Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Been a While, Hasn't It?

Another of my friends recently posted after a long absence, and it made me think about this blog and that I haven't said anything here in a long while. Nine months. Heh. I could have had a kid in that time.

Well, not had one, per sé, but...well, you get my point. Nine months is a long time.

So, golly. What has changed?

Well, I've got two cats again. Both of my maternal grandparents died last year. Nanny in March and Granddaddy in December. I promised Granddaddy that I would look after his cats. Now, what he meant by this and what I meant by this may not have entirely matched up, but...lemme 'splain.

Nanny and Granddaddy had three cats: Tiny, Lucy, and Matt. Tiny was an ornery beast who liked Granddaddy and only Granddaddy. His idea of "affection" was to reach up and poke his claws through your skin to get your attention, then demand food.

Lucy was Nanny's cat, for the most part. She only has three legs after she lost an argument many years back with either a car or a dog; I don't remember which.

Matt was the odd man out. He's a gigantic orange beast with vision and hearing problems. At least we think this is true. He could just be ignoring us. Like a teenager, only with fur and claws and fangs. Bad metaphor similie, but I went with it anyway.

After Nanny became wheelchair-bound, Lucy became sort of neglected, and she and Matt were mostly just there. They came in for food and stayed outside for most of the rest of the time.

When I promised Granddaddy I'd take care of his cats, I meant Lucy and Matt, not Tiny. Tiny was a fairly loathesome little beast. We did eventually find someone who was willing to take him, but he unfortunately died before that could happen.

Then, on the weekend of July 4th, I brought home Matt and Lucy.

I won Lucy over very quickly. It took her a couple of days to come out from under the chair she found immediately upon entering my house, but when she did, I caught her, picked her up, ignored the growls and the claws, and gave the right side of her head and neck a thorough scratching.

It's her right hind leg that's missing. And she can't scratch over there. After about two head-scratching sessions, she was mine. :)

Matt...well, he's been a bit harder to win over. He doesn't like change, you see. Like, you know...people coming into my house. Or me moving furniture around. Or noises that might mean people might be thinking about possibly coming into my house, at some point. You get the idea.

We'll see how it pans out. They're both 16, and resistant to change.

What else?

Oh, yes. Atlanta had a torrential downpour of nearly biblical proportions in mid-September. It was bad enough that it leaked into my house in five places, causing ceiling damage.

I dealt with insurance and a roofing company and all that's been fixed, now. And simultaneously with the roof repairs, I've been refinancing my mortgage. The rates dropped into the 4.5% range, and I couldn't pass that up. I'm waiting on a fax now that will be one of the last three steps toward finalizing that. Closing day is December 3rd.

Hmmm. Oh, yeah. One of my friends who is one of those people who can just "do things" offered to help me with some tasks that needed doing around my house. Like installing new garage-door openers and finally getting that home theater set up in my living room. (Hey, it's only been 8 years!) It's been over a year since I could park my car in my garage. I'd almost forgotten how to maneuver my Element through the opening. :)

Oooh! And I got a new laptop! I decided at some point that I needed a machine I could use to write on that had a battery that wouldn't die in less than two hours. I have some friends who are Mac people...and one of my other friends who was a die-hard Windows person got a Mac...and it pushed me over the edge. I got a Macbook Pro. A 17", glossy-screened one.

And I bought Scrivener, which is lovely software for writers.

Speaking of writing, I've been writing a lot. Some time back in the summer, I was frustrated with the story I was writing. Sometimes, what you need to do when you're stuck is just change what you're writing. So I started to do a little something I call "The First Sentence Exercise." You come up with first sentences to stories you may or may not write. The goal of the exercise is to grease the wheels of creativity. I used to do it daily, but I stopped.

I wrote down: The fire had burned with an unnatural speed and intensity. Looking at it, I thought, "Hey, I kind of like that." I tried a second sentence: It was a mystery and <some name> lived for mysteries." I then heard someone say "...die in a fire..." and the plot popped into my head.

I kept writing. And writing. And then I realized that the protagonist of the story was a character I'd already developed for another story into which he didn't fit. But he fit into this one. So I changed <some name> into Nick Damon.

Somewhere in my head, a bell rang.

I've now written some 31,000 words on that story, which started out as Necromancer and then became Perdition's Flames. And it's no longer a story but a novel.

It's also a murder mystery that I started writing not knowing who the killer was or why he was killing people. Nuts? Why yes, I believe I will have some. Oh. You meant me. Oh.

My Tuesday Night Writing Group seems to be enjoying it, and they are helping me tweak it to get some of the details more...detail-y.

Then November was approaching and I needed a project for National Novel-Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as we call it. I "won" last year (which means I wrote 50,000+ words in 30 days), so I wanted to see if I could do it again. But...what to write? I was already 31,000 words into Perdition's Flames.

I could continue the novel I started last year. I had lots of ideas, but nothing would gel.

Or...or I could write the second novel that comes after Perdition's Flames. The ideas flowed easily, and before I knew it, I was penning the first scene of Death Scene.

By midnight, tonight, I will be approximately 30,000 words into it. This means I will have written two novels approximately halfway through. Simultaneously. Bananas? Sure, I like--wait a minute. I'm onto you, now.

It would seem I might have found my genre. I've tried sci-fi, epic fantasy, horror, humor, and dark fantasy. But these two are both "urban fantasy."

Like Jim Butcher, only, like totally different. His series takes place in an alternate Chicago where magic is real. Mine, on the other hand, takes place in an alternate Atlanta where magic is real.

Totally different, I assure you. Totally.

And that's really about it. I haven't updated the blog in a while because I didn't have anything all that important to say. And I still don't. But I hate to see abandoned blogs. :)