May 28, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

I'm spending tonight and tomorrow night communing with stars, nature and Yeti. This afternoon is the annual packing up of the telescope. The road up the mountain is so rough, I lock it in the belly of the dome for the summer. Otherwise I fear it coming home one night in pieces. Better one trip there end of May and then one trip back end of September.

Full Moon and moody skies does not bode a promising night of astronomizing. It's chilly here, too. So, I'm going to freeze, too.

Happy weekend to you all! See yas on Tuesday. :D

May 27, 2010

Absurdity and Writing on the Go

It is amazing to me big business manages to make any money. I suppose the only thing that saves them is we, the consumers, often have no other choice. For some reason, we're supposed to fight to protect this absurdity as some sort of freedom. Are they kidding? We live science fiction. Honest. It's warped.

What brings this about? Last night, I purchased a netbook, which I am very thrilled to have. It means I can keep working through my vacation and keep working up at PMO during down times. I can write on the go.

Husband being the tech geek he is insisted they double the ram and wanted a Windows upgrade. This is where the absurdity comes in. We were trying to purchase the upgrade from MS online. It kept refusing the sale. We ended up having to call MS.

We spent 20 minutes talking to the rep because UPS lists our address different. WTF? I finally just burst out laughing. It was the most absurd conversation ever. What does it matter how UPS has our address? How the bank has the address so the billing goes through is more important. It's not like they were shipping us anything. The upgrade, the transaction, everything was online.

It was so stupid. Why is MS so married to what UPS lists as addresses? What does it matter? If you want someone's money, the address has to match what the bank issuing that card has. Otherwise the charge doesn't go through. Everyone knows that who shops online at all. Everyone but Microsoft. How insane is that? Microsoft, of all busninesses, doesn't know how to do business properly online.

I'm still laughing about it - arguing with MS as to what my proper address is. Don't they think I know better than UPS? I guess not. 

We finally managed to get the upgrade, but it's stupid, Microsoft, to make your customers beg and whine to buy your product. Beyond stupid.

Nonetheless, I love the new netbook. It still needs to be loaded up with software [Husband's job], but I'm excited about owning it. What is a netbook? A smaller version of a laptop. It weighs only 3 lbs and will allow me to keep working on my WIP on the go. I can take pictures with me when I go visit my family, movies, music, e-books. Yay! Oh, the netbook even takes pictures. Kewl!

I checked out the iPads the next aisle over. They're cool. Some snazzy technology at work there. Expensive though, and for my needs the netbook was the better choice.

Husband said, "Happy Anniversary." And, "Your writing career is expensive." LOL Yes, for now it is. Definitely spending more than I'm making. That will change though. I'm quite certain. And, I'm certainly grateful to have such great support. Thank you, Sweetie!

Look how cute it is! That's my PC monitor behind it.

May 26, 2010

Swimming on Mars

What would it be like? The huge canyons of opal are evidence there were once great bodies of water on Mars. Before or after we became aware?

What would it be like to stand on Titan with orange hazy skies and orbs of liquid natural gas falling from the sky. One spark of oxygen and ... kkkkkbooooooOOOOOOM!

What would it be like to stand at the edge of the solar system. How small would the sun be? Would I recognize it as home?

Sometimes I come up with an idea for a story and folks tell me, 'you can't do that, it sounds ridiculous'. Yet when I write the story they're mesmerized. How did you come up with that? I just smile thinking, what happened to ridiculous. I suppose that's why I'm a writer and they're not.

If you can imagine it, it's possible. Dare to dream. Life rocks!

May 25, 2010

Moody Skies

This time of year is always so moody in these parts. Brilliant sun then rain. If you drive to a higher elevation, you might get snow. Since moving to Oregon, spring and fall have come to mean: if you don't like the weather, drive 5 miles. It will change.

