got a little irritated/weirded out/confused as I slid my pen once again out of my purse and jotted (in execrable script) something I just heard, or sketched out an arrangement of a room to jog my memory.  I try always to carry a journal with me, but I hadn’t had one on me at this wedding, so I was using a scratch pad to do all this.  I was amused.

And I still have the notes.

But back to my tendency to consciously observe… May I confess to you that Sherlock Holmes is a hero of mine?  His fictional mind is legendary – as is his detecting acumen – but he maintains to his closest friend Watson that really, what he (Holmes) does is observe.  He sees and evaluates everything before making any conclusions.  Minutiae are his friend.

When writing fiction, minutiae are also the writer’s friend.  Tiny bits of realism that reach out from the page and catch the senses of a reader are highly valuable.  Holmes is my example in this regard. He studies things with a steady, knowledgeable gaze.  Going in pursuit of a fact or circumstance is commonplace for him – and this taking place in an age where the “going” had to be done with one’s own personal body, often on foot!

I study things. I take notes with a paper and pen. I have a huge collection of journals filled with observations as well as possible story ideas.  Processing things through writing them is a highly recommended memory tool.  (You didn’t think your teachers had you make notecards for their benefit, did you?)  Sometimes, when I am feeling as if I am stuck in a chapter, I take time to go consciously observe, free from other obligations.  Walking down the street, cataloguing details.  Making wonton soup from scratch.  Kneading bread.  People watching in a store.

And copying down really good one-liners on twitter. Seriously. I just did that while writing this article.

Because, see, I write all the time.  This is my life.  When I hear something, see something, smell something, touch something unique and distinctive… I take note.  With my own personal body, like Holmes did.  I take what I experience, what I feel, and process it through my mind and put it into words.

That is what it’s all about. That is, I believe, the real mystique surrounding a novelist.  We take the intangibles and put them into words.  And that is a magic all its own.

Originally posted here, in December, 2010.

KINDLEd!

YES! I am excited.  I bought a copy of my own book on Kindle.  Yes, perhaps I’m silly, but there you go.

It’s my first official Kindle title, and if all goes well, I hope to get my other novels formatted and ready to sell at Amazon’s eBook store.

If you’ve been waiting for the Kindle Edition, it’s now a go!

Just click here!

Riding the Rollercoaster

I like rollercoasters.

This is fortunate, because I am currently living on one. Not literally (imagine partaking of coffee on a loop …!) but figuratively.  Spousal Unit was laid off due to a company sell-out/off/bankruptcy and now he is having to find a job.  But in this area, there is a dearth of jobs in his field.  He has perforce needed to apply…elsewhere.

Out of state.

This is rather exciting, I think. I believe wholeheartedly that nothing is a surprise to God. No, he doesn’t move the world for my benefit, but I know he loves me and I know he’s not out to ruin the life of my family. He just keeps it…interesting. Like riding a rollercoaster.

Right now, we’re on that uphill climb.  Buckled in. Prepared.  The offspring units are hanging on to the sides or the handlebars and watching with some trepidation as we climb, but no one’s freaking out.  With each interview Spousal Unit goes to, I feel like we’re getting closer to the peak of the ride. That moment of anticipation before the screaming, laughing, exhilarating plunge.

I’m not afraid of plunging.  🙂  I know I’m safe and secure and prepared for the ride.  We’ve done all we can to make this as smooth and safe a ride as possible.  I trust the One who has his hand on the controls.

I love riding the rollercoaster. 🙂

Starting Over

Hi.

I don’t know if anyone is still out there, but I thought I’d clear this blog out and start over, as the whim takes me or the spirit moves.

Condensed Life Update:

Spousal Unit’s company (that he worked for, not that he owned) filed bankruptcy and he was laid off. He is now interviewing for a new job. I have utter faith that everything will be as God wills it, and am thankful we were prepared for adverse circumstances.

Cyclone (aka Big Guy or BG) is finishing his Junior Year in high school. He’s an honor student, studying web design and TV production as well as advanced anatomy and honors history.

Builder (aka Little Guy or LG) is going to be taking the FCATs starting next week. The meds are working well (thankfully!) and he’s gradually emerging from the hospital homebound education to a regular school day.

Me? I’ve recently put out a new book. (Check for My Site on the sidebar for a link.) I’m reissuing Captive Irish Moon with an improved glossary and larger type. I’m doing more freelancing, too, as well as playing MomTaxi and writing for various entertainment formats. 🙂

More later. It’s been a while since I’ve blogged and I’ll have to re-learn habits. 😉