April 2009


Otago Harbor

I got some good writing done this weekend, despite the nice weather.  I also went for a bike ride along a path by the Otago Harbor, which was very pretty, but full of other cyclists, most of whom seemed to be under age 8.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it is awesome for little kids to be out getting exercise, but as a beginning bike rider myself, it is pretty scary having to dodge erratically weaving tots on bikes.  But it was a good learning experience for me.  Today I plan to take my bike on a longer ride, down on the Taieri plain, and it should be quiet.  I hope…

I am now about halfway through with Chapter 13 of Summermoon Fire.  I’m pretty happy with the story so far, but very few others have seen my efforts so it is difficult to know if I am proceeding on the right track.  I prefer to finish books before allowing them to be critiqued, mostly because of my habit of working backwards in some respects.  I like to salt the details of plot twists after I finish the main story, and that makes it difficult for anyone who looks at the book halfway to get a firm grip on the plot.

But already I’m thinking…

What comes next?

More on that in my next entry!

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Dan Quayle

The title isn’t really true.  I just wanted to paraphrase one of my all time favorite political doofuses (uh doofi?) Dan Quayle.

Some good progress today on Summermoon Fire after a horrible week of struggling over two or three sentences. I wonder sometimes if it is better to give up, or keep on pushing myself. On the one hand it is a waste of time to sit at the computer hour after hour, waiting for inspiration, and mostly just scanning the headlines on Google news. But on the other hand, if I hadn’t sat down today, then I wouldn’t have been visited by Chloe, my lovely muse.

The main thing is I managed to finish the sticky chapter, and now I get to move into fresh territory.

I spent Easter weekend at Purakaunui Bay, in glorious weather.  The campground was pretty full up, and the first night we were disturbed by some young men flying around the beach on a very loud motorcycle.  Rather inconsiderate.  The next day, after they left, we noted they had scattered their tent site with empty beer bottles and toilet paper.  Also inconsiderate.  I think I am becoming more and more curmudgeonly in my old age, because I can no longer identify with that sort of behavior at all.  But I probably used to do it, once upon a time.

We saw two young penguins hanging around in the long grass, waiting for an adult to come and feed them.  They looked perfectly capable of getting their own food.  I bet their parents will let them stew until they get hungry enough to hunt for themselves.  Probably some kind of lesson there.

Progress on the book is slow at the moment.  It’s school holidays again, and quiet time is almost non-existent.  But I’ve got to get some work done tomorrow!

“Having Fun at the Beach” is the name of a song by the Wiggles.  They, for those of you who live under rocks, are a quartet of Australian gentlemen who entertain the under-6 set.  They played a concert in Dunedin last week and I took my godchild.  It was an amazing, energy-filled concert, and I had a ball.

I’ve been busy this week working on the galleys for Dawnmaid. It takes time to review a whole manuscript properly, and I am not sure I have found everything that needs fixing even now. But even though I would like it to be perfect, I realize that is not a realistic goal.

I am always looking for new ways to network with other writers, so when I heard about a new system being touted by Agent Query, called Connect, I was pretty excited. It sounded great. A place where writers, agents and publishers could get together, and meet both privately and in group settings. I signed up and began to look around. Unfortunately, it soon became apparent that almost everyone there was just like me. Writers with few or no published works to their credit, all trying to get an agent.

Mostly competition, in other words.

Sometimes I wonder why I even bother…

Please give a warm welcome to Pat Bertram as my guest blogger today.  Pat is celebrating the publication of her first two novels with a virtual book tour!

Pat Bertram

Pat Bertram

Pat Bertram is a native of Colorado and a lifelong resident. When the traditional publishers stopped publishing her favorite type of book – character and story driven novels that can’t easily be slotted into a genre – she decided to write her own. More Deaths Than One and A Spark of Heavenly Fire, available at Amazon and from Second Wind Publishing, are Bertram’s first novels.

Suzanne Francis and I have celebrated many firsts together. About the time her novel Heart of Hythea was first published as an e-book, I started my first blog. She was one of the first to leave a comment on that blog. When I entered More Deaths Than One in a contest on Gather.com, she was the first to sign up just to vote for me.

She was my first cyber friend, my first author friend, my first international friend. She was the very first person ever to read one of my manuscripts, and the first to call it “brilliant.” (So far she’s the only one who called Light Bringer brilliant, but then, so far she’s only one who’s read it.) While we’re at it, I might as well add another first: here is the first announcement that, if everything goes as planned, Light Bringer will be published at the first of next year.

Eighteen months after we first “met,” Suzanne and I had our first books released in print form, and we wrote our first endorsements for each other. So when I decided to do my first blog tour as part of my first book launch party, I wanted Suzanne to be a part of it.

Normally I would have written one of my usual blog articles for her to post, but when one is celebrating firsts, there is no such thing as usual. Hence this personal journey into our shared firsts.

Suzanne, thank you for being part of my first book launch party. I hope we celebrate many more firsts together.

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