deadlines, painting and movies...

Well, I didn’t make my November deadline, but I’m only 8 pages off it, so I’m not stressing about it too much. At one stage there, I thought I was going to be at least 30 pages off target, so in the end, I did well. Of course, this still means I have to write 200 pages of Bound by Shadows in December, and that’s a pretty fiercesome target given Christmas is stuck in the middle of it. If I can get anywhere close to target again, I’ll be happy.

Of course, I probably would have completed my allotted 200 pages if I hadn’t decided yesterday to paint. One end of the new house is weatherboard, and it’s the end that gets all the weather, so it was pretty bad paint wise. It’s also where I want to put a couple of large water tanks, and if I put the tanks in first, I won’t be able to reach the weatherboards to paint them. (we’re on stage 4 restrictions, which means we cannot water outside at all, and I have a really pretty garden I need to keep alive). I’ve been trying to paint that end of the house for weeks, but the weather has been pretty crappy–either too windy to get up on an extension ladder, too hot to paint, or too rainy.  Yesterday was almost perfect, so I got out my ladder, paint stripper, and away I went. It took me nearly all day to prepare the wood and then paint, but at least I got a coat done. Hopefully sometime this week I’ll get another one on, then I can finally think about get the tanks and a pump installed.

I’ve also taken to watching movies at night, mainly because there’s crap-all on TV at the moment. I watched 2 very different movies over the weekend,  one I’d been wanting to see for a while, and the other one I bought on a whim because it sounded interesting. The first was the X-Files: I want to believe. It was nice to see Mulder and Scully back on the big screen, and I loved that they finally moved the relationship to where us shippers believed it should be, but really, the plot line stunk. Which isn’t saying it was bad, because I did actually enjoy it. But it was more a stand alone episode, and after all this time, I really think they should have concentrated on the myth arc more. After all, that was what the x-files was all about, and the other movies–and the series–left so much unanswered. So, a reserved thumbs up.

The other movie was Gabriel. I’d never heard of it, never seen any advertising for it, but the blurb on the cover said it was an dark action drama about the battle between the Arcs (angels) and the Fallen (fallen angels/demons) for the souls in purgatory, and it sounded cool. It was also cheap, meaning I didn’t lose much money if it was crap.  Well, it wasn’t crap. It was a little strange–actually, it was a whole lot of strange, and reminded me a whole lot of The Crow in its feel–but it was still interesting. The special effects and action in the film were great, and so was the main character. I ended up enjoying this more than the X-Files, and coming from an x-files addict, that’s saying something. I’ve since discovered that Gabriel was Australian made, and basically made on a shoe string budget from the directors own pockets, because no one in this stupid country actually wants to support movies that are a little different or out there. You know, movies that people might actually want to watch. But I won’t get into that rant right now…  Basically, if you’re feeling bored and want to watch something a little different, it’s definitely worth picking this one up. And it you want to try before you buy (or rent) check out the website. It has lots of clips, pics and sounds to enjoy.

Riley 8 is underway...

that’s right, I got my butt into gear yesterday, marched it toward the computer, sat it down, and wrote. It took a while to get the opening line right, and I’m not entirely sure that I like the overall opening sequence, but at least I have words on paper. I can worry about the rightness of them later.  While I basically know the overall plot of this one, I haven’t pinned down the  little details, and it’s always the little details that are the hardest to write, especially in the first chapter of a book. For example, the plot outline tells me the story opens with Riley being called out to a murder scene but it doesn’t give me the setting, the time, who’s involved, ectera.  So the muse, she fiddles, trying various words, going back and changing them, erasing them and trying something else…it’s a long process writing a first chapter. At least it is for me. But once I get past it, I’m hoping the words will flow better. They usually do.