For instance, I drove to the bank where it was sunny and nice. When I got to my hair appointment [less than 5 miles away] it was brooding and raining. Back at my house, about 3 blocks away, it was sunny again. I've seen it rain next door and not at my house. That one always amuses me. I can have part of me in rain and part of me in sun.

A patch of my hair on the right side near the back was moody, too. I'd tame it with product and iron and brushes. I'd feel I'd won. Never failed a few hours later it was back to doing what it wanted to do. So, hair gal and I chopped it off. Take that moody tresses!

Yeah, so I don't want moodiness in my hair, but I do want it in my writing. Sunny on one page, tragic the next. And I was just saying to video genius how perfectly she captured the progression of moods in 'Semper Audacia'. I never caught that layer in the video until now. I was watching it because I'm working on an edit for it. I'm doing the same for several short stories getting them ready for a new round of submissions.

It's my working break. I needed a few days away from the novel, so I'm working on short stories, perfecting my synopsis, an outline so I can get some help from my writing group, and other things like that. I'll get all these other naggy things out of my way. Then by this weekend I should be ready to go back at the novel with undivided focus.

Like the moody skies, the clouds in my head will part. Thinking about something else will actually fuel the creativity I need to keep going on getting the novel in shape. Bringing about sunbreaks, storms and rainbows.

Maybe if you're stuck, you need a change of pace and some variety. Or, a change of weather.


May 24, 2010

What's Going On?

This dude is looking a little ... skeered or nervous or something. What do you think is going on? Caption it or write a little story.

May 21, 2010

Insight into the Aspiring Writer's Mind

Today's fright is my own damned panic. I just realized I only have 2 months left while I sit here mired in frustration and pressure. I got to that point this morning where I feel the need for a break. The calendar says: NO TIME.

The root of the frustration was chapter 31. I hated it and couldn't figure out why. The time it was taking ticked loudly like the countdown on a bomb. I finally figured out what was wrong with it. Reading one of my homework assignments last night and taking a moment to recenter my voice this morning helped. I got sidetracked by other people's ideas. It was killing me. In moderation, M, in moderation. This is still your work. Yup, it's mine. I believe in it. Time to shut those other voices out. Otherwise I'm slitting my own throat.

Yet here I sit in panic mode telling myself: there's not enough time. I'm not going to finish.

The optimisitc side says: 5/6 weeks in and you're almost half way done. You have 10 weeks left. If you need it, you can take 14, but you're not going to need it.

The panic says: It's only 10 weeks! I can't do it. I need a break. I should switch.

The rational side says: Just shutup and do it. You can do it.

PS: This chapter sucks.

RS: Did suck. You fixed it. Shutup and keep going. One chapter at a time. Keep going.

PS: The whole thing sucks.

RS: No, just chapter 31 sucked. You fixed it and claimed your voice back. It's back in there now. It was already in the other chatpers. Keep going.

PS: Ahhhhhhhhhh.

RS: Scream if you must, then keep going. Let's see if we can fit that into the chapter somehow. Your main character just bumped into some aliens. She must feel panicked, too.

PS: Hmmm, yeah. I should use it.

RS: Yes, keep going. It's going to be just fine. It's a good story. It deserves to be finished. The two rough sequels you wrote want to see the light of day, too.

PS: Maybe I can finish the second novel faster. It's a good fit for one of the agents.

RS: You'll lose your momentum and train of thought. Stick with what you're doing. This one is a better fit for two of the agents you're meeting and still fits the third. You can mail them all the second novel in the fall when you finish it. Next year you can pitch #3. And, you better start getting used to the idea of deadlines.

PS: I love this?

RS: You love this. The observatory opens next week.

PS: Cutting into my time.

RS: And helping to keep you calm and centered. You can do this.

PS: I can do this. Let's get back to work.

