Laying in the lines

Spent much of the day cutting-moving-and-pasting blocks of text, writing some new scenes, chopping up other scenes, switching out chapters.  In essence, this requires holding the Entire Book As It Exists in your head at once, along with the Entire Book As It Should Be — and rectifying them.


Is nerve-wracking.  I just hope to ghod I’m not busting the furniture.

For what it’s worth — which at this stage, isn’t much — the word count on Ghost Ship stands right now at 86,485 for a net gain of 933 words.

I’ll start up again tomorrow, after I rest my brain.

In which Yr Hmbl Narrator goes to the craft store

I’m putting together an author press kit for the Carousel Tides book launch — have I mentioned that here?

Anyhow, yesterday I went to Staples in pursuit of Pretty Ivory Paper and presentation folders.  The PIP was easy to find; the presentation folders remarkably difficult, mostly because the whole store was full of “school supplies” including report covers, which are almost, but not quite, what I wanted.

The thing with a presentation folder is that you want it to be Dignified but Personable, a little quirky, maybe.  It should, above all, not be boring.

For one halcyon moment, I thought I’d found the perfect cover — white coated stock with a single black tree along the right edge.  (It’s OK; trees figure fairly prominently in Carousel Tides, along with, oh, carousels, selkies, Abenaki legend, Subarus. . .it’s a strange book; you’re gonna love it.)

Except — when I yanked this wonderful folder out from its place among its fellows, it was found to also have all kinds of words on it — Think Green!  Go Eco!


I finally brought home a pack of Actual business presentation covers, in plain dark blue, but I did not Love them.

Last night, I put together my first kit, which was mailed this morning and will (that is an order) arrive in Saco in time for a Tuesday evening meeting.  It went in the plain blue folder and it was Dignified, I guess, but it was also boring.

Today, I motored out early to post said package, pick up the new eyeglasses and stop at Joanne’s Fabric to get a fabric pen.

I don’t get out much.  I mean, really, I don’t get out much.  I spent more than an hour in Joanne’s, and in the end, I scored a little over two yards of gorgeous sheer swirly green fabric with glitter bits woven through so that the whole thing looks like stars reflected in dark moving water.  A table cover for the launch.  I also got two spools of ribbon, one dark green and one black, for another, related, project, not one but two, fabric pens, and — my piece de resistence — a silver glitter stamp pad and a flourished fall tree stamp.

Came home and stamped me some blue folders.  *happy sigh*  Now, that’s not only Dignified and Personable; it’s Classy.

And now?  To work.

One of those days

Before I forget — Mouse and Dragon debuts at Number 10 on Locus Magazine’s Bestsellers for July, appearing in the September issue.

And there was much rejoicing!

* * *

It was still hot in the day-job’s attic office today.  I don’t mean to complain, but 89F/32C and not a breath of air, despite the best efforts of the poor little desk fan?  Is too hot to work.  I did try to stay all day, but — no go.  At least the work’s all caught up.

On the way home from the day-job, I stopped at the ticketing office of the Waterville Opera House, which is bewilderingly not in the Opera House at all, but ‘way, ‘way up in the eaves of the Sterns Center, to pick up our tickets for Great Big Sea on September 14.  Now that I have them safely in hand, I feel a good deal better, and really looking forward to the show.

That mission accomplished, I motored out to the eyeglass place to pick up my eyeglasses — which still weren’t in.  The first time they came in, they failed the quality check, but they were Absolutely due in today.  Argh*.

On my way home, the sign at the CVS caught my eye:  FLU SHOTS NOW!  I figured I could get that out of the way, at least, and pulled in.  Inside, there are signs all over the place telling me that there are FLU SHOTS NOW, but nothing telling me which department to go to.

Assuming the pharmacy was my destination, I arrived to find even more signs declaring FLU SHOTS NOW, but no sign that said, oh, Register Here.  So I went to the cashier, who looked at me crankily and said that I had to register at the drop-off window.  Fair enough.  I took myself over to the drop-off window and when my turn came said to the young woman behind the counter that they needed a sign, so people would know where to register.  She smiled, like one smiles at dotty old ladies, and pulled up her computer.

“Now!” she said brightly, “When would you like to schedule your appointment?”

“I’m a walk-in.”  I point to the paper taped to her counter, promising that I could either make an appointment or walk-in.  “I’d like my shot now.”

“Today isn’t a walk-in day,” she told me.

I took a deep breath.  “I have,” I said, “a besetting sin.  I read signs. Worse, I believe them.  And so, when I saw the sign out in front of your store that said FLU SHOTS NOW, I somehow assumed that meant that there were flu shots available in this store NOW.”

“No, you have to make an appointment.  Or, if you prefer to walk-in,” she said helpfully, “I can look up the next walk-in date for you.”

“Or,” I said, finding yet another sign, this one half hidden behind a display of traveling pill bottles, “I see here that I can schedule myself online.  Which, now that I know about it, I’m perfectly happy to do.”

Whereupon, I turned around and left.

I fear that I am becoming a termagant.


*And!  They did arrive today, did the eyeglasses — at 5:30.  A trip into town is on tomorrow’s schedule.

Happy Birthday, Scrabble!

