Monthly Archives: March 2015

Out of the Mouths of Babes

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The Girl just spent her allowance pumping quarters into one of those silly machines at the mall trying to get a complete collection of one-inch plastic Adventure Time figures. She failed. She still doesn’t have the Ice King. She has a lot of little hard to open plastic containers to comfort her in her failure, and extra figures to give to her friends at school (why high school students need small plastic figures from a cartoon I have no idea) but it isn’t enough.

She knew, somehow, that I just didn’t understand how great these little bits of plastic were, so she brought some in to show me. She set up a tiny Jake (the dog) on my computer, and he promptly fell over because he was molded at an angle where physics simply wouldn’t allow him to remain upright. That’s fine, a bit of Plasti-Tac on the base can compensate for that. Also, his eyes weren’t white, they were grayish. The girl licked a finger and tried to clean them. She was careful not to lick the same finger on round two.

“Lead-based paint,” she explained.

Good girl, she understands where her tiny treasures were made. I reminded her that we have white nail polish if she wanted to fix Jake’s eyes, or someone at school might have white-out. Even white paint might be obtained. She acknowledged the plan as sound and stopped licking fingers in an attempt to fix the problem.

I have not, however, agreed that these things are the greatest thing ever and this disturbed her. She went and got more. Soon my computer keyboard was covered with little figurines falling over in an attempt to look … cute, I think. I’m not sure. I’m not into Adventure Time in the first place so that could be where the problem is rooted.

Hubby came in and was appropriately excited to view her finds. He’s usually the one who sits and watches that ridiculous show with her. It’s their thing, I’ll let them have it. They somehow wandered off topic from Adventure Time to school, to Interstellar (the movie and that line where they invented something new every day – it was amazing), to it really seemed you could find almost anything in this country. Case in point: inch-high badly-painted Adventure Time figurines that don’t stand up. The Girl gathered her herd of small toys and smiled.

“Isn’t America great?”

“Yes. Especially the bits made in China,” I replied.

“Mom, that’s most of it,” she said with an exasperated huff and walked off.

Out of the mouths of babes. Yikes.

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There’s Something Wrong With Me …

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There is something wrong with me. I’m writing a book – that’s not news, it’s what I do – and finishing The Thousand Words Series. Fine. And I have the prequel/sequel to The Lexi Frost Series partially finished and the unfinished bit roughly outlined. Okay. So why take time to reach into the future to (peacefully) write the death of a character that doesn’t matter anymore? I did that the other night.

I don’t know what’s worse, that I’m killing off characters again, or that I’m wasting time writing a scene that will never be used. Probably. If there was a purpose, I wouldn’t mind. Like if I was really mad, and someone had to die, then it’s a good thing it was a fictional character and his death was not in vain. But I wasn’t mad. There was no reason he had to die. And I will most likely never use that scene anyway. So what was the point?

All right, I was irritable. I haven’t been blazing through this book(#4) lately like I wanted to since I got notes back from my editor on the next book(#3) in the series, which still doesn’t have a title. That irritates me too. That working title for the genie-Lexi Frost crossover, Desperate Wishes, may end up being the actual title simply because I’m title-stunted lately. I don’t have a title for the one I’m working on either(#4). Or at least not one I like. Would you believe I actually submitted the book to my editor under the name Waiting For A Title with the proposed cover work and everything? I got a note back that I should think of a different title because that one didn’t really fit the book. Um…yeah. I got a lot of other notes back too. More than I have in a long time. That didn’t make my day, but that was a week ago, and that book barely had the doomed character in it. And no notes about said doomed character. Nothing to incur my wrath or even attract my attention. This poor schmuck is just flying under the radar and whack! – a lesson in the pen is mightier than the – whatever. There are no swords in this series. Yet. I may add one now just for the hell of it.

No, I’m not going to tell you who dies, and no, it’s not included in the next book. It’s not his time.

And it’s not about him dying anyway, it’s more about the after-effects. His death sets off a chain reaction that turned out to be … unexpected. Wow. I don’t know why, I created these characters. Anything they do is just a consequence of actions I made them take before or personality strengths/quirks/flaws that I gave them. In theory nothing that they do – whether I plan it consciously or not – should be a surprise. I know them better than Hubby or my kids. In theory.

*Hand twitches toward phone to call therapist, who will probably giggle. Upon that realization, hand stops.*

So why exactly did this one (minor) death cause a couple of other characters to start spinning out of control? I would say god only knows, but hello, I wrote this mess. I hate to go tromping on theology here, but I’m their personal god. That’s a lot of responsibility and, I should say, I’m not taking it well. Chalk it up to free will and be done with it? In life, sure. In literature, I’m not sure I can get away with that.

