Sore throats and fevers

So the last two days I haven’t been getting to my minimum goal. I think after this post I may be able to crank out another five hundred words. I’m not sure how I picked up this cold. I wasn’t around any sick people. I did have to shop for dog food, so I may have passed near someone that was germy. I have been known to get sick from people just by being in the same air space.

Since the dog had pancreatitis last year, I have to be careful about what I feed her now. I go to PetSmart for specialty food. I used to feed her Royal Canine, but it has too much fat content for her stomach and liver. I am trying out a new brand and we’ll see how she does on it.

Yesterday I was able to pull out five hundred words and then I slept the rest of the day. When I have a fever, all of my muscles and joints hurt like hell. It’s one of the only things that make me stop and rest. Oh yes, and fatigue. I do get that after I push too hard and too long. As I get older, it is harder to refill my energy. I have to pick– if I wash clothes today, will I have enough energy to write?

Anyway, enough of my little problems. I am alive, I am writing, and I have a companion.

Since you miscreants have finished reading this post, this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Living in the Desert, a collection of short stories is free.

Living in the desert collection ebook coverThis is a collection of short stories about living in the high-deserts of California, Utah, and Nevada. Stories include wildland fires, desert rescues, and a cougar attack.

Plus there is at least one alien encounter.



Steady as She Goes

If you have been watching my word meter, I am now about 84 percent through 50,000 words on my current WIP, Dragon Boy. As I was writing yesterday, I realized that I am in the discovery phase of the writing. Once I have finished the first draft, then I will check to make sure that the names are right (I changed Elita to Evita plus I gave the healer and the dragon the same name– one of the dangers of being a panster).

The second draft is basically is a revision (not a rewrite or edit). The first draft I wrote the structure of the story. In the second draft I work with the characters, put in the five senses, check my descriptions, and plug holes.  It’s where the story comes alive.

When I first started writing, I had this weird idea that I could stop at the first draft. Even when I write short stories, (Yes, I have written quite a few), I look them over a couple of times before publishing. So that I had the idea that a novel could be put out with only a cursory edit after the first draft– shows my naivete.

I can laugh at myself. What helped me to see things slightly differently was when I did some writing classes with Dean W. Smith. You can find him online. He has written several of the Star Wars franchise books and a lot of other sci-fi and fantasy. He and his wife Kristine Katherine Rusch are premier writers.

I learned some basic things from him that have made my writings more interesting.

  • Write in scenes– One of my problems was I was trying to remember the entire novel in my head as I wrote. You can’t do it. The brain can’t contain it all. I have a great memory even after being on low dosages of chemo since 2003. So break up the story in scenes.
  • Use five senses– It is when we ground the reader into the world that they become engrossed in our characters.
  • Everything is seen through the eyes of the character– once again when you describe a town, street, home or room you are seeing it through the eyes of one person. He will see different aspects of the room than say,– his friend.
  • Don’t be ambiguous– I really like to use pronouns… but sometimes a reader can get lost in the hes and shes. Sometimes it is better to say the character’s name than to use a pronoun.
  • Put in Twists– It is the downs as well as the ups that makes a story interesting. 3-5 twists per short story and for novels, when your character is standing around and saying “so what do we do next?” then you are long overdue for a twist.

So editing is for finding these problems and solving them before a reader reads. There is a lot to writing that if I had a clue, I might have found another avocation. However, I am now caught in its web. Plus I am as curious as the next reader about what happens to Hilda, Davi, and Michael.

Dandelion tea, cold Northern winds, and bright sun

Northern NV 2013

Northern NV 2013

We’ve had a Northern wind blowing through Boulder City, NV the last two days. This morning I was shivering enough that staying cuddled with Foxy sounded like a good idea.

But I need to get back to my goals for the coming new year – 2016, mainly writing. I know that I can write 500-1000 words a day without stretching or hurting my brain. So if I make a goal of 1000 words a day times 366 days for 2016 (yes, this coming year is leaping), I should be able to write 366,000 words this year. So if I keep to this schedule, I should be able to have four books in first draft by the end of the year. Unlike the last two years, I hope that I won’t be facing other catastrophic circumstances. My logical brain is telling me that I am probably not due for more of this pain for another five years. I am not sure that I can trust that brain of mine.

Of course this doesn’t include making covers, writing blurbs, doing my minimal advertising, and especially editing– But this is a good goal. I am looking at 7,000 fresh words written weekly.

During my sick time, I was watching David Amen’s program on the brain. Yes, it was on public television. He likes to do SPECT imaging of the brain to see if the brain is working properly. Many times the personality problems we see in people (high anxiety, depression, and even some mental disorders) are found by just looking at image of the brain. I’m not into having my brain scanned unless I really have a serious problem. However, I saw that he used the same system that I have used for years to accomplish my goals. There are four areas he suggests that we need to develop to keep our brains healthy.