Mind you, I’m not sure I’ll be writing today, because I’m off to the dentist after gym. I had a broken tooth fixed last week, and now I have to go back and have them all cleaned. And I hate having my teeth cleaned. I can stand the needles, I can stand the fillings and the sharp whine of the drill, but the thought of getting them scraped and polished always makes me shudder in horror. I guess it doesn’t help that my gums tend to bleed rather horribly during the whole process. :(  But at least I won’t have to go back for another 6 months once it’s done (though I tend to stretch it out to a year. lol)

rain, rain....and surprise! more rain

you wouldn’t believe we’re in the middle of a massive drought right now. It’s been raining for four days straight, and the garden is looking decidedly soggy. In fact, we’ve had so much rain, the pool overflowed and there was six inches of water floating around the outside of it. Anyone who knows anything about above ground pools knows this isn’t a good thing, so yesterday I was out there in the rain, digging trenches to get the water away from the pool supports. Such fun. (not!) :)  We didn’t get snow like many other mountain areas did, though, and that’s a bit of a shame. Would have like to have seen a bit of the wet white stuff (it would have made a nice change from the rain!)

Writing news–well, I continue to struggle on with Mercy. Thanks to Chris (a fellow lulu), I now know the problem I’ve been having with this book. There’s no McGuffin. There’s nothing vital for the characters to lose. Which is, of course, a major problem. I now have said McGuffin (it was in the book all the time, I just didn’t take it that one step further) , but it’s going to take a major rewrite to fix it and I am not going to do that now. My aim at the moment is to just get this book finished so I can start the next Riley. I’ve finally rolled over the 300 page mark on Mercy, and I have maybe another 60 or so pages to go. Which means it’ll end up being short, but I already know of two scenes I have to add, plus there’s the rewrite to fix the McGuffin problem. So, hopefully, it’ll push up closer to the 400 page mark by the time I’ve totally finished. Although right now, this book is uncontracted, so it doesn’t really matter anyway.

As for Riley, I still have no idea how to actually start this one. I think I’m just going to have to sit down and let the muse ramble on until we hit an idea that sticks. I have the rest of the story ready to go–it’s just the darn beginning that’s causing problems. Which is odd, because in every other book, it’s been the other way around!

Oh, and keep an eye on my website, because I’ll be putting up a new contest soon–this one featuring an ARC of Destiny Kills :)

I got flowers...

My lovely editor (Anne) sent me flowers for making the NY Times list :) Here’s the pics:

  

the first pic is just after they’d arrived, the second pic is a few days later, with the flowers coming out. Pretty, aren’t they?

And while we’re doing pics, here’s the cover for Chasing the Shadows, the third book in the Nikki and Michael series, which is being released by Piatkus in December:

and it’s another great cover, I think :)

I’ve also been slack in announcing this week’s contest winner, so without further delay, the winner of Rachel Vincent’s Stray (as well as a signed copy of Lifemate Connections from me) is Tamara Brandon–congrats Tamara! Your books will be posted today :)

Onto some writing news–Mercy continues slowly. The hero is still proving problematic in this one. The bugger keeps smiling! Which doesn’t seem such a bad thing, except he’s supposed to be all dark and moody and he isn’t. Not sure what I’m going to do with this man (although the heroine does know what she wants to do with him! lol) but right now, I’m just writing the book and I’ll fix all those annoying smiley bits later.

Mercy Burns progress meter:

trundling on...

I’m continuing to write in fits and spurts, but I am slowly getting there. I didn’t write yesterday or today, but I got seven pages done on Thursday, which wasn’t a bad effort. I’m really enjoying the characters in Mercy–and the story is starting to roll along. Although there is one section where I was thinking ‘God, this is boring! Get it moving woman!’, but at least I can fix that up later. Words on paper is the most important thing in a first draft. Once I’ve gotten to the end, and know the characters and the story, I can go back and fix all the horrible bits.  I’m hoping to get some writing done tomorrow, although I have a heap of roses that need to be planted out tomorrow as well (it’s always a dangerous thing when I discover a nursery, let alone one that specializes in award winning roses :) )

One good thing though–I have the majority of my Christmas shopping done. Yay me! I just have to get a few more things for Kasey, something for Pete, and then I’m done. No last minute shopping for me this year. But there is going to be some baking–I said I’d do a gingerbread house for a Kris Kringle, so now I have to do it. I used to make tons of them when I worked as a cook at Essendon, but I haven’t done them since. If it turns out, I’ll post a pic :)

Mercy Burns Progress meter