An example of a morning inner dialogue. Probably one I will repeat over and over until August. I didn't estimate the pressure setting in again until next week. I have a big rewrite in front me yawning like an abyss. I have to quit looking at the whole and break it down into smaller steps. Build me a bridge. I know this. It's what works for me. The pressure brought out some damn fine writing this morning. I have no idea from where it sprung. Out of the need to get it done? Out of a similarity to the homework I was reading last night that reinforced my confidence? Probably both.

Those nights at PMO will feel like a break and rejuvenate me. I need it. In a big way, I need it. Repeat mantras, M: Don't panic [Hitch Hikers Guide to the Universe]. Never give up, never surrender. [Galaxy Quest]. Shine on universe, shine on [an M original].

I also think I should seriously think about going decaf until August. :-O Sometime in July the inner dialogue should get really interesting.

May 20, 2010

43,000 Words

43,000 words and counting. The aim is to be done at 100,000 words.

What? I'm talking about the editing / rewrite of my first novel. It's been just a little over a month since I've started and I'm almost halfway. Not bad. Not bad. I'm still worried about meeting my deadline beginning of August. Why? In another 20 pages or so, the rewrite becomes extensive. I'm pretty much throwing out what's there and writing from scratch. Yikes! Makes me nervous as it will slow me up, but it has to be done.

Also making me nervous is PMO opening next weekend for the season. Until end of September, every weekend is packed. Husband says he's getting me a netbook for our upcoming anniversary [16 years, wow] so I can work when visiting my family this June and when I'm up at the observatory.

Editing / rewriting still feels like slogging through mud, but I keep at it. I won't stop until I am done. I'm deteremined.

I registered for the conference, made the hotel reservation and committed to the four one-on-one pitches. If novel#1 isn't competely done, I should be close. Very close. Yet I still feel the need to keep the pressure on myself and keep the momentum rolling forward.

Started on my homework - reading clients of the agents I'll be meeting with, working on pefecting my synopsis, trying to think up a hookline [I suck at it, got nothing ... but Arthur Dent says, "Don't Panic"], and honing my pitch. I got some novels on cd so I can listen while driving back and forth to the observatory. Makes that hour commute more productive. My palms are permanently clammy it seems. That deadline looms like my main character in novel#3. He's not a nice guy. A definite bad boy. So working with men all summer will help me out when I start on the writing. There's some research I have to do before starting, too. It'd be cool if I bumped into those weird lights again [See, my short story 'Beacons' for reference - under M. Pax Works]. They'll be featured again in novel#3.

Finished the rough draft of my tumbleweed short for a sci-fi anthology yesterday. It needs a lot of spit and polish. Editing be my life. Until sometime in the fall, I don't have time for much else. Yet I am determined to get some more subs out by the end of this week.

By fall I should have two polished novels goint out to agents. Then I can get back to writing shorts and start on novel#3. If the first two come up empty, #3 may be the charm.

Whatever your dream: Never give up, never surrender.

May 19, 2010

Cold Summer Nights

I'm a native east coast gal. The urban terrain is my natural habitat. So, I thought. So did everyone who knew me before we moved to Central Oregon.

I realized since moving to the dry side of the Cascades, I could better adapt to living without an Estee Lauder counter than living without the high desert and Pine Mountain Observatory. It remains a shocking realization. The internet can get me just about anything I want. But there is nowhere else on the planet that can give me this life.

It's my dream life. Since watching the astronauts walk on the moon as a kid, I've dreamed of somehow being a part of the cosmos. [funny how many of my characters seem to share that same passion] Working at Pine Mountain Observatory every summer scratches that itch. My first night working up there, a light switch turned on. I've felt lit up ever since. I love it. I love everything about it.

I love digging my thermals, winter wear and sweaters out while everyone else is digging out sandals and shorts. I love standing and freezing my butt off for hours under the deepening night skies. I love the nights with moody clouds and not many stars. I love new moons when the true glory of what's over head comes out. There are 6-10 shooting stars every hour. Wow. Just wow. What a show! It never fails to wow me. I love that I've learned to read star charts and find objects. Some I'm better at than others. When the crowd goes home, I practice and try finding new things.

