Month: November 2015

Introducing Frankie

IMG_0190Meet Frankie, the newest addition to my motley crew of a family.

Two years back, my little Japanese Chin, Seymour passed away. He was twelve and suffered from a heart condition. Since his death, for the first time in my life, I have been without a dog or cat or fish or goat or horse. My daughter went off to college and I was traveling a lot and grieving. I finished my book, took care of some long time goals in my life, but it all felt a bit empty. I can’t stand not having a dog. It had gone on long enough.

My daughter has been obsessed with pugs forever, but we agreed that we should rescue a dog. On an ordinary working Thursday, a bit of a miracle occurred. A pug came into rescue and appeared on my PAWS application (great little app for matching people with pets in need of rescue). And she was at a rescue that is run out of my neighborhood. It was meant to be. We adopted her on Saturday

IMG_0194Frankie was found a few weeks before wandering the streets. Animal control took her in, but failed to locate her owners. They handed her over to a rescue and immediately a couple adopted her. They brought her back two days later because she shed or something. That is when she was picked up by the rescue in my neighborhood and put into the PAWS app. I happened to be looking when she was uploaded. There was not a lot known about her. The vet estimated her to be between 2 and 4 years old, and she had no name.

IMG_0210We toyed with the name Trixie (Beatrix), a prominent character in my WIP. My daughter would not go for it. She worries that any day I will go all George R.R. Martin on my characters. After going through a slew of names, my daughter called her Frankie (I think from the pug in Men in Black).

Having a dog again is so wonderful and calming. Maybe I will rescue a greyhound next. And as a writer, I am told that it is good to have pictures of your pets on your blog.

Check out Janet Reid’s Blog if you don’t believe me. And if you are a writer and don’t read her blog, you are handicapping yourself. Just do it. And go rescue a dog or cat.

 

 

 

A Writer In Instant Gratification World

IMG_0149 I am a writer. By day, I work as a software engineer to pay the bills. I am also a single parent. There is no other means of supporting myself.  As I am not published yet (and I am getting closer), when I tell someone that I am a writer, they give me this dismissive look. I will explain I am looking for an agent. This has been going on for a while now, but for years it was, I am still trying to finish the book.

Inevitably, the non-writer will then suggest I self-publish or insist I go around the agents and go to some small publisher. And there are plenty of writers who do this. Not my path. I want to go through the gatekeepers and get published with someone who will put me on the bookshelves in both small and giant bookstores. Then they look at me like I ought to settle for whatever I can get. I’m stubborn so that’s not happening.

I also write epic fantasy. It’s not something you chug out in a year. Some of the early drafts of many chapters in Shadowed Castles were written when I was a wee kid. I have over 100,000 pages of notebooks, early drafts, scribbled maps, index cards with characters, creatures, and world history that I have been collecting since 1981. These records take up most of my attic. This is not some tea cozy mystery (which I happen to love). This is my life’s work. Now granted, I have about twenty books worth of great stories of research and ideas.

Shadowed Castles took me years to put it in a publishable state. I put it through a workshop back in the late nineties. Then I abandoned it for a good while. I simply was not ready to write that story. I wrote screen plays, short stories, and even tried a couple of literary pieces before coming back to what  I truly wanted to write. Once more I went to the workshops. Those early drafts were seven years ago. Now, I have something that I feel really good about, but it took so much time to get there.

So I am a writer living in a world of instant gratification.  This is particularly difficult when I turn down invitations because I am busy writing or when I take a day off (I do this a lot) to polish my manuscript or to respond to a request for more pages or a full. I do not do vacation. I write.  Non-writers do not seem to realize the hours of work it takes to finish a book, to revise that book as you attend conferences, interact with agents and editors and other writers, meticulously pour over each detail.

The non-writer lives in the world where if you want something, there is a great shortcut to get there. Yes, this even exists for writers (self-publishing). It’s not for me. I know there are success stories in self-publishing, but for me, it’s more than being in print. I want to squeeze my book into the company of David Eddings, Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan (may he rest in peace), Mercedes Lackey, Patrick Rothfuss, and the like. I hope to tell stories that do for my readers what those writers have done for me. So I will remain a writer looking for a home in a world with little patience for me.