Thursday, March 29, 2018

3/29 The Great Procrastinator

Everyone has to be good at something, right? It seems I'm good at procrastinating. But I'm writing today, and that's a good feeling.

I really like this book and I know how it ends now, so I don't know why I'm so slow at finishing it. Many people have let me know that it seems like forever since my last book came out and they are right. It's been almost a year. Normally I put out two a year, so I'm vowing to get back on track.

This morning I'm sitting in a coffee shop and I'm the only person here. So there's no excuse, although I do like a little noise of people talking in the background. It motivates me somehow.

I had a marvelous writers' retreat in Vermont in February, and I will be going to my annual writing retreat at Snowmass at the end of April. I'd like to get the first draft of this book finished before I go. I usually start a new book when I'm at the hermitage at Snowmass. It's so inspiring there, plus there's no WiFi or cellphone service, so not too many distractions. Well, except for the marvelous view and the animals that come right up to the door.

So as I look forward to that trip, I also know I need to be mindful of the NOW and to live in the present, so I can complete the task at hand.

Wish me luck! Sam and George are on another excellent adventure.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

3/11 Plugging along

The good news is that I got my hearing aid and things seem to be working well. Still takes some getting used to, but I’m very pleased overall.

Regarding writing, it’s going slowly but it’s going. :) I am editing a book for a friend, grading assignments for my QU teaching job, and counseling Au pairs online. However, I’m still making time for writing.

My Work in Progress includes: The heroes climb to great heights. Poor Clancy gets trapped. A priest helps Sam and George escape from a dangerous position. Those are all the hints I’m giving. Still don’t know how to get them out of all the situations. Plus I haven’t figures out who the villain is yet. Well, I know one for sure, but not the other.

Okay, done talking about what is involved in Is This the End? As I write, I’m thinking about the next one.

What do you think about a murder taking place in a dementia unit, and how difficult that would be for the investigators to get information? I think the concept is intriguing.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

2/24/18 Life is interesting....

I should be writing, and I will.

I should be editing a friend's manuscript, and I will.

But for now, I'm sitting in a coffee shop willing the tinnitus to stop.

But it won't.

Willing my right ear to start hearing again.

But it won't.

Went to bed on 12/27 hearing out of both ears. Woke up 12/28 with almost all hearing gone in my right ear. Tests show I do have a brain and it works okay. (A little MRI humor there.) Explanations are unsatisfactory. "Sometimes this just happens. Something goes wrong with the cochlea in the inner ear. We don't really know how it happens. It just does." Of course the doctor didn't really say it in those exact words, but it's what I heard.

I'm not complaining, truly I'm not. I'm grateful to have one ear that works perfectly. This is just such a big change. And I know that soon I'll get used to hearing in monaural instead of stereo. And hopefully I'll get used to the noises that my ear insists on making. Oh, and walking into walls.

In the meantime I'll get back to my writing and editing, and trying to remember to hold my phone to my left ear. Laughing, because so far that's been one of the hardest things about this situation.

I do feel incredibly lucky that my livelihood doesn't depend on my hearing. Another appointment with the audiologist next week will determine if a hearing aid will help. Here's hoping...

Now, back to the main event: Writing. Happy Saturday, everyone. I am one lucky bug.

Monday, February 12, 2018

2/12/18 Last full day here

I was supposed to leave yesterday, but am leaving tomorrow instead. Luckily I have a flexible schedule and was able to extend my journey by two days. A few others have as well.

I think my favorite part of this whole journey has been sitting around the fire every evening and listening to other people's writing from the day, then discussing it, hashing it out. And also the fear and joy of reading my own stuff aloud and hearing helpful critiques as well. This has been invaluable.

The setting is certainly gorgeous. The food is some of the best I've had.

So pardon me if I don't write much here, because I'm working on my manuscript.

Friday, February 09, 2018

2/9/18 Hey, I am a writer!

Yesterday was an amazing patchwork of laughter, wine, and primarily writing. I wrote a few thousand words and could have written more, but tiredness overtook me. After a perfect dinner (which followed a perfect lunch), all the writers gathered in the Gertrude Stein salon. It's expected that every evening we gather for a "hash session" where we read part of our work in progress and critique each other's work.

It's kind of scary to put your work out there and to hear what people honestly think of it. Of course, when my work is published people read it and judge it all the time. But I don't hear them. And I'm not sitting there taking it in person.

So I was nervous.

