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Showing posts from December, 2009

Sliding a final achievement under the wire...

The year's almost over and I really can't believe it. Where did the time go? I've been reading my friends' resolution lists posted online, and feeling bad about my lack thereof - of lists I mean; I have plenty more resolutions than I need.

Get published. Get published. That seems to be my constant refrain, but not an aim I can claim to have much control over. Last year I tried amending it to "submit," and I think I managed it. At least, I was managing until summer. But then it was Christmas and New Year's Eve. Where did the time go?

Still, I am sliding one final achievement under the wire of '09. I took the Poetic Asides November challenge, sometime in those missing months, and wrote a poem a day for 30 days. But then you have to organize a collection of 10-20 poems to complete the task. I finished today. (Luckily dinner was easy to make.) And now I have a collection of 20 poems, entitled Patriot Son. All I have to do is email it and I can claim to hav…

Writing at Christmas ?

Written note from son, found on the breakfast table this morning - "I've run out of contact fluid Mum. Please can you get some more for me before lunch." Son gets up at lunchtime (goes to bed at some unearthly hour), so the note makes perfect sense. And luckily there was a sample pack still in the cupboard so I didn't need to go shopping after church.

Other than that, there's not been much writing done here over the last few days. Lots of eating, which was nice; really nice in fact. And turkey butties, of which I will soon make some more for that afore-mentioned lunch. I did write my usual hundred words a day, except if you look at my drabbles (stories, above) you'll notice I didn't always write or post them quite at the right time. And I've just posted the last of my Christmas Bible studies, but it was written weeks ago.

Reading? I've done plenty of that: Christmas cards and letters, catching up, with thanks and joy, on news of the year gone by; ne…

It's beginning to taste like Christmas

I'm not sure what I did wrong with the Christmas cake this year; when it came to pouring the mixture into the tin it didn't fit. I greased another round for it (and fed the final scrapings into my mouth--the best bit of baking). The kitchen smelled fruitily and spicily delightful while the oven did its work. Then timer pinged, sharp knife confirmed, and there we were, with Christmas cake and a spare.

When friends came round I used icing and plastic holly to decorate the spare. As a mini-Christmas cake it was nice, as was the stollen with nutmeg icing, the chocolate, and the nuts... Sugar and spice...

Afterwards we left nuts and candy in dishes on the coffee table. I nibble them as I pass--bad for the waistline, but good...

It's beginning to taste like Christmas and it's fun.

It's beginning to sound like Christmas

No, I don't meant the music. There was music in the stores today, though at least it wasn't too loud or too wearying. There were people too, all talking at once. There were children crying and parents saying "No." But that wasn't it.

The sound of Christmas was the voice of a son on the phone, happy and excited to share good news, and filling us with joy. To think that he'd tell his parents first! So now he knows where he's going next year. Now we know where he'll be. Now he can plan.

And just maybe we can plan his Christmas presents to match what he'll need. (What's the weather like in Texas?)

The sound of joy; that's the sound of Christmas. It's still ringing in my head.

It's beginning to smell like Christmas

This morning the house smelled of furniture polish. Not a bad smell, kind of like spring and lavender; clean and fresh. It wasn't a bad feeling either, knowing the housework's done, and thanking Mum.

But this afternoon; that's a different tale. This afternoon we filled the bread-maker with stollen, put a Christmas cake into the oven, and set a two-pound Christmas pudding to boil on top of the stove.

This afternoon it's beginning to smell like Christmas. And who cares if it's raining outside while we have colored lights and spicy scents to keep us warm?

I posted another Christmas drabble too - just click on stories to see it.

Beginning to look like Christmas

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They're saying it might snow soon, so we've been trying to fit lots of activities into my Mum's first few days with us. Driving out to Multnomah Falls today, it certainly began to look a lot like Christmas.

Afterward we drank hot chocolate to warm frozen hands, then went out to buy a Christmas tree. Looks like Christmas in our living room too.

Beginning to feel like Christmas

It's strange the way your fingers freeze, not straight away but just as you start to believe maybe they won't. And noses too. Even the "I-don't-need-a-coat" son buys a scarf. I shop for gloves 'cause Mum says I should.

It's strange the way hats and scarves and gloves disappear from year to year. Then you enter the store; your ears feeling cold as you leave. "Where's your hat?" "I don't know."

It's strange the way it feels like the year before with no time in between. Mum's here with Christmas in her smile, and while shopping for food should be boring it's turned into fun when we do it as one.

So maybe it's not so strange after all, just beginning to feel like Christmas. The family arrives and it's cold outside.

Red and Blue

Christmas Bazaar - decorations - bright reds, shining greens - blinking lights - Christmas music - cold winds.... oh, those very cold winds every time the door opened to let all the customers in.

There were visitors, browsers, friends who walked round all the stalls but left purses at home; I suspect they were wise. It might be too easy to find yourself spending too much.

But I sold all my copies of Voicecatcher, so I now owe a nice large check to voicecatcher.org. I sold bookmarks and stocking stuffer stories as well - see my stories link above to find out what they are - but not one of my books, and I left feeling blue.

The lights are still bright (some of them are blue too), so I'll look on the red side instead; I did give away lots of brochures, made lots of new friends, and I wore a warm coat. What more do I need?

Wondering How I Write

Perhaps I could use my time more efficiently by writing, but I've got a headache so instead I'll just think about writing for a while. I've read quite a few blog posts recently by authors telling how they create novels. It's comforting that there isn't just a single "right way" and the advice to "write the way that works for you" makes lots of sense. But what about writing the way that works for the novel? I'm only asking because as I head into editing all my current manuscripts again - my usual winter task - using Snowflake to organize myself, I'm wondering how I'd have used the software at the writing stage, and realizing that I approached the writing of each novel completely differently. Perhaps that just means I haven't worked out what works for me yet, but I felt like it was working at the time.

My first novel - Chasing Shadows - is about a character who kept invading my every feeble attempt at writing something serious. I ga…

Working backwards is fun too

I've spent a while playing with my Snowflake Pro software and my first Hemlock book. It's going pretty well. So, for those friends who've not met the Snowflake Guy (Randy Ingermanson), here's a few notes...

1. The software downloads and installs really easily - always a plus.
2. The welcome page has a neat diagram of a snowflake, and quick explanation of its relevance to writing a novel. Basically, the idea is that your novel has a beginning middle and end - three sides, like a triangle. If you add a triangle sticking out from the middle of each side, and another triangle sticking from the middle of each resulting side, etc... you end up with a snowflake. Meanwhile you're adding ideas to your one-sentence summary and turning it into a novel.
3. There's access to lecture notes and a spoken lecture at each stage of the program, to help you know what you're doing and why. And Randy's a really good speaker.
4. So, after doing the basics - title, genre, audience…