Whew! Almost Done!

The (hopefully) final draft is now back in my eldest hands for review and macro edits. Basically, I’ve asked her to make sure that the story is complete and that the chapters make sense in the order I’ve placed them in.

From first edit to this “final” edit, five new chapters were added, along with an additional 13,000 words.

This one has been a tough one, and I’m sincerely hoping it is done. However, I don’t have the perspective, I’m deep in those proverbial trees, so I’m hoping my eldest will see any holes that need filling and point them out for me.

It’s time to start designing the cover art and plan what I’m going to write next.

The Jeff Mizanskey Story?

Chronicles of Liv Rowan – The Glass Forest?

Quit Your Job: Change Your Life?

Historically speaking, to date I’ve alternated between non-fiction and fiction books. I would LOVE to sit down with Jeff Mizanskey and start on a book with him. That would be a fascinating project. For those not familiar with the name, Jeff Mizanskey was incarcerated for over 20 years, given a life sentence with no possibility for parole under the habitual offender law for marijuana possession. Thanks to Show-Me Cannabis, lawyer Dan Viets, Amber Langston, and others’ tireless efforts his sentence was changed to include the possibility of parole and he was released less than two months later.

Jeff is standing by his promise to be an advocate for cannabis reform and has been traveling and speaking in support of it ever since his September release. His experiences in prison and his stance on cannabis reform as well as prison reform would be an excellent book to release now with legislation for marijuana reform in Missouri and other states this year.

Decisions, decisions, decisions!

Progress – Almost Book Like in Appearance

Something odd is happening in the past three nights – I’ve actually had deep, refreshing sleep void of pain or restlessness. It’s been amazing! I guess you don’t know you are missing something until you get it again. I haven’t slept this well in months. And it is certainly helping with the writing, especially yesterday and hopefully again today.

I’m getting excited. I want to talk about the details, but more than that, I want it to be complete so I can start with the final edits and then get it out there so folks can read it. I really think a lot of people are going to like it.

Writing Those Science-y Details

My youngest nephew is brilliant, he’s 20 or so now, smarter than most, and certainly a far sight brighter than I am. I queried him the other day about light spectrums and such. As I explained to him, “Sure science fiction is fiction, but that doesn’t mean I can just make anything up. I figure there are a handful of jumps you can make, and then the rest has to be realistic. At some points you have to follow the rules of science, otherwise it’s fantasy, not science fiction.

Despite reading science fiction for years, I have found writing those science-y details a little intimidating. But I’m working on that, powering through, if you will.

Pushing That Word Count Up There

I believe I wrote in excess of 6,000 words yesterday. I may have miscounted, because the number (at least for me) seems overly large, but I did spend they entire day writing. This brought me up from the thin, anemic 74k it was before I began yesterday morning to over 80,000 by the end of the two chapters – Mr. President and Mars Needs Moms.

I typically shoot for a novel that has at least 80,000 words – in other words it isn’t a novella, but it also isn’t an epic tome.

And in case this brings visions of me typing a word and then checking the word count, let me put you at ease. It doesn’t work like that. I write until the story is done – having a goal for the word count is simply for my benefit.

Yesterday was lovely. I spent hours writing, crafting details and small glimpses into this world I am creating, adding richness to the universe of stories I will write in again, and it all flowed out of me peacefully and without difficulty. That’s the way I want the writing to come.

It always surprises me, too, where the story turns or banks. When I sat down to write the chapter Mars Needs Moms, it was titled Supply Shortage and was supposed to be about the colonists in the throes of the virus, desperate for more food. Instead it turned into a story about a young woman who was badly damaged by oxygen deprivation as a child, her younger half brother, and a stranger from one of the other Habs in the colony – the only three left after the rest of the colony succumbed to the virus.

Writing is fascinating to me – a sort of magic in how it springs forth from my mind, often far different from how I originally envisioned it.

The Tunes Help

What do you call a former stepson who you think of as the son you never had? I’m not sure, and I still hover between calling him “Bill, my son” to “Bill, my former stepson” – sometimes there are no good titles – especially for those keepers in your life.