I love hiking up to the summit and standing on top of the world before the night begins. I love being able to answer people's questions they've wondered for a lifetime. I love sharing what I know. I don't mind admitting what I don't know [which is a lot].

I enjoy the company of the people I work with. It's basically four of us. Four of us diehard astronomy buffs that love everything about showing the stars off on summer nights in the middle of western wilderness. I love the wilds of the west. There is such serenity in the sage toned scenes and heady scent of juniper, cedar and sage. And pine. It's not named Pine Mountain for nothing. 

It recenters me, rebalances me, relaxes me. It fuels my creative fires. So when the season ends at the end of September, I have inspiration to draw from. Then I dream of it until the following May when I get to go back.

Here's a photo I took of the new moon last Saturday night. It was still twilight, not fully dark. It doesn't get truly dark around here now until after 10 p.m. I tried to get Saturn, Mars and Venus, but since I don't have auto tracking on my telescope or the camera, they only come out as blobs.

May 18, 2010

Grleep Jaleta Clegg! Lift a Glass of Hari's Ale!

Jaleta Clegg was born some time ago. She’s filled the years since with many diverse activities, such as costuming, quilting, cooking, video games, reading, and writing. She’s been a fan of classic sci-fi books and campy movies since she can remember. Her collection of bad sci-fi movies is only rivaled by her collection of eclectic CD’s (polka, opera, or Irish folk songs, anyone?). She feels privileged to join the ranks of science fiction authors.

I feel privileged to have discovered her. Bubbly, fun and infectious, her personality shows up in her prose.

For more, visit Jaleta at her website:

Her first novel, Nexus Point: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book One, came out very recently. Chronicling the adventures of Captain Dace, the book is a fun romp across the planet Dadilan. Dace has a knack for finding trouble. Aboard her first ship with her first crew and her first cargo, things go wrong from the start. The escape pod takes Dace to an off-limits world and things go from wrong to worse very quickly. Adventure after adventure, the fun never stops. From page one to the end, Jaleta keeps it going. A colorful cast enriches the story. The author has a great knack at painting vivid characters who stick with you. Somehow she makes the baddies delicious. I enjoyed spending time with them all.

Nexus Point: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book One Available at:

1) In the author's words ...

If you haven't downloaded the sample [Nexus Point] to try, please do so. I had so much fun writing it. I wrote the kind of book I like to read - lots of adventure, action, and excitement and just a touch of romance. I had a lot of fun juxtaposing classic fantasy elements with futuristic tech, and playing with some well-known legends.


2) Nexus Point is first in a series. What scrapes does Captain Dace stumble into next? And, when can we expect the next adventure?

Book 2, working title "Priestess of the Eggstone", is undergoing final editing. Dace has a contract to fly a courier ship for Belliff Inc. She hires Jerimon as her copilot. She realizes only too late that Jerimon is being hunted by the Sessimoniss for stealing the Eggstone, their god, and that Belliff Inc. has ties to the Targon Crime Syndicate. With the Patrol, the Sessimoniss, and Targon all chasing her, Dace runs across the Empire, determined to untangle the mess. Mayhem and disaster follow, especially when her personal feelings get involved.

The book is tentatively scheduled for release early in 2011.

3) What makes a sci-fi hero desirable?

For me, it's the same thing that makes any hero or heroine desirable - integrity and passion for what they believe. A really cool ship and uniform also help. Science fiction heroes also have a reputation for being bad boys with hearts of gold. Think Han Solo or Malcolm Reynolds. In Nexus Point, Tayvis is definitely a desirable hero - dark, dangerous, sexy, but someone you can trust implicitly. Unless you're on the wrong side of the law.