The areas are Biological, Psychology, Social, and Spiritual. I know my weaknesses. I do have a chronic illness, which makes biology a weak point. However, I keep that under control using food, supplements, and doctors. It did surprise me that a test would show that I have anxiety. I am really good at hiding it– but there is anxiety underlying many of my actions. Meditation and quiet time really helps me to calm the anxiety. But I am stable in most of these areas except social.

Yes, I am an introvert. You know that loner that likes to watch people, but is very nervous when you invite her to join your group. That’s me. Introversion has a bad name in our society. We think because of Columbine and other tragedies that introverts are on a short fuse.

That myth is so far from the truth. Introverts have incredible imaginations. They are in all fields of the creative arts, science, and business. Not all of them are shy. It just means that they need to spend more time with their thoughts so that they can recharge.

Introverts can be socialized as long as you let them have down time. They are just fine and are contributing members of society. In my case, I know I have a weakness in the social area. I lost my entire social connection at the loss of my late-hubby. I really have a hard time building new connections and stable structures that involve other people.

It does help that I write. I can build people, worlds, and connections in my mind and through my fingers onto the blank screen. The emotional and psychological part of me find it satisfying when I finish a story. There are times when I am in the middle of it that I think “holy shit” this is not going the way it should.

So my two goals, write every day and build a social network. I think  this is going to be a full year.

Batteries have been low for awhile

One of the problems I deal with daily is fatigue. Sometimes it is that tiredness I feel just after Foxy, my chihuahua/terrier mix, takes me for a brisk walk in the mornings. We do it for her bathroom breaks, but who am I kidding– if I don’t do that brisk walk in the morning, then I am stiff in every muscle and joint until it the air warms.

I’m also tired from eating and sometimes from just breathing. I have learned through trial and error, how long I can push myself before I have to actually sit down and vegetate. Sometimes it can be a couple of hours and other times I do something and have to sit down and stare blankly at the white walls.

So I thought that I could rush the writing on my next book. I have been finding that when I have appointment days, which means 30-45 minutes driving to and from the appointment, that I am so tired, I either nap or just stare at the TV. The dog knows when I get to that point because she cuddles up against me and her body warmth comforts me.

For some reason my appointments stack up in one week as well. Yesterday I was exhausted. I didn’t have the energy to talk much on Facebook. When that happens, you know I am NOT feeling well. Facebook is my greatest time waster.

I’ve told a few folks that I want to have “Dragon Boy” done (edited, published with a paperback book) by 2016. I will do my best. As for the rest, well I do have six other novels out (not in the same league as Hilda’s Inn– I was told from a reliable source, but are still good). Also some short stories and short story collections. And if you are really desperate, (insert smile here), I was a poet before I started writing short stories. So there are three collections of poetry online under my name.

As for me, I am in my back bedroom, tickling the keyboard, and hoping that my next story will sing, like my last one.

For more of my books, look here.

My most recent release is Hilda’s Inn. Hildaebookcover2015finished

Sword and Sorcery

Hilda isn’t prepared for the damage and chaos caused by a dragon, black mage, and elementals. And a very angry Lord Barton.

Percy DoyleA sci-fi short story collection for Pre-order:

Percy Doyle’s Space Market

Percy is a trader, a rescuer, a time traveler who works under the radar of the authorities. His backer is a so-called criminal organization called the family.

Percy may be a swashbuckler, but he doesn’t want Grandma, the matriarchal head, mad at him.

Inspiration and Hard Work

IMG_0115My dad used to say that art was 5 percent inspiration and 95 percent hard work. Since I have  a few talents that have helped me on my way, I disregarded him.

He wasn’t right that often, but even a stopped clock is right twice a day. And in this he is right. It is easy to come up with ideas. Give me a silent room, a piece of paper, and I can come up with a number of them. The hard work is turning these ideas into poems, stories, or other art.

The discipline to sit down in front of the computer, ignore the seductive call of social media sites, and write on a blank screen takes discipline. In my case, I need to do it on a regular basis. Spurts of inspiration are nice actually. When I have a whole poem in my head, like Athena complete out of her father’s head, I am grateful for those moments. But, to do that, I have spent hours, days, and even years writing and juxtaposing ideas. Some of them creative and some of them from the mundane world.

If you think science is not creative, then you haven’t met the scientists that I know. When the creative brain is molded and structured, then chaos is ordered and art is formed. The creative brain is complete chaos. Chaos and order dance together to form a product. When either one of these forces are overbalanced than creativity is squashed. Can I tell you a secret? We are all creative. It shows from the moment we walk and talk. But we are not all creative in the same fields. Some art is in the writing and not the painting. Some art is in Science and not in formal Arts.

I fail spectacularly often.

I fail publicly.

Even though these little things I create are of my heart, I learned that they are imperfect, like me. Some of them can be improved. Some of them do not need to see the light of day. Most of them although deformed have some value.

So in this one thing, my dad was right. Hard work is the main component to my writing. Inspiration sits on my shoulder when I take the time to write.