However, it was a super experience—enlightening, encouraging, and energizing. Not only did I get valuable feedback on Is This the End?, I also was able to give feedback to others. There are some talented folks here. Right now there are five female writers staying here. Everyone writes so differently, yet all have a gift. Really enjoyed hearing others read their prose. We'll do that every night while here.

I'm getting a lot done, and eating like a queen. The food is unbelievable. Two of the women are wives and mothers and are sure enjoying not cooking. I just say Yum a lot.

I was supposed to go home Sunday but have extended until Tuesday morning. It's because I'm getting so much work done here with no distractions, plus getting helpful feedback.

Supposed to snow again soon. This is a beautiful postcard of a place.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

2/8/18 Maybe my life IS an adventure after all

I'm in Vermont at a Writers' Retreat. However, getting here fills the requirement of being an adventure. I left Quincy, IL yesterday morning quite early, after bidding a tearful farewell to my animals, even knowing the house sitter loved them and would take good care of them.

So my flight from Quincy to Chicago was uneventful. My flight from Chicago to Boston was cancelled because of weather and we had to go on a later flight. I'd paid for Economy Plus because I wanted to be able to get out of the plane quickly and be able to make my next flight. So on the new flight to Boston they had me in the back of the plane. I went to a customer service person and explained my plight, and for an additional $25 I got First Class. It really was a treat. They even had a ton of vegan choices for snacks. I had barbecue chickpeas and cocoa-dusted almonds. Yum.

I shouldn't have hurried to get out of the plane. After all, the flight to Rutland, Vermont was going to leave in 10 minutes, and I was sure there was no way I could make it. But another customer service person said, "All flights are delayed because of the weather."

Hope springs eternal. Right?

So I walked as fast as these short old legs would carry me. Turns out that Cape Air was in another terminal and it meant I needed to go outside of security and then back through it again. Yeah, I was getting irritated, not to mention breathless.

I get to Cape Air and there's a sign that said, "Because of weather, all evening flights are cancelled."

When I was finally able to breathe, I said a bad word. Then I said out loud, "I wonder if I can sleep here tonight."

A lady stopped and said, "They won't let you do that."

"Thanks," I said, and smiled. After all, I wasn't serious about sleeping there, but she didn't know that.

There was a sign saying, "Need help?"

I thought, I sure do. And I followed the directions to a kind gentleman who told me which hotels had free shuttles and how far away each one was, as well as the cost of each. I chose the cheapest that I knew was still decent (Holiday Inn Express), and when I got there I ordered a huge Chinese meal to be delivered. The tofu, vegetables, and hot sauce were tremendous.

Then I thought I needed a little culture, and watched Big Brother Celebrity Edition. I was thoroughly cultured by the time it was over.

This morning I hopped a flight to Rutland, VT without incident. Jill, the manager, picked me up and drove me the 45 minutes to the When Words Count Retreat Center in Rochester.

It is GORGEOUS, you guys. The house is very old, and each room is named for a famous writer. I'm writing in the Gertrude Stein salon. My bedroom (the Fitzgerald) is so beautiful and has a private bath and a huge desk. Here's a picture of my bed and the view out my window.




I just got here and am already writing. But before writing I did have a delightful lunch with two other writers, as I wait for my friend Nancie to arrive. She has an even bigger adventure to share and I hope she does. I'll try to get her permission to post it here. It's a doozy. 

Sunday, February 04, 2018

2/4/18 Writing and...

Is This the End? is flowing along. I'm excited about finding out who the murderer is. Yeah, that's how I write. I get an idea and just start writing. At that point, there's no idea of who dies, how the person dies, or who committed the murder. It works for me. In this 8th book in the Sam Darling series, it's even more difficult to figure out who did it. But I'm sure that by the end of the book, Sam and George will not only solve the crime, but will be ready to take on another one.

I felt compelled to say that because the title scared a few readers. No, this is not the last book in the series. There will be at least two more after this one.

However, I already have ideas about another series. What do you think about a nun whose dad is a mafia boss? That idea makes my toes tingle. (No, not when George kisses Sam and her toes tingle. This is another type.) I get so excited about the idea of another series, but I hate to leave Sam and George. Of course, it has to happen at some point. Sigh. BUT NOT NOW!

By the way, the nun, Sister Jordan, makes her appearance in Mostly Murder: Til Death, an anthology of murderous short stories. The book has some great mysteries in it and is only $2.99 for the Kindle version. Check it out if you wan to meet Sister Jordan. I hope you like her. Let me know, please.