With heroines, it's similar. I like mine feisty. Not whiny or wimpy, but not so tough that they don't have a vulnerable side. Dace was fun to play with. She's in so far over her head the moment she crashes on Dadilan, and she doesn't even realize how bad the situation is until much later. She's so real to me, I was surprised by some of her reactions. I admire her strength and her determination.

4) What about sci-fi called to you, or how did it call you?

I've been reading sci-fi most of my life. I discovered A Wrinkle in Time in fourth grade. Instant favorite book. I was reading Andre Norton by sixth grade. I loved the sense of wonder and adventure. I loved exploring new worlds alongside their heroes. I'd look at the stars at night and dream of traveling through space. I still do.

I tried writing a contemporary romance once. I kept wanting to add space battles and aliens and exotic locations. The hardest thing for me was to keep it in a real setting on a real world. In sci-fi, I can just make up whatever I need. As long as it's consistent with the rest of my made-up universe, I'm good.

5) When a story strikes, what bites you first?

Sometimes it's a chance phrase, or an image, or a character that triggers an idea for a story. Lately I've been writing a lot of short stories. I take a sentence or a prompt or an anthology topic and let it run wild in my imagination. I also watch a lot of monster movies, sci-fi movies, and classic sci-fi tv shows. You'd be amazed how much fun you can have mocking them and how many ideas that can trigger. I write comic horror as well as sci-fi. I love twisting ideas upside-down and finding the humor in the bizarre.

6) Jaleta combines her passion for cooking with her passion for writing.

I've had a little training with survival. I'm involved with the Boy Scouts of America, have been for years, and I'm a certified school teacher. I did substitute teaching in a junior high. If that doesn't qualify me as a survivor, nothing can. I could definitely survive the zombie apocalypse.

On the subject of food, I love food. I love cooking. Food is important on so many levels. Of course food is going to creep into my writing. I write a recipe column for Abandoned Towers print issues, dinner menus inspired by books. The editor asked me to spotlight Nexus Point. I had a hard time finding recipes I wanted to create, most of the food is bad on Dadilan. The good stuff is easy. Grapes and cheese, anyone? I created a non-alcoholic version of Hari's ale that was weirdly good. My kids have a love/hate relationship with my column. They have to taste the food to see if I got it right. Usually it's great, but every once in a while... Let's just say the cat tried to bury it.

Hari's Ale - Mix 1 quart apple juice, 1 quart orange juice, 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice, 2 T. grated lemon peel, 2 t. grated fresh ginger, 1/2 t. root beer extract, 6 crushed cinnamon candies. Cover and refrigerate for at least 12 hours to let everything blend. Add 2 liters of cream soda just before serving.

7) Jaleta's thoughts on writing.

Writing is hard, but addictively fun. Editing is horrible but necessary to make the writing better. The biggest surprise with getting published is the sheer amount of marketing authors are required to do. Publish your book and they will line up to read it? Not hardly. Not unless you find a way to connect with your audience. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to blather on your blog. Somedays I feel like a pimp - you know, for a good time, try reading my book! I did sales, enough to know I hate pushing product. I'll let my book speak for itself. Download the free chapters and try it for yourself.

8) What's your favorite campy sci-fi movie?

Hands down all-time favorite bad sci-fi movie - Spacehunter in the Forbidden Zone. I saw the original theatrical release, in 3D no less, at least five times in the theater. I've got one of the original VHS release tape, and the DVD. It's got everything I love about sci-fi: monsters, heroes, cool tech gadgets, fun characters, completely evil villains, and a story. Second favorite - Flash Gordon; the bad 80s movie with the awesome Queen soundtrack. The movie just oozes camp. And then there's The Last Starfighter and Space Balls and The Brain That Wouldn't Die and Ice Pirates and Time Bandits and Live Action He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and... I have no idea how many bad movies I own, I'm afraid to count!


Well, I'm definitely adding Spacehunter to my list. Why not the others? I've seen them. My siblings and I, dorky as it is, give each other the greeting from Masters of the Universe whenever we see each other, "Good journey." Appropos as we grew older as none of us lives in the same state.