Today is the day that we celebrate Scrabble’s birthday.  She left home at a very young age, enduring Adventures Untold, the most harrowing having to do with lawn care equipment, before she was picked up and conveyed to the Waterville Humane Society.  There, her common sense and organizational  skills gained her a place in the Community Outreach Program.  She was placed as an apprentice store cat at The Animal House in Fairfield, where she bloomed under the tutelage of Kit Kat, Artie, and Sue.

It was there that Steve met her, immediately understood how valuable an addition her skills and her person would be to the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory, and offered her contract.

Which she accepted.

She’s been running the joint since Thanksgiving 2003, and I don’t know what we’d do without her.

Scrabble on her Eighth Birthday

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The author declares a draft

It’s short, full of holes, and messy.  It also needs at least two sub-lines lain in before I can properly finish the Thrilling Conclusion.  Therefore!

Ladies and gentlefriends, we have a draft!

Ghost Ship, First Draft

85,285 words/100,000

What happens next is that I compile the chapters, print out and read the whole thing, inasmuch as there is a “whole thing,” note the places where those lines need to be lain, do that, then print out the new “whole thing” and do a rolling edit.

What happens before any of that, though, is that I fall on my nose.


The Writing Life: Income, Revisited

For those following the on-going discussion of Nurture vs. Nature Hobby vs. Honest Labor (also here), I report that the last of the outstanding checks arrived yesterday, my half of which was enough to flip the score from Honest Labor by a modest lead to Hobby by a slightly-more-modest lead.  The check that just arrived would itself  have covered six weeks of the day-job’s summer take-home.

This will flip again — the day-job has four months of full-time pay to deliver (assuming inertia and the continuing failure of a reputable  film company to offer an option).  The Hobby, on the other hand, has another royalty payment period fast approaching, and, assuming we get Ghost Ship delivered anytime this millenium, there could be some D&A money coming in before the end of the year.

Yesterday, we met Steve’s brother and wife in Augusta (where they had broken this year’s edition of the annual journey to Bar Harbor) for breakfast and family catch-up, then took a lovely and leisurely drive down Route 9 to look at a house that will not, I’m afraid, Do. On the wending way back home, we stopped at a wine tasting, and at B&N, arriving home too late to do anything about those nice checks, had pizza and wine for dinner.  It was a very pleasant day.

This morning, Hexapuma has already been the vet for his third and hopefully final shot to deal with the eosinophilic plaque, Steve has fixed my printer, and I’ve got some writing to do.

See y’all later.

I wanna try something that I never had; Look out world, I’m about to be bad

So, the day-job.  Busy today, in a non-frenzied way.  I had, alas, hoped to have time to write some correspondence, so I could write fiction when I came home.  Alas, no correspondence written at work, so — no Ghost Ship words at home.

Man, I need a wife.

Have I mentioned here that I subscribed to Pandora and set up Radio Rolanni?  The mix of music is, um, eclectic.  Today, I not only heard “Bad” by Kristy MacColl, immortalized in the title, but two different versions of “Night on Bald Mountain.”

The repeat didn’t bother me; I like “Night on Bald Mountain.”  What was. . .interesting was a point of execution.

For those who don’t know the story, there is a “witches sabbath” taking place on Bald Mountain, and it’s just as noisy and as raucous as you’d imagine, what with the demons, and the rum, and the demon rum, and the karaoke, and kids today, where will it all end?  At one point during the night, a church bell suddenly sounds, and the whole party falls Dead. Silent.  as if the witches and their demon dates are looking over their shoulders for Mom, or maybe the Yeti, before they resume their revelries.

In today’s first version, which was done by a Russian orchestra of some flavor, the church bell is like the silver tone you might get from a bell on the harness of an elf lord’s mount, so impossibly frail and distant that the party on the mountain couldn’t possibly have heard it.  The fact that they did, and for a moment stopped, was. . .unexpectedly moving.

The day’s second offering was from the Chicago Orchestra. Their church bell sounded like an axe.  No way you’re missing that baby, it don’t  matter how high you got the karaoke box dialed.  And it was not as moving.  In Chicago, the church is a contender — a player.  In Russia, it’s a pretty fantasy,  regarded, perhaps, for the memory of  its power, which is now fading.

So, that’s what I got today.  Tomorrow is more day-job, then a three-day weekend.  Monday, I start back full-time.  Maybe I’ll have a writing blitz on the weekend and finish that first draft.

It could happen.


Code monkey get up, get coffee; code monkey go to job

Today, Steve had business in Skowhegan, so we took off after breakfast to accomplish it.  After, it being a Day Like No Other, we drove north, stopping for a snack at the Scenic Overlook Only Locals Know about, in East Madison, or possibly it’s just over the Solon border.  Gorgeous views of the near and slightly far mountains — you people over there, stop laughing.  To us, they’re mountains.  And today, they were breathtaking.

Having decided that we hadn’t seen enough, we continued driving in a northerly direction, thinking at one point to cross at Jackman, drive a short stretch through Canada and re-enter at Coburn Gore.  Reason — or, at least, the need to write and catch up some other tasks at home — prevailed.  We stopped at Bishop’s Store in Jackman, topped off the gas tank, took on snacks and turned around, arriving at the Cat Farm and Confusion Factory shortly after 3.

Having now done business, played hookey, and been responsible — all in one day! — I’m going to finish up this blog post and go for a walk in the delightful evening.

Tomorrow, the day-job!

Progress on Ghost Ship:

80,319 words/100,000 OR 80.32% completed