A writer mentioned they were spending early morning (5 AM) at a coffee shop doing edits. While the 5 AM sounds inglorious, writing before the sun is a wonderful idea. I am going to try it. There is a Starbucks close by that opens before the dawn. I have edits to do and I need coffee (and maybe a danish) to do it so that is where I am bound.
It will feel a bit like purgatory, that time between waking up and getting coffee in my cup. I even have the perfect cup. It can stay here for the evening coffee. Tea? Do I really need to sleep? Off I go.
Losing a day becomes tougher the longer a life endures. I missed an entire day of writing due to having to spend the day having medical procedure performed and then feeling like crap afterwards. Not even coffee could rescue me.
I started drinking coffee at the age of fifteen so I could appear awake at my first period class in school. Now I drink it to fight time, to stay up longer, write longer, and try and be civil to my co-workers. Some days I lose that battle.
I remember getting this cup that reads “The Older I get the Better I Used to Be” for my thirty-fifth birthday. I believed I was old and done for in my early thirties. To those at that age, you are so stupid young. Do not even worry about it. The hour glass is still mostly full for you. I wish I had realized that. Being in a hurry is a sure way to set you behind.
If tomorrow is NOT a work day, then the chances are that there is whiskey in my glass. By the end of the work week, I have had so much coffee and tea that I am actually shaking. I still have mountains of line edits to climb and that is hard when you are registering on the Richter scale. Editing takes copious amounts of whiskey…
Scratch that. Put the line edits away. Write something new. Write drunk. Edit sober. That’s the rule.
I never obey the rules. Oh well, back to line edits. Take a shot and off we go. I apologize to my future editor (the one that will accompany me to publication)- it’ll be a rocky journey.
Editor: You corrected the errors I told you to but you committed several more that I have never seen.
Me: I ran out of whiskey.
Editor: Carry on.
I have a wonderful dream editor. If I am to ever meet the real one, I best get back to it. Word autocorrect changed one of my character names from Cazie to Casie halfway through the book. Well, that’s annoying.
Old memories are a useful tool to a writer. It helps establish character to know how being caught by an old memory can move you about. I remember when I bought this cup. My eight year old daughter (more than fifteen years ago now) picked it out at a shop at the Disney Resort we were staying at. I told she could pick out anything as long as she stayed under a certain dollar amount. She picked this cup and gave it to me. It made her so happy.
We had such a good time those two days at Disney, even the long drive down there had been a joy. It was like stepping out of the real world and into a dream. I try to give my characters memories like that even when there is no Disney world in their dimension. Line edits continue and coffee consumption is up. Black coffee is not sitting well with my stomach. I think I’ll change over to tea for the night’s remainder.
I found this cup among the things my daughter left behind after she moved to New York. I do not think it was meant for me. I can’t correct my own grammar much less somebody else’s. I suspect it was for her. Except she is never silent about correcting grammar.
Anyhow, it seemed the appropriate cup for doing line edits. It is going so slowly. I started at the last page and line by line, looking for mistakes, finding lots of continuity problems, and in constant battle with Oxford commas and subtle homonyms. I am armed with a style guide and thesaurus and dictionary, working my way back to the beginning. I am trying to have as clean of copy for my two chosen editors to give the book a last read through before hitting the query trenches. And I definitely need more coffee or a nap. Or both.
Nothing goes so well with a cup of coffee or a spot of tea than a good book. I have been nursing a mighty good one called City of Lies by Sam Hawke, a fellow Reider*.
And it is glorious. Great characters, great world-building with a touch of classic forensics. It is about food-tasters – someone who checks for poison in a head of state’s dishes, a rather dangerous profession to be sure. This involves a brother and sister whose family are tasked with protecting their Chancellor (the head cheese of their country) from assassination, especially poison.
When their Uncle Etan fails and dies along with one Chancellor, the brother and sister must work together to keep the new Chancellor from their enemies. The sister, Kalina, was to be trained initially, but as a sickly child, she lacked the constitution. The duty then passed to her brother, Jovan, who seems to have a kind of autism similar to Asperger’s. This makes it tough for him to deal with stressful situations, like attempted assassinations on his chancellor, Tain, who as it happens, is his dearest friend. Both siblings have strengths and weaknesses that make this story ring so true despite the fantastical setting.
The opening is simply sublime. If you are a fan of epic fantasy, this is one to buy and keep forever. I recommend this book with all my heart and soul. Even if there are no dragons. Well, a dragon will guard this book on my special book shelf once I am done enjoying the book fully. I am now a big fan of Sam’s. I think you will be too.
*Reiders are writers, both published and working toward publication, who are under the tutelage of the Queen Of the Known Universe, Janet Reid, agent extraordinaire and shark of many teeth.
Frankie wonders about her writer. Life is so amazing and simple if only one would abide by the Pug code – food, walks, poops, sniffs, toys, and belly rubs. The writer spends so much time staring at a blank white page. How is that fun? And don’t even get Frankie started with all the cleaning and fidgeting.
Yes, the writer must walk and feed the pug. That’s fun. That makes Frankie so happy, and the writer seems most content to give belly rubs and play on the floor with the pug. So why, why does the writer leave so early in the morning most days? It ruins breakfast. Frankie barks and whines, begging the writer not to go.
The writer looks so sad at leaving Frankie behind. She tells Frankie about something called Monday. What ever is a Monday? It should be outlawed if it distresses the writer so much. The pug will have to speak to her walker that will come at lunch time about this strange beast. Maybe the most excellent golden retriever that lives two doors down can track down this Monday and rid us of it. The retriever once stared down a cat. Certainly, she could make a Monday retreat. Frankie is a pacifist and believes a Monday will not be cured by licking it. Yes, best leave it to something not afraid of cats.
Well, Frankie will nap. That is best. When she wakes it will be time for the writer to return. Most evenings after leaving Frankie, the writer looks so beaten down. As if Monday might have bitten the writer. That’s so mean.