Good journey to you, Jaleta. She told me she has loads more Captain Dace adventures in the wings. Excellent. If you enjoy a fun read, I would reccommend giving Nexus Point a whirl. You can't help becoming a Jaleta fan.

Jaleta's blog:
Far Edge of Normal


Nexus Point: The Fall of the Altairan Empire Book One

Thanks for stopping by, Jaleta. It was a joy having you.

May 17, 2010

What's Going On?

Caption it, or add your story. What do you think is going on?

May 14, 2010

Terror in the High Desert 4

Part 4 - Liberace Haunt or Is It?

Britt felt nothing under her feet. She couldn't feel Paul holding onto her. She turned her head away so her headlamp no longer lit up the gruesome remains of Jen.

"Oh my god!" Britt sobbed. Hysterical, she hiccupped. "Jen, Jen, Jeeeen."

After a point she could feel Paul shaking against her back. "Oh my god, Paul." She turned. Why couldn't she think of something else to say? His face was as void of blood as hers felt. "Wh-wh-wh …"

His voice trembled. "I don't know."

Britt dared to glance at the pile of the once-was Jen. All's which remained were bloodied clothes and one foot in one boot. The other boot contained a pool of blood.

Her stomach heaved. A waste of some damn fine organic trail mix. Wiping the bile from her mouth, she grimaced. Repulsed. "We can't just leave her down here."

Paul took a step back. "I'm not picking that up. We should go for help."

Sniffles crinkled Britt's nose. The coppery smell overpowered her. Sickening. "Help for what?"


Her dry laugh echoed in the tunnel. "She's beyond help, Paul."

"We need to call the sheriff."

They did. They needed to do something other than stare at blood and spatter. Britt nodded. She peered into the black beyond Jen's brutality. Who did this to Jen? What?

Amber glowed in a faint pinprick. Eyes or a torch? Britt shook Paul's arm, pointing. "There," she whispered, "there is Jen's killer."

He clutched onto her hand watching the orange glow. It grew brighter. He headed toward the ropes, dragging Britt with him. "He's coming back."

He who? Britt's heart pounded. Imagining a gnarled killer with a hook for a hand, she clawed at the tightening in her chest.

He moved closer. "Oh my god!"

A hum filled the lava tube tickling at all her senses. It came up through the rock and her feet to stir her nerves into a frenzy. Warnings pricked at the back of her neck. Cold and icy. She shivered.

Paul's gulp echoed like gunfire. "We need to go!" He pushed her to go faster.

Britt tripped before getting her feet under her. Panic gripped into hysteria as she fumbled with her carabiners. She dared to glance back. Amber filled the passage, humming like an insane Liberace. Paul pushed her again. She pulled up, up, up, screaming the whole way. What was that?

Previous episodes:


Other free reads: 
Translations     /      Plantgirl    /       Small Graces

May 13, 2010

The Strangest Thing I Ever Saw

Truth is stranger than fiction. Life is stranger than fiction. All around us every day are things going on we could not think up. Some of them spark our imagination, or we scribble them down to use later somewhere.

Last summer, on my way out to the observatory, I saw the strangest thing ever. I was on the main road before making a left onto Highway to Nowhere. A man was running down the sidewalk. Not at a pleasant jog or leisurely pace. He ran as if his life depended on it or his pants were on fire. An all out sprint.

So what's so weird about that? What he was carrying and how. Hoisted upright, like a flag in a drum corp, he carried a dead fir tree. It was obvious it was dead by the brown color and the way the needles flew off, leaving a golden wake behind the running man.

It was strange. Really strange. It struck me as beautiful and something I'd have to do something with at some point. Why was he running with a dead tree? Why so fast?

I got up to the observatory and told my friends about it. They asked if he was running toward the hospital. He was. We all laughed.

