Should this scare me. . . ?

Should THIS scare me like it does? Or should I be thinking about putting the software on hubby’s computer in secret to see just what he’s up to all the while I’m working on books across the room? *grin*

Sheesh . . . more and more ways that we’re never really alone or in private. Webcams hidden in the walls, “Candid Camera” always lurking around the corner, traffic signals that photograph your license plate, cameras on London street corners that yell at people, Big Tex and that creepy way he always says, “Howdy, there, little lady with the flowerdy dress and stripedy tights on!”

I hate that we have now given permission to our enemies to torture and do whatever they want to our troops when captured . . . oddly enough [IRONY INDICATORS PEGGED], I even feel bad for the “bad guys” who (may or may not actually BE bad guys) will be beaten and abused until they “talk” (I figure when the pain starts, they’ll start making stuff up or saying whatever they think the soldiers want them to say–they’ll lose their rational minds, and if they really DON’T know stuff, they can’t very well tell it, and I know I couldn’t remember the Quadratic Formula if you were tickling my feet!) After all, they’re God’s children, too.

Remember that when the Egyptians were drowning in the Red Sea and Moses et al were celebrating, God admonished them with, “Why are you happy when My Creatures are drowning?” Okay, that’s not scriptural and is apocryphal, but it sure passes MY test of scripture. I’m sure that was the real feeling. We saved ONE set, but lost another. That always hurts.

Or am I just a . . . softie? (*GASP*)

(What DO you expect from an aging hippie, anyway? A tie-dyed T-shirt now and then, I suppose.)

Onward to the Friday night movie date. . . .

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Quick–how’s the pacing of this opening?

Okay . . . I’ve found another potential market for Camille. I’m supposed to send it right away.

I’m wondering whether the pacing is fast enough in this opening, though. Don’t want to blow it. The ONLY two people who have ever had any interest in it have said it’s a good opening and that it has voice and charm (I’m talking about SuperAgent whom I chased away and the other agent who didn’t think it could sell because people want to sympathize with the protagonist–and at the time I had the word “trick” in there to denote someone she’d slept with on the road, but that has now been changed.) The two places I worry a bit about are the “inventory” (when she looks into her backpack) and the “teenaged poet” thing. The inventory is a standard device for sneaking in some things that your character will need on short notice later. (It’s the gun over the mantel in Chekhov, introduced in the first scene and fired in the final scene.) The “teenaged poet” thing lets us know how old she is and that she used to be idealistic, but is now disillusioned and has had her perspective changed. But . . . y’know, I may have to sell out, so if you think those slow down the pacing, I *could* change it. (The SuperAgent said not to change the first line, that it was a grabber. And I need to orient readers to where we are, and thus the description of the small town.)

Here’s the opening again. Comments are fine, or e-mail, or a public screed on wherever. . . .

Continue reading “Quick–how’s the pacing of this opening?”

The passing of writer John M. Ford (1957-2006)

News of the passing of awesome writer John M. (Mike) Ford last night has just reached me. I thought I’d post it here, although many others are doing a good job of telling people. *sigh* Why is it always the good ones, the best ones. . . . They go before us but are not really gone.

Anyway, we’ll all meet again. “Fear not, Reepicheep, that is the utter East.”

I love his _Casting Fortune_ the best, although _How Much For Just the Planet_ and _The Dragon Waiting_ are probably better known. I only knew him from his participation in the old FidoNet SF echo (and occasionally on the Writing echo) way back when I first joined FidoNet, and later from his posts on Making Light, but my Minneapolis friends knew him personally and are really feeling the loss now, I’m sure. It’s always so hard for those of us left behind. ((HUGS))

Read the tributes on Making Light. We’ll all miss his contributions (comments–often poetry, off the cuff but better than what I slave over) to that forum. We’ll all miss getting to read new books by him. The world is lessened.

“Words fail me (the poor craftsman blames his tools)” –John M. Ford, “Chromatic Aberration”

Contemplative, as ever

As always, today I’m feeling contemplative. I’m borrowing from another tradition, and I’m going to do some meditation and self-examination today.