I remember when Bill first picked up this guitar I had – and had never played – and began playing it obsessively. Pretty soon he was carrying it around, tied to his back with a cord. Fast forward fifteen years and I have this to listen to as I write. Pretty cool, and not distracting for me. I love listening to music, but the vocals distract me from my writing.

Writing, Marketing – Rinse and Repeat

I’ll keep reading the books on marketing and keep trying new ideas, but I’ve settled on this concept for now:

  • Every day I need to write
  • Every day I need to market my writing

How that marketing looks depends on my interest, willingness and knowledge, but I’ll never be the hard sell gal. I can’t stand it directed towards me, and I refuse to direct it towards others. I realize that there are more fish in the sea than ever, and that everyone is inundated with distractions, so my voice will often be lost in the din.

That’s fine, I’ll keep working at it.

Forget Eats Shoots and Leaves

I have found THE ONE and she isn’t in a book.

Forget Eats, Shoots and Leaves.

Forget those evil Warriner’s English Grammar and Composition books from my high school days. [I stop to glare at my bookshelf where four of them are gathering dust on my bookshelves]

Forget all of them.

I have found the answer to my grammar questions, and her name is…

Comma Queen

I think I’m in love.

I started with seeing her definitions and suggested usage of hyphen, n-dash, and m-dash and it completely made sense. LOVED it.

Don’t get me started on how often I overuse ellipses.

Ooh, yeah, no more.

I’m learning.

Go Comma Queen! I LOVE YOU!

Fighting Those Demons

I wonder what it would be like, what it would look like, to be confident and secure, inside and out at all times. I doubt I will ever know.


A few months ago I was interviewed for a new podcast, Unblocked, and was Charlie’s first interview. I just spent the last 30 minutes listening to it again. Charlie reminded me of it when she posted on Facebook, full of angst and self-doubt and it reminded me of how hard everything can seem at times – especially when it is your own personal creation.

It isn’t easy, whether it is a book, sewing a quilt, teaching a class, painting a picture, et cetera. You can see every mistake, remember every misstep, with keen vision.

But guess what? Just because you see it, doesn’t mean that others do.

It Isn’t Shit, it Just Needs More Detail

I mentioned it in the interview with Charlie, at some point in the book writing process I find myself reading to claw my way out of my own skin. It feels overwhelming, it feels stilted, it feels like unbridled shit.

It isn’t that my writing is bad, it is that I need a break, desperately.

Recently I handed over my Gliese 581 manuscript to my daughter for editing. It took a few weeks, and as the days wore on, I became more and more convinced.

“It’s absolute shit, isn’t it?” I asked her. She didn’t answer and I was sure I had done horribly, awfully, and wasted untold hundreds of hours.

Before she left for a short trip to New York, she gave me the edits to go through. Enough time had passed that I found myself drawn into the story – yes, it needed more – more details, more individual stories – but it wasn’t shit.

I think that these moments will never really leave me. They might occur in less frequency over time, as I continue to develop and grow my craft, but I doubt they will ever go away entirely. I’m probably in very good company. I seem to recall that even now, Stephen King will give a story to his wife, Tabitha, and watch her closely as she reads it. You know, in that needy way. Perhaps it is this way for everyone, who knows?

Gliese 581 Update

I’m actually pretty excited right now. After going through the edits and discussing the book at length, I’m adding in at least five chapters (that might sound like a lot, but I think there are already 25-30 chapters in there. They are pretty short chapters.), along with some more character development and individual character stories throughout the book. Yes, it means that I won’t be done, not for a few weeks at least, but it will mean a stronger, fully developed story will be created. Right now I’m at about 74k words, which should put me in the low to mid 80k range by the time I’m done.

It will take a couple more edits and a full read-aloud in order to weed out as many grammatical errors as possible. I would love to say it will be done this month and available by February 1st at the latest. We will see, however!

It is looking good and I’m feeling loads better about it. I can’t wait to share it with you!