*Eyes phone. Reconsiders calling therapist. No.*

Some of you are probably wondering if I am, in fact, crazy as a caffeine-infused lemur. I’m talking about my characters as if they’re real and have their own will. Some of you are writers who have experienced something like this (perhaps not quite to this extent) yourself. To those who are slowly backing away shaking their heads and muttering exorcism incantations, let me explain:

No, I’m not nuts, and I’m not possessed. To many writers, characters are very real. Not that we talk to them or set a place at the table or anything. We know they’re part of us. But they’re like a good friend who moved away. Unseen but not forgotten. If we were children, they’d be imaginary friends, I’m sure.

To me, it’s sort of like watching my own private miniseries, except I only get bits at a time. Really long commercial breaks, I suppose you could say. I don’t get to talk to my characters or interact with them, so kids with imaginary friends score one over me. I watch my characters’ lives and dramas unfold, and I write some of it down. Some I edit or even embellish, some I don’t need to because they’re pretty good at getting into trouble on their own.

While I know a part of my own mind created these characters, it’s still a surprise what they do sometimes. When I don’t like where they’re headed and I try to direct the story another way, I find things usually don’t turn out well. That’s not how the story goes, so … it’s their way or not at all. (Note on that: in revisions, however, I can take whole scenes and even chapters and change it around because it’s already been written and decided, as long as the outcome remains the same. I can’t change major players, for example. If someone’s dead, they’re dead. There are simply no lines/actions left for them so writing in a great doctor and last minute save doesn’t do any good. Yes, I’ve tried something like that before.)

*Hand twitches toward phone again.*

I need to stop dwelling on this before someone else dies. I just imagined someone being bitten on the ass by a rattlesnake. This is getting ridiculous. Mostly because it was Jess I imagined being bitten when it’s more believable for it to be Dev (if you know what I do, which you will shortly). See? I’m out of control here. Whatever, never mind, I’m not writing it.

*Throws hands in the air, then reaches for phone.*

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No More Snow! (Says The Cat)

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The cat is beyond pissed. It started last night, and I should preface this by the admission that this is her house. If it wasn’t already clear to anyone who can read between the lines, Darth Jingles may be officially the family pet to those who give the household a cursory glance, but she’s the one in control.

Last night we had a wind advisory with just a little bit of moisture. A little moisture, it barely qualified as rain. Sort of a heavy fog. The Boy tried repeatedly to get her to come inside, as did The Girl. When she finally did agree to come in, she gave a series of plaintive, pathetic meows until The Girl scooped her up, wrapped her in one of my soft towels, and began a fluff and dry routine that would make any hair dresser proud. The second towel was solely for bundling purposes, which Jingles approved of.

The Girl carried her around, fawning over her and telling her she was warm and safe now and similar niceties, then gave the bundle ‘o cat to me to baby. I didn’t fare as well. Previously mentioned bundle decided I was not giving her the appropriate level of devotion, and took off. Apparently scratching her behind the ears wasn’t enough.

Fine, so she retreated to her giant kitty bed. To the layman, this might be mistaken for a beanbag – one of those really big ones. As kitten, Jingles couldn’t even climb up on the thing, now it his hers. So she jumped up there, circled to make sure everything was as it should be (ie The Boy hadn’t left wrappers or anything on it and any pillows were out of the way) and settled down in the middle. The exact middle. She won’t move for anyone, sharing is not encouraged and if you try, she’ll either attack you (most likely the outcome) or leave (and give you the cold shoulder later).

That was yesterday. Today, Jingles went out this morning as usual. The forecast showed 1% chance of snow, but there was an advisory in the mountains. We’re not in the mountains, so not an issue. Yeah. We have six inches of fluffy white snow and it’s still coming down. I also have a cat (now dry) stalking through the house with the demeanor of a caged tiger. Panther – a caged panther. She’s so mad.

I opened the blinds in my room because she loves being able to see out from that high vantage point, and that helped a little bit. Dry, warm, can still see – the problem is she can still see snow. Poor sweetums got used to it being spring, when technically it isn’t. We had one snowfall back in December, then nothing to speak of since. She got used to heavy frosts here and there, maybe an inch that was gone by mid-afternoon, but not real snow. This just hasn’t been winter like humans think of it, and she was fine with that in her little feline mind. Someone changed the rules and forgot to consult my cat.

I’m not happy with it, I’ve sort of gotten used to it being warmer too, but I was worried about the lack of a snow pack in the mountains and what that was going to mean for the people relying on the meltwater later in the year. Silly me. This will be good for the farmers. Not so much maybe for the buds on my fruit trees, but we’ll see.

I’m sort of curious about how a 1% chance of snow became several inches in just a couple of hours. I thought the weather service was better than that. It wasn’t just for today either, there was 1-0% chance of precipitation all week at 6am. It’s still showing nothing for the next two days, and it’s up to an 80% chance for today. Huh. I know how it works, but I still have to laugh when I look at that 80% chance of snow, and then look out the window at the big fluffy flakes coming down right now. I want to drink hot chocolate and watch a Doctor Who Christmas Special. (And the cat walks away in disgust.)

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