January 2008

In my never-ending struggle to understand my difficulties with book IV, I came upon the idea of completion. The difference between this book and the others in the series is that I have to finish. Not just the story lines for this novel, but all the story lines for the previous three. No wonder I am feeling a bit daunted. I decided that I needed to make a more extensive outline of the plot, and make sure all the loose ends are tied. My own feelings play a part in this. I hate novels that end with things unresolved, unless I know there is going to be a sequel.

But I do plan to leave a character or two in limbo, to include in my next series, tentatively titled Sons of the Mariner. It will feature new story lines, new settings, and time period–I am looking forward to getting them out of the 18th Century, and into the 20th. I want my characters to be able to drive from place to place, dammit!
add to furl :: Digg it :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Not a good weekend for writing, but I had a great time yesterday. DH and I went to Central Otago (Otago is the province we live it, Central is, well, in the middle of it) to a pick-your-own apricot orchard close to the town of Roxbrough. It is about a two hour drive each way , so we made a day of it. We took a picnic lunch and ate down by the Clutha River, after walking around a historically significant gold mining area. Then we picked apricots for about thirty minutes, and came away with almost more than we could eat fresh, make into jam and freeze. I put up 10 jars of jam this morning and there is still a huge bowl of apricots left to eat and make into cobbler. (more…)

I have been writing my whole life–poetry, short stories, journals–but it is only in the past five years that I have made the jump into longer works of fiction. I tried to write several novels in the past, but I never could seem to get more than a few thousand words into them before I would lose motivation. Part of the reason would be that my life was way more busy and complicated back then, with three children born in the space of four years, and a job, and a not-so-helpful husband. But I digress. In the last three years I have written three complete novels, and not once did I lose interest or have any trouble keeping the plot moving in the right direction.

Then came book #4. (more…)

I have a new book on my reference shelf:

The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ship and Boats by Graham Blackburn. It is published by The Overlook Press in large format paperback. Full of line drawings of thousands of boats of all kinds. Very useful. The author dedicated the book to Arthur Ransome, who is, coincidentally, one of my favourite authors as well! He wrote the “Swallows and Amazons” series of novels for young people. I have read them all several times. (more…)

It’s 2008, and that means it is time to sit back and count my blessings for 2007. It was a pretty good year. My health continued to improve–after years of absolutely crippling migraines, often three or more episodes a month, I finally beat them. Without drugs or botox or anything unnatural. Turns out my migraines were caused by gluten intolerance. No doctor ever told me this; I found out on my own, by trial and error. I’d given up coffee, chocolate, red wine, aged cheese, bacon and ham in the past, with no good results, but with bread and pasta the improvement was literally seen overnight. Now I can eat everything that I used to think was a trigger, as long as I stay away from gluten. Life is good. (more…)

I feel very privileged to be able to do my own cover art designs. It is a very enjoyable adjunct to writing a book. I don’t know much about the marketing science of book covers, although I am sure I could look on the Internet and find out if I really wanted to. But I do know what I like, and what I think fits my work, and so I am lucky to be able to bring that to life. These days one doesn’t have to be an artist to do “art.” There are a lot of free drawing programs out there. I use Serif Draw Plus, which is, I am sure, a pretty basic program, but it meets my needs very well and is easy to use. I have used others (Aldus Intellidraw springs to mind) that were impossibly complicated and frustrating. (more…)

I have finished my last perusal of Book II, and found a distressing number of things I wanted to change. So I made the changes, looked at it quickly one last time, and sent it off to my publisher. I never know when to call things finished. How do you tell when something is good enough? I am sure, if I were a painter, I would stand for hours before my canvas, applying little bitty dabs of paint here and there, trying to get the picture “perfect.” But would I know when to quit? I don’t think so. (more…)

It is funny how being away from creature comforts makes you appreciate them ever so much. The humble toilet, with its cascade of flushing water, has been sorely missed by yours truly for the past 5 days. But now I am home again! At least for three days or so. Then we are probably going back for more. (more…)