May The Fourth Be With You

Welcome back!

I’ve been getting emails about new followers, so if this is your first Coffee With Dragons post, welcome and I hope you visit often.

While I haven’t been posting, I have been writing and doing writing-related things. I’m still wrestling with the dragon rider stories, but I think I might actually have a handle on what I need to do with them. I’m in the process of working on book one, which I’m calling Dawn Before the Dark. That may or may not be the official title. It depends on whether I get it in with a publisher or go indy. In case you’re curious, book two is currently called Awakening, and book three will be Red Sky In Mourning. That’s if everything goes the way I think it will, for which there is no guarantee.

I have written a few short stories this year also, and I’ll have big news soon about an anthology my writing group is releasing. I can’t say much about it right now, but if you’ve read any of the Blackbirds Flights books, this isn’t the same. Blackbirds encouraged dark entertainment. We tried to keep the new one light, and there are some features not included in previous books. There are also a couple authors who are not in the Blackbirds books. That’s all you get until the official launch!

It was a cold, gloomy winter here, and we are just now getting into spring. Usually I can tell when we turn the corner between seasons. This year, I thought that three times. The snow shovel and ice are officially in the garage, though, and the piazza is starting to come back to life. The weeds are for sure. I’ve weeded twice this week, and I didn’t get them all.

That’s more or less what’s been happening here. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but between the day job and the house, I’ve stayed out of trouble. When trouble pokes its head around the corner, I grab it and shove it into a story. I should have new things for you to read soon.

Discombobulated

Mom called the other day. She needed the web address to my blog because she hadn’t been getting updates. I had to tell her it was me, not her computer.

I realized the other day that I’m dealing with midlife by stretching my comfort zone. Here’s what I’ve been up to lately:

– I’m trying (and re-trying) different forms of exercise. I’ve learned that I still don’t like running, even if it appears to be good for me. Swimming is fine, but I have to remember to push myself. It’s too easy to get into a groove and let my mind wander. Fencing is a lot of fun, but I’ve only just gotten into it.

– I’ve started to learn Gaelic. It’s harder than it looks.

– I’m reading a lot of Celtic fairy tales to build up my story bank while I look for research material to do a series of stories on warrior queens. I’ve haunted the stacks of two different libraries, and I have two more on my radar in my quest for stories and information on Maeve of Connaught and Maccha. I’ve also been assigned Scottish History in general, and the Clan Campbell history specifically, by my bardic mentor. Now that we’re past the first year and I haven’t run screaming for the hills, he’s getting a little more serious about his assignments.

– Writing. Sort of. I got a great rejection from the agent I pitched to in August (you’ve probably seen that on Facebook), and while it was very helpful, it broke my stride. “King Or Country” is a big, steaming mess right now. It’s one-dimensional, the ending is abrupt, and I have no symbols or metaphors, not to mention everyone–Scottish, English or otherwise–sounds the same. I have to edit all of that. It’s hard to keep the big picture in view while writing characters so individual that there is never a doubt as to who is speaking. Fiction is a tough gig, y’all, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In addition to fixing that train wreck, I have a collection of short stories percolating to be written in November. My hope is to get several done that tie together but can stand alone. When they’re done I’ll send them off into the world (to magazine/e-zines) to earn their keep. Oh, yeah, and I have a couple more novels waiting in the wings. I just have to figure out what I’m doing so I can plot them.

– House stuff. The kids have moved out, and it looks as though Alex has spent his last summer at home, at least if he has his way. We have the green light to do what we want with any room in the house, so we’re fixing up and clearing out, generally making the house “ours,” if that makes any sense at all! I’ve even had to relearn to cook for two. Several times, Vicky has popped in unexpectedly, only to be sent home with enough left-overs to feed herself and her roommates. It’s been an adjustment to streamline our life as a couple again, and sometimes it feels wrong to make plans (even for dinner) without including the kids, but we’re getting through it. I have to keep reminding myself that we had kids young so we could enjoy life after they left!

The result of that detritus is that I’m pecking away at everything and not much is getting done, not the least of which is blogging. In short, I’m overwhelmed. This all started, I think, last February when I went to the Deep Thinkers retreat. I learned so much about writing that I started up a learning curve that’s been like Pike’s Peak, only I keep picking up stuff along the way. The metaphor makes sense if you know me and my propensity to be bass-ackwards. I’m picking up stuff going up instead of rolling down.

It’s funny, when my job ended I was looking forward to having free time. Not working has turned out to be stressful and exhausting! Just know that my long silences are because I’m working on something and I will be back. I’ll try to get back to a regular schedule, but honestly, at this point in my life, I’m not sure that even exists. As always, I’m open to suggestions.