The End of My Lazy Summer

  • Note: There’s news coming! For the wonderful readers who have regularly, over the years since certain books came out, written me about them, I’ll have an announcement soon! But now, I have to turn in my “summer excuse.”

So as my last post–over a month ago–indicated, we had a rare summer for the Pacific Northwest. Lots of warm and sunny. Sometimes a bit too much warm for me. All I can say is heat pumps are the best invention ever. Well, after air conditioning in general, I suppose. Anyway, I never played hooky from school (what can I say, I was an angel–a terrified angel, but that’s another story) but I did from the blog. But it was 48 degrees this morning, the flag is whipping in 30mph winds, and I have steady rain. Yep, fall’s definitely here.

Spring is long over, according to my apple tree, which used to look like this:

apple blossoms 2012

And this little guy is bigger now…

fawn

…although mom is still close by, if a bit itchy.

itchy deer

And now summer is gone as well, along with some of the odder cloud formations, blue skies giving way to perpetual gray.

wedge cloud crop

The big question every year around here (well, at my house anyway) is will we be looking at this sometime soon?

Snow11 1-12

Most winters, when we get snow, it’s the perfect amount for me. Enough to say “Oh, snow, I can’t get up my driveway, guess I’ll build up the fire, fix a chai latte, curl up and read a book.” Or “Oh, gee, I guess I’d better finish knitting that sweater, I’m going to need it!” I love those days. But then, I’ve never lived anywhere that regularly gets snow several feet deep, which I’m sure colors my perception. They say it’s a “neutral” year so far, meaning no “El Nino” or “La Nina.” (apologies to the non-weather geeks/non-Pacific Ocean folks–they are Pacific Ocean conditions that greatly affect weather) Which would normally mean probably not this kind of snow. But then again, we had almost no snow last winter, and we very rarely have two back-to-back no or low snow years.

In other words, no clue. Yet, anyway. But my playing hooky is over, the blog is back, that news will be forthcoming, and lots of other things!

 

 

 

 

 

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There Will Be Tomatoes

Why is my deck wet and what is that stuff falling from the sky?

It’s raining. In Seattle. Perhaps the very definition of “That’s hardly news!” But this year, it is. You see, up until it started late yesterday, it had been 82 days since we last had more than the barest measurable rain. And I love the rain. I missed it. Then, in the space of a few days we went from 70-80 degree days to 50s or 60s, and dropping low into the 40s at night. And my green, green view from my porch is now looking like this:

Weren’t they all green just yesterday??

If you just arrived here today, when it’s cold, wet, and windy, you’d swear it could be a winter day. It wouldn’t be the first time we skipped an entire season;  a couple of years ago winter lasted until June and we jumped straight into summer, skipping spring altogether. It can be…disconcerting. At least, it is for me. The wind is howling, rain hitting the windows, there’s a chill in the air and I’m thinking of building a fire, and yet….

And yet this morning I picked these:

Hard to believe these were once considered unfit to eat or poisonous–and tell me all you want it’s a fruit, to me it’s a veggie and one of the few I love. Don’t pop my bubble!

And then, so inspired, I trekked up to my apple tree and cleared one branch of apples.

Yes, I said ONE branch!

So you can see why I’m having trouble with the idea of winter suddenly being here. (then again, some sunny days in October aren’t that unusual, so who knows?) I fully realize that the reason I’m drowning in tomatoes and apples likely is that lovely 82 day dry, warm, and sunny streak. It certainly isn’t because of me; the tomato plants are lucky if I remember to water them, and I feed them once, after planting. The apple tree I ignore altogether, except to prune away crossed branches sometime in January. And then, only the ones I can reach. Still, every third or fourth year, it goes insane and every branch ends up like this:

