Friday, December 23, 2005

What Have I Done?

Oh. My. God.

I did it. I just sent the synopsis of Washed in the Blood to Miss Snark. Oh well, when MS, the Crap-O-Meter, and Killer Yapp are done with it, I'll at least have some confetti for New Year's Eve. I will go dig a hole now, so I can crawl in and cover myself up.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Is Nothing Sacred?

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Turning a New Year

Happy Winter Solstice! In the Northern Hemisphere, this is the shortest day of the year and the longest night. South of the Equator, they do everything upside-down and backwards, so they think today is the Summer Solstice. I guess I can cut a break for people who can live on the underside of the Earth without falling off, though.

The Winter Solstice is the real New Year. For thousands of years, people's lives have revolved around this day. Before we knew anything about planetary mechanics, we had no assurance that the Sun would reverse its course and bring Spring back again. Monuments such as Stonehenge were constructed to keep track of this, and people did everything they could think of, some of them pretty horrible, to insure that Spring would come, and life would return to the land.

Some of our most cherished Christmas traditions are survivors from those times. Evergreens and holly, especially, are reminders that life goes on, even on the darkest days. The red berries on the holly bush are some of the first seeds of the new year, as well as a dash of color against the snow and bare trees of deep winter. The Yule Log reminds us of the fires our ancestors used to keep the night monsters at bay and to provide themselves with heat and light. Fire also represents the warmth of light against the dark and cold around us, a little comfort in the midst of danger and despair.

Whatever day we call New Year's Day is truly a magical day. On that day, we close the book of another year and open a new one. Crisp, white pages wait to be filled with our wonder and sorrow, our laughter and tears, our dreams and nightmares, our triumphs and failures, all the words that tell the stories of the days that build our lives.

This is the season of reflection and planning. At this time of year, I look back at the past year and see what I can learn from it. Many plans I made did not come to fruition. Many things happened that I did not plan for, both good and bad. This is the way life works. Things seldom work out exactly the way we expect. Again, that is both good and bad. The one thing I can say is that surprises, however unwelcome, keep life from becoming a boring routine.

For the next 10 days, I will be considering my plans for the coming year. One of them, I have already committed to by signing up for the 2 Year Novel course at Forward Motion. Many participants have commented on the value of this course, and I expect to get enormous benefit from it, as well as momentum. In the coming days, I will set other plans and goals. Maybe I will reach them, maybe not. The important thing for me is to try. I am trying to learn to give myself credit for the progress I make, while not whipping myself for the goals I did not accomplish. That's a long, hard road for me. One step at a time.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Ketchup Day

Sorry, sometimes I fall prey to my childish infatuation with really, really bad puns.

I have fallen behind in my responses to comments, so I'm going to cheat and put them in a post. And you can't stop me! Nyaah!

In response to My New Retirement Fund:

Heather: Just invest yours and let the miracle of compound interest work for you. Yah, right.

Hi jae! Here's a link to you. Maybe that'll be worth 2 cents.

In response to Update and a Quick Christmas Rant:

Melly, thanks for the thoughts. All are welcome. Hugs, too. Home is the best place she can be from here on.

Hi Linda. Prayers and hugs gratefully accepted. Professional singers know when to quit. Screeching wannabes don't. That makes all the difference in the world. Real singers recognize and emphasize the natural beauty in the songs they sing. Just like with makeup, it's more effective if you don't notice it.

Heather, as always, your thoughts mean a lot to me. Thank you.

Piro, your comments are right on the money. Unfortunately, compassion for myself is not something I do well at all. Thanks for the hugs and prayers.

In response to Raise the Stakes:

Jean, if it's not hard on him, where's the fun? When you deal with vampires, both stakes and steaks take on whole new dimensions. Hee hee.

Ronn, I think a lot of writers miss some real depth of character by ducking out on the "reality" of vampires. He's a monster. He may be good at heart, but he has hard realities he has to cope with. It's in the coping that we learn about him and learn to care about him. Without the need for blood, he's just another night-owl. Big deal. Thanks.

Heather, I'm taking Maass's advice to heart. Crank it up. Tension keeps the reader involved, so the more the better. I think that if a reader has to put a book down for a little while to let the tension ease off, that's a good thing. The snowflake thing is cool. Thanks for sharing that with us. My connection kept failing, too. It keeps bitching about firewalls. Well, tough. My firewall ain't coming down. Get over it. :-)

And now for the news:

The synopsis continues to roll along. I am now right on 1000 words. Unfortunately, the story's not done yet. Eeek. Revision time's a-coming. This synopsis thing ain't as easy as it looks.

John is now also wanted for kidnapping his granddaughter (he didn't do it, tHomas set him up again). Michael, his only potential ally is in jail as an accessory. The climax looms. I know how this ends, and I'm itching to write that scene. It's not a candy-bar scene, it's a two-pound bar of Hershey's Special Dark chocolate with almonds. That's the carrot that keeps me moving forward, albeit slowly.

Also got "A Time to Every Purpose" polished up until it gleams. I hope. I'm sending it to the Writers of the Future Contest in the next couple of days. Nervous as a kitten about it.