Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Assorted Updates

Hah, I almost forgot to post today! It's been a crazy few days -- Hurricane Irene dragged her skirts right over my house. It didn't do any significant damage to my property, thank goodness, but we've been without power since Saturday afternoon. Which really puts a crimp in my ability to write, especially since I was hoarding battery power on my phone and iPad until my office got power back Monday afternoon.

I have some vague hope that we'll see power back today -- the power company's daily list of work sites includes at least four locations near my neighborhood -- so I'm trying to get things back to normal, more or less.

I found myself really itching to write yesterday, in fact, so after everyone was in bed last night, I sat in the dark with my iPad and my flickering candles and did some work on the current WIP. Nothing major -- I was attempting a simple read-through and wound up pausing to fix a few mistakes I'd made and straighten up some awkward spots.

Then I took a break to check my email and discovered an invitation from Torquere to join their editing team (as opposed to simply proofing, which I've been doing for... about a year, now? Ish?). I'm enough of a word-nerd that the offer made me squee with excitement. Editing is a tougher job than merely proofing, with more responsibility and cat-author-herding, but it's something I'd love to do, so of course I said yes. I'm really looking forward to it!

Yes, I may well be slightly insane.

Despite dipping my toes into the WIP last night, I'm still not sure I like it. I can't tell if it's too dry, if I'm telling instead of showing too much, if the characters' emotions are even remotely accessible...

I might need to shelve it (yet again -- this is the third or fourth attempt for this story) and pick up another project. I wonder if I could get one of my old prompt stories to grow legs and stretch to a decent short-story length. Or I could work on any one of a dozen ideas I've jotted down... I just need to pick one.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Flash Fic Challenge

What, only one taker? But it was J.M. Cartwright, who delights in trying to stump me. J.M. gave me these prompt words:

Pitbull (the rapper!)

Ross knocked, and heard Jesse yell, "It's open!"

Ross opened the door into the apartment's living room and found Jesse watching TV, sitting in the middle of the couch with his arms stretched over the back, a longneck dangling from his fingers. One bare foot was propped up on the coffee table. Jesse was wearing those skin-tight, spattered painting jeans that Ross loved so much, and better still, no shirt. Acting casual was so hard that Ross' face actually hurt from the effort. "Hey," he said. "I brought beer. What you watching?"

Jesse looked up at him with those amazing eyes, black and sparkling like a midnight sky, and then looked back at the TV. "Some music thing." He moved one arm so Ross could sit beside him on the couch. Ross would just as soon Jesse's arm had stayed there so he could pretend it was actually around him, but he just set the six-pack on the table and took the offered seat.

Jesse finished the last swallow from the beer he was holding and leaned forward to snag a new bottle from Ross' offering. He glanced at it, blinked in surprise at the artisan label, and looked more closely, reading its description. Ross was beginning to feel hopeful when Jesse started to laugh. "What the fuck kind of frou-frou beer is this, man? 'Accents of caramel?' Damn, could you possibly be any more gay?"

Ross felt his face flame. "Shut up," he said. "We can't all be cowboys, riding a Mustang into the sunset or whatever. It's good beer." He knew shouldn't get so defensive -- Jesse was every bit as gay as Ross, and they both knew it -- but somehow he couldn't help it. He stared at the TV, painfully aware of Jesse's laughing eyes on him, but on the screen Pitbull was chanting, "I know you want me, want me," and that was almost worse. "Drink it or not, whatever."

"Hey, lighten up," Jesse said. "I'm just fucking around. See? I'll drink your frou-frou gay beer." He twisted the cap off the bottle and took a pull. "...Damn. That's not bad."

The tightness in Ross' throat started to ease. "Told ya." He grabbed a beer of his own, and they both stared at the TV in apparently companionable silence. Every time Jesse lifted the bottle to his lips, though, Ross watched from the corner of his eye, enchanted by the way Jesse's throat rippled with each swallow. "What are we doing tonight?" he asked finally, just to give himself an excuse to look at Jesse. "Shooting pool?"

"We could do that," Jesse said. He set the half-finished beer on the table and turned those eyes on Ross, dark and direct and as hot as the sun. "Or we could just stop dancing around it and go to bed."

There you go, J.M.! One of these days, it'll be my turn...

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


I have to admit, I haven't done much writing in the last week. My brain has been completely filled up with other things: my daughter's upcoming birthday, my son's stomach virus (thankfully brief), my upcoming vacation, assorted paperwork shuffles at the Day Job, proofing a novel for TQ...

Also, I've been re-reading the first four books of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series so I can dive into the newly-released fifth (I just finished book 2), hanging out with friends, getting pedicures, and acquiring all the alternate blades and backdrops on Fruit Ninja.

I did sit down and try to write a couple of times, but it just wasn't coming out. Aside from all the distraction, I'm also in a state of loathing for the current project, so I either need to pick out a second project to work on while I wait it out, or bull through and finish the damn thing even if I hate it, just so I can give it to my beta reader and let her tell me what the hell is wrong with it, because I'm damned if I can figure it out.

As mentioned -- vacation next week, so unless the exotic locale opens up my brain in new and exciting ways and I end up staying up past midnight every night feverishly writing (o gods please), there probably won't be a post next week. But to make it up to you -- if you leave me some prompt cues in the comments, I'll write some flash fiction when I get back!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Bohemian Life

I think we all know that I'm not a full-time writer. I'd like to be, someday, but I expect that will be in another twenty-five years, when the kids are grown and on their own and the house is paid for and, most tellingly, I'm old enough to retire from the Day Job. Then, I'll convert one of the kids' old bedrooms into an office for myself and write every day.

That's the dream, anyway. But thanks to a convergence of factors, it does look like I'm going to be able to have a taste of the writing life soon. I've set the wheels in motion and am just waiting on the bureaucracy to catch up, but when it does, I'll be working only part time at the Day Job.

It's not a drastic rearrangement, by any stretch -- I'll essentially be taking one day off every two weeks. But the plan is to ensure that at least half of that day will be devoted to writing. I did this just a couple of weeks ago -- dropped the kids off at daycare and summer camp, and then I went to our local Panera and bought a bottomless cup of coffee and a scone (I love me some strawberry scones) and I staked out one of the comfy chairs, propped the iPad on my lap, and wrote for three and a half hours. I paused to refill my coffee and have a wonderful conversation with a nearby woman who had a book I was familiar with, but mostly... I wrote.

It sounds like a cliche, I know. The bohemian lifestyle. And it kind of was, but also? It was a slice of heaven. A perfect day all the way around, really, because after I wrote, I met the Hubs for lunch and then we went to see a movie together. But honestly, spending my morning tapping out a few scenes for a current WIP was quite probably the highlight of the day. And I wanted more. I wanted to do it again.

And I will. Those days off, the mornings will be for writing. I may meet the Hubs or friends for lunch, and I may choose to go back to writing afterward or I may go to the movies or run errands or go to the gym or go home and try to make a dent in the mess or actually cook dinners that take more than twenty minutes to assemble... The real world will probably intrude on those afternoons, is what I'm saying. And that's fine, because I do tend to get burned out and need a mental recharge after three or four hours of writing.

It doesn't sound like very much, I know. Only two days a month. Not even full days -- just half-days, really, most of the time. But it's two days a month more than I have now. It's two days, bought and paid for, that I don't have to feel guilty for taking.

And those two days, they'll belong to me and my iPad and a bottomless cup of coffee... and the words.