“The main theme of the Rosh HaShana liturgy is that God is King, and He rewards good,” says About.com of the holiday. This is just my kind of thinking. About.com also says that people repent and get their slates clean of old sins and old vows today. Sounds like a plan.

I’ll add to it by doing a bit of analysis as to why some of my work isn’t receiving the kind of reception I’d like. I think the FastDraft books that I’m working on–as it turns out, I’m doing two: the Ranch Romance, and the second Jacquidon mystery that I already had partially planned out–are coming along well, but they’re going to need a lot of editing. That’s okay, according to FastDraft members. Neither of these books opens with a wake-up or early morning scene. Neither of the books has a scene of the character sitting at home discussing something with another character (at least not so far). This may be a promising development.

I ended up working on both because I had a heck of an epiphany about how I could techie-up and ramp up the crime and clues in the second mystery, and I couldn’t *NOT* work up those scenes. I’m hoping that because the murder happens within the first twenty pages and happens on-scene, this one is less problematic to sell.

But anyhow, time to go off and drink a protein shake (and sneak in some broccoli, too–vitamin C) and contemplate some more.

The America I was born into. . . .

The USA I was born into no longer exists. The freedoms of thought and speech and movement that my daddy fought for in WWII are in danger. I was pretty depressed when my country attacked a country that hadn’t attacked us . . . and I’m even more sad today because my country (behind my back, against my wishes, against almost anyone’s better judgment) is now going to lower itself to do what the people we call “bad guys” do, and will even call it “right.” Here’s blogger Glenn Greenwald’s take on the Torture Compromise.

I don’t think there should be a compromise. I hate to see people backing down from defending what they know is right. What’s happening? It isn’t good.

*sigh*

L’shana Tovah!

(In keeping with my earlier posts about the Jewish New Year, and seeing as how it’s nearly sundown and time for the holiday to begin, for those who celebrate)

(And I’m jealous because I can’t have honey OR apples on this stupid diet . . . even if I were allowed to celebrate, which I’m not officially. *grin* Long day. We ran by the church I used to go to and dropped off a bunch of the “really too good to give away” plus-sized work-ready dresses and suits for their garage sale that’s going on all weekend in the chapel, which is the only nice thing that we really did all day. Other than that, we thought I lost my Visa check card and panicked, running back and retracing our steps through several stores, but found it *whew*, and Mama insisted all day she was having a gallbladder attack and wouldn’t go to the doctor *sigh*, and other frustrating things went on. I also decided I shouldn’t spend money going to FenCon. So this weekend is for contemplation and typing of words into the new novel. Oh, and figuring out what the “bad” pattern, if any, might be in my work that has turned off the kickass agents.)

Keith Olbermann’s on. See-ya. . . .

[EDIT: According to the Islamic Society of North America, the first day of fasting for Ramadan 2006 is expected to be September 23rd. As I suspected, we’ve got MAJOR RELIGIOUS POWER going on in a bunch of faiths this weekend! Oh, and there’s even SF/Fantasy faith power, as FenCon is going on here in Dallas. ;^)]

Get out the sweaters–but don’t wear ’em just yet

points out that today is Bilbo’s Birthday and Frodo’s Birthday! Hooray! I’ll pass on those seed cakes (too many relatives with those painful pockets in their intestinal tracts who have problems with seeds and nuts, and they sound kind of dry, too), but let’s have a sniff of that cider.

Also birthdaying today are , , and . I don’t mean to belabor the point, but this weekend some people will celebrate the birth of the world. I’ve always had a feeling of renewal around this time, but that is related to the start of the school year (even though I’ve been out of school for years). The air starts to feel cooler and crisp, and everyone breaks out a new wardrobe.

Last night when I put a couple of sacks of clothing out for the charity society to pick up early this morning, there was fog or mist sitting in the treetops. It was almost on the ground. I thought for a moment that the electricity must be off across the street because I couldn’t see the porch lights or anyone’s windowspill, but when I got to the courtyard gate, I could see the glow of a few windows through the mist. Billowy clouds in the sky looked grayish, and I couldn’t find the moon. I suspect that was a pre-power-day sort of thing. Or maybe just a sign that humidity is moving in.

Whichever, it was kind of neat.