At least the deer won’t have far to reach

So, what does this have to do with anything? It struck me that this sort of confused, sudden transition instead of the usual gradual one is somewhat like finishing a book. My writing routine is so ingrained, half the time I’m up and at the computer before I remember I’m not in the middle of a story at the moment. Like the plants that got used to the sun and now are suddenly looking at rain and cold, I’m in a startled kind of in between. Yes, there’s another story on the way, the synopsis already on the way to my editor. But in between now and starting that book, there’s that unsettled period. I’ll knit, of course, that’s a given. The rest of the time I could fritter away playing computer games or catching up on movies I’ve recorded. I should use it to finish cleaning out my garage before new doors finally come (a sad story I won’t go into here). But somehow I think I’ll be taking out some of those odd little bits and pieces of stories I accumulate when I’m in the middle of a contracted book. Things that call to me enough that I know I have to write the bits down or they won’t leave me alone. Things that may become books of their own, be woven into books already planned, or become a part of a story as yet unformed.

The only thing I can be sure of is, as long as the seasons keep coming, there will be tomatoes. And apples.

And stories. Thankfully for me, that’s not news. That’s life, for a storyteller.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finished the Book, Now Where’s the Bulldozer?

I finished a book this week. The second Cutter’s Code installment. What does this mean? First and foremost for me, it means post book crash. That’s why I’m writing this now, before it hits. Today, a rare warm, sunny October day in the Pacific Northwest, I shall be taking myself outside as soon as this post is finished, to enjoy it before the rain begins. I’m not complaining, mind you, I love it here, and I adore the rain, but days like this are special.

But I digress. There’s another major project that has to come between the end of one book and the start of the next. And that is….my office. I am not the tidiest of writers. In my old, much smaller office, my beloved DH used to try to navigate through the piles on the floor with a pained expression, to which I responded, “There aren’t too many piles, your feet are just too big!” I need, either in actuality or in my mind, everything close at hand. Notes, reference books, scene lists, 753 post-it notes, and in this case, since Cutter is a series, a much-marked copy of the first book, and the bible for the series. The bible, if you don’t know, is a notebook full of all the details on all the stories and characters for all the books…this is something I haven’t done on my two previous series, Redstone, Inc. and Trinity West. (boy that’s going back a ways!) I can already see how much easier my life would have been if I had.

But again I digress. Why? Because I’m putting off that task of bringing in the figurative bulldozer and cleaning up this mess! So in the interest of procrastination, and because I often get asked about how and where I work, I thought I’d give you a tour of the disaster area.

First, an overview:

You thought I was kidding about the bulldozer? And this is just the desk.

Many of the things here are common to many offices, computer, printers, phone, lamp. But then there’s my office knitting. Yes, I said office knitting. Something relatively mindless that I can work on while reading, waiting for downloads, or that most hated of chores, talking on the phone. In this case, it’s a dish towel in a stitch pattern I wanted to try, shown here lying atop a pile of contracts I need to sort through:

What do you mean, not everybody has knitting handy in their office?? And no, I haven’t accidentally knitted that video cable into it. Yet.

Directly in front of me are the most crucial things. First book in the series for constant reference, hence the post-its. Index cards that are the bones of the original synopsis. Scene list. Knitting pattern in case I forget where I am after having lived in another world for a while. All the things I mentioned before, plus one very important reminder.

Good thing this book is seven months old, or I could be accused of blatant product placement!

The reminder is this:

What can I say, it appealed to my warped sense of humor.

I bought this stone originally as a gift for a friend who used the phrase often. But before I could present it circumstances changed and it was no longer applicable. But one day I realized this was something I, as a writer needed to be reminded of: the value of editing, changing, cutting and rewriting. Indeed, nothing is etched in stone except those words.

And lastly, a gift from one of the best editors in the business, full of truth and wry humor:

Why are those hallways so darned long??

Now, before I get stuck in the very long hallway of cleaning up this mess, since I don’t have that bulldozer, I’m going to go sit in the sun for a while. Maybe that’s my door opening, for now. Rain will be here soon enough.