I think about that man and his tree often. I put it to use in a story about feral tumbleweeds. Seemed the right place for it. Instead of carrying a tree, in the story he is carrying  a tumbleweed. I could have never of thought up such a vivid scene on my own. Life rocks.

What's the strangest thing you've ever seen?

May 11, 2010

Small Graces

I could use some traffic on my website. I put up a new discussion question and poll. It will take you less than two minutes:  Only I get your e-mail address. You can put your name as anything you like. It would help me out a lot. :-D

So, I read live and in person on Sunday at the library. The program was prose, so I chose to read my story over poetry. Seems my fans down at the library now expect to hear one of my quirky, little stories. Guess I better be delivering that expectation. Good thing I was prepared.

Two of my friends showed up: Eric from the observatory and Dennis from my writing group. The group that sponsors Second Sundays is pleased I've begun bringing an entourage, too. That was a fluke really, but I was glad to have the moral support.

After all the rejection-love lately, it was nice to hear some applause for a change. It was great to hear all the positive feedback. My isle of positiveness in the sea of rejection. With that said, I get closer. I'm always addressed by name these days instead of 'Dear Writer'. Several asked me to send more. They don't just say that, so that means I'm getting closer - according to a writer friend who espoused the levels of rejection.

The dude reading after me said, "I have to follow that? Geees!" I'm not a great reader. I'm nervous. I have a soft voice. I get better. I put more soul into it. Husband says it's the stories that grab their attention. That's good. I'm really glad it's the subject matter grabbing the audience. As a writer, that's what I want.

Husband remembered to video me this time. So, I'm able to judge how I did. I need to spit my gum out before reading next time. LOL I looked up more. My nervous tics are minimal.

When the program and open mic were over, one of the leaders of the group that sponsors Second Sundays came over and told me to e-mail my story to the author that read a few months back. Apparently, he really likes my stuff and is a fan. How cool is that? I have fans.

Small Graces is up on my website as a free read. Click here to go there. Or, just go to  After joining in the discussion and casting your vote, click on 'M. Pax Works' you'll see "Small Graces" in the list of stories. Click on the title and the whole story will pop up.

Thanks as always, for your support. I appreciate it more than I can ever say. And, I will never forget all you wonderful people helping me out to reach my dream. Someday we'll all get together over something healthy and laugh about these days. Someday. Yeah, I'll buy lunch.

Peace out!

May 7, 2010

Live and in Person

Moi! This Sunday, 2:00 p.m. Bend Public Library. Mary Sojourner and Charles Finn are the guest authors. I will be reading at open mic after they present.

I think the program Sunday is dedicated to poetry. If so, I will be reading my poem, 'DreamPlay'. You can read and/or watch it at

If not, I will be reading the short story, 'Small Graces'. If I read it, I will post it up on my website next week as a free read.

Will let you know next week how it goes. My stomach is all in knots. I think I'm still hyped up from registering for Willamette Writers earlier this week and committing to meeting four agents/editors face-to-face to pitch my first novel. My palms have been clammy ever since. I've done nothing but edit since. I have to finish. I have to. I'm nervous and excited all mixed up.

Have had 2 bouts of insomnia this week. #1 because I'm not ready for August and my pitches yet. #2 last night because I have ideas for extending "Stopover" into a novella swimming in my head, novel#3 and an idea for a TV show. Why can't I think about this stuff during the day?

May 6, 2010

Absolutely the Best Chocolate I ever Savored

Pegasus Chocolate makes that boast on their web page. I attest, it is fact and true.

I fondly refer to the shop as 'The Chocolate Man'. Went there the other day for a Mothers Day gift. It's easy. Get a box of chocolates and the post office is just two blocks away. The boxes are always prettily done. No need for gift wrap. Grab an envelope, shove in the chocolate & a card in. Slap on the mailing label I created at home and stuck in my wallet. Done.

