Saturday, January 1, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

The first day of the new year:  1/1/11.  The palindromists out there must be hugging themselves in glee.

Happy New Year everyone!  May the desires and dreams of the past years come to fruition in 2011.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to everyone and best wishes for a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

And it rained forty days and forty nights. . .

It's not quite a flood of biblical proportions, but it has been pouring for the past four days, which is a big freaking deal for Southern California.  I have to admit that I'm enjoying it; rain is such a novelty here.  And it gives me a chance to actually use an umbrella.  All I need are galoshes and I can go stomping through puddles.

Anyway, I'm doing my best to keep my nose to the grindstone, but so many distractions--the music, the lights, the shinies. . . 

Stay warm, stay dry, stay safe on the roads, and if you have a pair of galoshes, go out and stomp in some puddles.  :)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Who's in Charge?

I don’t know if I’ve written about this before (don't feel like looking back through my blog), but sometimes you have an idea about a particular character, whether they’re good, bad, silly and you start to write them that way only to have them say “uh-uh, that’s not me.” Uusally it’s a villain (or at least someone who’s not working in the hero’s best interest), though occasionally it’s one of the good guys, like Kveta in Shadows Past. I thought of her at first as a senior statesman (wolf?), gray-muzzled, dignified, and with a gentle yet sly sense of humor. But as I got into her character I realized that wasn’t her at all. And I have to admit that I found her “real” persona much more interesting—the dashing captain with a hidden agenda versus the elderly (and rather dull) Ambassador spouting wisdom and bon mots. Give me a good villain (or villainess) anytime over some stuffy goody-two shoes. A good villain will drive the story; a stuffy character will bog it down—or speed it up as readers fast forward through the parts he or she appear.

Anyway, it has happened again, though not as dramatic as Kveta’s role reversal. Someone I thought as bad, but rather silly—and minor in the general scheme of things—has suddenly grown teeth and is occupying a bigger part of the story than I originally planned. On one hand, it’s rather frustrating as it messes with the story arc, but on the other it’s fascinating. The story is changing as characters interact and I’m interested in seeing where it goes with him.

In other news, it’s raining here and will be for the next several days—hey, it’s Southern California; that’s very big news. I’m enjoying the weather—there’s something about cold, rainy weekends where the only place you have to be is at home. Music on the radio, hot pot of tea at my elbow. I’m set.

Oh, by the way, only six shopping days until Christmas. J

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lost Month

November was a singularly unproductive month.

I became sick at the beginning of the month. Really sick. At first I thought I had a cold—it started with the usual suspects: sore throat, runny nose, congestion, etc. I figured, no biggie. It was a hassle, but I should be over it in a few days. But it went on and on, with all the unpleasantness of a body fighting a serious infection (I took so much vitamin C that I was in danger of turning into a orange tree), and I realized that it wasn’t a piddling cold I had caught, but the flu. I had over two weeks of misery and feeling sorry for myself.

Then, just as the last fever chill left, it was time to travel to my stepmom and dad’s place in Texas for Thanksgiving. The house was full of family, which was fun, but it meant that there were plenty of distractions and very little quiet time to spend with Rabbit and the crew.

I wrote about a half chapter for the entire month.

Now, I can and do resent getting sick (and the fact that I don’t bounce back as fast as I used to), but I don’t resent the time spent with family, especially my dad. See, Dad has Alzheimers and while he’s physically doing pretty well for someone in his 80s, mentally he’s sliding away. Sometimes it’s hard to see him so reduced, but my stepmom for one enjoys the quirks and twists that have arisen (or maybe have been set free) in his mind; one morning when they awoke he told her “let’s get married!” (they’ve been married 32 years) and I’ve seen him ambush her with hugs as she’s working in the kitchen (she’s a fabulous, fabulous cook—and yeah, I’ve carried extra poundage back with me from Texas).

Of course, it’s not all sweetness and light. He’s easily confused, has great difficulty separating fact from fantasy, and many of the things he once enjoyed, he no longer does. Can no longer do. I guess I’m grieving the man that my father was, while enjoying who he now is. It’s bittersweet, but he still knows who everyone is, including me, so all in all, it’s good.

In any event, I’m back in California and on track with writing. Not quite up to speed yet, but I’m getting there and I’m hoping that December will be a more productive month than the prior one. It certainly couldn’t be worse. Even with Christmas around the corner. . .

Hmm, well, yeah. Maybe January will be a cranking month.

Anyway, a very belated Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Holidays to everyone. May you all have joy in the season.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Books, Part III

Georgette Heyer is taking a back seat as I've just got C.J. Cherryh's latest in her Foreigner series.

I am happy.

Now not to gobble it up in one gulp.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Books, Part II

I’ve just realized that I haven’t changed the book under “What I’m Reading” for a few weeks. That doesn’t mean that I’m not reading, however. Reading is a constant in my life, something I do when I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night, and if the book’s really good (or a first-time read), at times during the day. As I wrote in a previous blog, I love books and I love reading them.

So what I have I been reading the past few weeks? Well, uhm. . . romance books. Yeah, I know. I can’t even claim that I’m reading the queen of Regency romance, Georgette Heyer—though she’s next on the list. I’ve been delving into my stock of Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb and some late Jayne Ann Krentz. I also have Diana Gabaldon’s latest Outlander book, but I have to take a running leap to read her work because it’s so involving and I don’t have the mental energy for it at the present.

Which is why I’m reading romance.

I discovered romance in high school—yes, my first serious boyfriend (we dated two years), but also Barbara Cartland Regencies and Harlequin. All of them cotton candy bits of fluff that never saw any sort of character or plot development. They usually ran about 150 pages and had the same story line: beautiful damsel in some sort of distress, handsome hero representing salvation from the mess that others or circumstances have made of her life, some emotional conflict either in the form of misunderstandings or femme fatale rival (or both), and then resolution and happy ever after. Not exactly deathless prose. And they were produced so fast (Barbara Cartland would publish two a month) that proofing was almost nonexistent. I remember reading one of Ms. Cartland’s books where the rival for the hero’s affection (or at least his title and fortune) went from being a scheming brunette with brown eyes to red-haired, green eyed hussy in the middle of the book. But despite their limitations and shortcomings, they were fun reads. And I especially liked the cover art. (Fabio!)

Which is what they are today—fun reads. Now that doesn’t mean that they’re near as shallow as they used to be. Some of the best character development I’ve seen has been in romances, and the plots have certainly grown from alpha-males rescuing hapless (and sometimes terminally stupid-acting) females. But they don’t make any mental or emotional demands. Even with first-reads, I know what’s going to happen at the end. The only question is how the protagonists are going to get there and their character growth along the way, which makes them perfect bedtime reading when I’m pushing to finish The Reckoning Flames.

I don’t read Harlequins (or any of the other romance series) anymore and I don’t know if Ms. Cartland’s work is even obtainable, but I continue to enjoy the work of Ms. Roberts and her cohorts. (If I sound a little defensive about it, it’s because I was teased when I was younger for reading them. A lot.) And when I retire for the night, I plan on opening up Ms. Heyer’s Frederica.

And give serious consideration to giving Rabbit a coming out ball sometime down the road.

Hmm. . .