Thursday, April 29, 2021

Book 4

I have been noodling around with ideas for Book 4. Today, I send a long list of bullet points to my agent about what the idea is and who the characters are.

When I was in middle school, my friend Patti and I made up soap opera characters. We wrote about their exploits in spiral notebooks we'd pass back and forth. We'd cut out photos of these people from catalogs and paste them into the notebooks. The characters had ridiculous names like Dirk McDiggory. Their names were pretty much exactly like the ones I made up for my Book 4 characters yesterday. Some of these names will absolutely have to change, but so far we have:

Kit Sheffield

Felicia McIntyre

Shirl Lovelace

I already changed that last one because really. Enough is enough.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

A New Idea

 It's time to start writing my fourth novel.

I've been sitting with that single sentence hanging out by itself up there for quite a long time. I have an idea noodling around now. My agent likes the idea. Little branches of it--shoots, if you will, to borrow a tired metaphor--keep zipping out of my subconscious as I do other things like drop Mac at school, pet one of my three dogs, or think about my brother Kevin's languishing bank account.

I had this great plan about sitting at my desk for a couple of hours each day and making progress. That got torpedoed with Kevin's death, but now I'm supposed to be back.

Yesterday, though, I started the day by drafting an obituary, and to be honest, when I was finished with those 700 words, I felt depleted. I still worked a little, but I also just thought about my sore hip and a boundless future.

Random crap like that.

Anyway, it's time to start writing my fourth novel. I'm going to do it now.

Monday, April 19, 2021

A Detour

 I lost a week of work because my brother died.

My brother died! 

Who can even believe that. Kevin was only 40 years old, younger than I am. 

He was a good person with many excellent qualities. He also struggled a lot with his health. There have been a series of shocks over the past week, each one rippling its way along through my muscles and capillaries and triggering headache and tightness of jaw and you know, devastating sadness. Basically, I've felt terrible, sometimes having that eerie feeling of watching myself from above. There's that meta voice, the one that's like, "Oh wow, she's currently coping with her grief by having a second M&M cookie!"

Other things have happened, too. Like now, I have Kevin's dog, Skip. Skip used to be our dog, and then when his anxiousness about other people's children became too much, he lived with Kevin. He's had a homecoming of sorts and seems to be settling in well with his canine brother and sister.

So, in addition to being someone whose brother has died, I'm also definitely a dog lady. Three dogs a dog lady makes.

And one brother dead at 40 makes me... a person in a sad and heartbreaking club. We'll be okay.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Is Anyone Actually Good at Living in the Moment?

I am not that good at being in the moment. And especially not today. My attention span is about two seconds long, and I'm all about the future at this time. I'm thinking about:

A new job for next school year.

A new book to write that I've only just begun to brainstorm.

The sun damage that I had blasted with a super powerful light that will darken and then fade next week.

Nothing is about sitting in my chair and doing the work, word by word. I don't want to do my two hours here today. I might not do a great job. But sure enough, I'm here doing it.

So far, I read the prompt in a book called Write it! 100 Poetry Prompts to Inspire. I do not then write poetry, but I visit PoetryFoundation.Org, type in a keyword from the prompt (today it was "smell"), read another poem (today it was a great one called "Smell is the Last Memory to Go" by Fatimah Asghar), and then do some journaling (today it was about juxtaposition and hopes for the future). It's been good, I guess. It hasn't been bad.

And now I'm here doing this writing. This counts as writing.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Enough is Enough

 To be honest, I'm feeling a little queasy at the moment. It's not because of the cyber sickness which has dogged me for many days, but rather because I was trying to drum up some mystery ideas by reading a chapter on the decomposition of remains.

I drew the line at reading the details of bodies in the desert and also ear prints. I mean, gross. My stomach started to turn as I read about bodies in the water and the weird fatty substance that develops. 

I decided that should I need to know these details for whatever plot I develop, then I will learn then. In the meantime, there are enough gross things about being alive and living with three boys and two dogs.

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The Derringer

 In my quest for the perfect idea for book four, I've been thinking a lot about guns.

Well, that's not entirely accurate. I've been reading about guns this morning (and only this morning) in an oudated book about crime scene investigation.

Specifically, I'm thinking about derringer revolvers, cute little handguns like the one in the purse of Miss Scarlett in the movie Clue.

Your grandmother might have such a revolver if she's the gun-toting sort. And what might your grandmother have done or do with said weapon? That's exactly the kind of thing her granddaughter will have to investigate, don't you think?

Monday, April 5, 2021

Perennial Lessons

There are few lessons I have to learn over and over again in my life.

One of them is HOW TO JUST BE TIRED. Sometimes, life gets away from me, and I require a major or minor medical event -- face infection, migraine, unrelenting motion sickness, or strained hamstring to remember that I should take a break and rest.

I remembered and learned that lesson again last week when I had the migraine, the motion sickness, and the hamstring problem. Then I lay around all weekend and dozed, and now I think I feel better. We're having gorgeous weather today, and I feel hopeful and optimistic about what's next. 

Here's a preview:

  • In April, I'm spending two straight hours per day at my desk writing or thinking about writing. I'm doing that right now. The blog will probably benefit. I cannot count other tasks like working on renewing my teaching license as part of these writing-specific two hours. 
  • I will also be renewing my teaching license, a task that will require additional hours per day. Should I have spread this work out over five years? Yes, indeed. Did I? Nope. Not even a little bit.
  • I might be joining TikTok and making content. Lord, help us all. I have mixed feelings about this because I've been listening to a super great podcast called Under the Influence by Jo Piazza. Makes you think twice about your online personal brand, but at the same time as an author, I need an online personal brand.
  • I have been big on body positivity messages lately. Here are a couple of my favorites: "It's okay for your body to change," and "Think about what your body can do, rather than how much it weighs." That's random, but it's on my mind. As are Cheetos and their healthier alternative, Peatos. I'm eating the Fiery Onion Peatos right this moment. They're not kidding with the fire.
  • Track season is underway as of this afternoon. It's time to reboot InstenseTrackMom.Com, my fake website for my intense sports momming alter-ego. I just turned in a book about youth sports, so I'll be paying careful attention to this gal in the coming months.
I think that's it. I'm cruising. Working. Rewarding myself with stickers.