Bonus that it's a really great gift - locally made and handcrafted. Every chocolate in the shop is handmade. Spoils me rotten as no other chocolate tastes so fine. If I'm going to eat it, I want Chocolate Man's chocolate. There's no reason to waste my tastebuds or the calories on anything else. Really, his chocolate is a waste of neither.

I couldn't resist picking up a bag of my favorites - licorice dark chocolates. Some of you know of my licorice addiction. This treat is heaven. If I'm going to indulge, I might as well do it right.

Chocolate Man must have missed me, because I got two free chocolates to take home with me. Well, they didn't make it home. I enjoyed them in the car. The first was a milk chocolate truffle with a chocolate center. My eyelids fluttered in rapture at the red light. The woman beside me honked her horn and gave me a thumbs up. Her eyebrow raised. What tasted so damn fine? I had to laugh. I held up the bag from Pegasus Chocolate. She made a sudden turn. I'm assuming to go see Chocolate Man as I was only a few blocks away. He is one of this town's great treasures.

Made me realize I've missed Chocolate Man. The next candy was a dark chocolate truffle with a marion berry center. Mmmmm. Reminded me of my wedding cake - chocolate and raspberry. Mmmm.

Reminds me of when I first moved to Oregon. We came here from DC. These women were talking about Marion Berry at Fred Meyer. I was shocked that the scandal of the mayor of DC had made it all the way out to the West Coast and that they were still talking about it. I found out months later that they were talking about marionberries - a berry - and not the mayor of DC. It's an Oregon thing. I had never heard of marionberries until moving here. They make excellent jams, pies … and truffles. [but not mayors, lol]

May 4, 2010

Under Pressure

Gulp. I'm feeling it. It's taken me a month to fine tune the first 100 pages of novel#1. Although, it's going well, it's taking longer than I anticipated. A lot is getting chopped. It's getting tweaked and channeled down some different subplots. They're the same subplots, they're just taking on different directions.

I feel like I'm constantly wading through a mud bog. I don't know why. That's what the editing phase feels like to me. In the end, it is a much better product. So, I'm pleased with the results the effort gets me.

At any rate, work begins at the observatory in two weeks. Working nights slows me down as I tend to sleep later as a result. I go away for a week at the end of June. I don't have a laptop. I was hoping to be done by then, but I doubt I will.

I need to get the presentation ready. I need to do my homework. Most of all, I need to get the novel done in a form in which I can send it out to agents.

I hope to get my tumbleweed short done in the next two weeks, so I can focus on the novel only. It leaves me to think that I have to get the ready work for the interviews done before I start on the second novel. Yup, that's what I must do. I can do some of that on my trip. So, I don't have to waste all that time.

Video genius and I want to do videos for the novels soon, so I can hand discs to the agents in August and include them with my packets that get mailed out. They will not be going on the website or YouTube as the slant will be toward the business end of this gig and not toward enticing readers. It will be more like a video synopsis than a tease. Video genius wants to do two per novel. Whatev. Her vision is fab, so I'll let her handle that for me. I still need to write the copy and track down some stockart, though.

Working at the observatory reenergizes me. It seems to recharge me and balance me. I feel such a great sense of peace standing on the summit. Relaxed. Ready to tackle what's next. I feel renewed under a blanket of black and stars. I love lying on my back on the picnic table when the crowds are gone and just staring at the sky. I love getting lost in the twinkle of the Milky Way. It inspires me. Keeps the creative furnace churning.

As everyone else gets out their shorts and sandals, I go digging out my long johns, thermal socks, gloves and hats. LOL I'm never sorry to have two sweaters and my winter coat, a scarf, two pairs of gloves and a hat. Never. Sometimes I'm still not warm enough. I drive all the way home shivering with the heat cranking. The next day I forget the heat is on and wonder why the car is so hot. LOL It never fails.

After eight months of work and little else, I need some spark. Spark away universe, spark away.