Friday, May 23, 2014

Tired of Megalomaniacs and other thoughts

I read all sorts of books. I like character driven ones the most. I used to say that I liked epic fantasy and space opera, but maybe my tastes are changing. I am getting really sick of THE BIG BAD.

I lost interest in Star Trek TNG when the Borg arrived. And a variety of other shows when the evil that cannot be defeated showed up. I like the day to day conflicts. The problems that can be wrapped up with smarts and ethics (and superior firepower).

Megalomaniacs are an especial problem to me. There was a trend in writing to try to personify the villain. A lot of books went into the twisted point of view of the bad guy. After a few too many senseless torture scenes, I gave up. I'm tired of the quest for world domination. Why would a guy want to destroy the world to rule it anyway? I never quite understood that. If it all is blasted nothingness, what's to rule?

While learning to craft a story, I started writing from the villain's POV and realized I did not want to go there. How could I possibly understand a crazy killer? I didn't want to get all caught up in the dark thoughts and nastiness. What I ended up doing was writing from the other side. The reactions to the villain's deeds set the right tone for me.

I have found a bunch of new authors who are writing what I want to read right now. Daniel Abraham is wonderful. His stories are full of rich world building and interesting characters. I think they lean toward epic fantasy, but there are no doomed armies marching out to battle the undefeatable evil.

The real world is depressing enough sometimes, I don't need hopelessness in my favorite escape.



Thursday, May 8, 2014

From flood to drought


It's hot, hot, way too hot for May.

My peas are drooping and the lettuce is burning up. Poor things. Last year I was slogging around in rubber boots in ankle-deep water and this year I'm watering soil so dry it cracked. Except for that four inches of rain we got in one night which flooded the garden.

I am sooo glad I went to raised beds. Even with that, a couple of them were coated in mud (and the patio and the porch). I lost some beet seedlings and maybe some napa cabbage. I wasn't sure if they had come up yet. This year was the easiest for prep that I've ever had. Weeded, tossed in some compost and voila! the beds were ready. Love it.

So I thought I would be ahead of things. Then I decided to tackle the stairs. I didn't anchor them properly the first time and they were always shifting and slipping. We were going to hire someone, but that turned out to be way out of the budget. I can see why. All the digging and hauling, it's very time consuming. But I'm working my muscles, and that's always good. Just wish it wasn't so blasted hot.


Previous incarnation of the steps.
 
My great-great grandfather was a stone-cutter, so maybe it's in the blood. I am doing a much bigger job of it this time. Which I think will be the third or fourth time I've built these damn things. There were 19 steps to the top of the hill where the rest of the backyard is level. I call it the terrace. The steps are turning out great. I made them deeper, and less tall which will make for more steps in the long run. I will need to redesign the plantings along the side. It's a lot of work. But it'll look so nice when it's all done.

And then I can finally carry the lawn mower up to the terrace, which hasn't been mowed since June of last year. Ugh.



Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lethal Seasons coming August 1!

Fingers crossed that I have allowed myself enough time to finish the book! But I am being bold and declaring August 1 to be my publication date for Lethal Seasons, book 1 in the Changed World Series.

Whew.

I'm doing a few things differently this time. First of all, I gave out the rough draft before it was done. I knew it needed some work, still, but I wanted some feedback on where to really spend my time. And the feedback I got was a little different than what I felt needed work. Although there was some overlap. Working on the first rewrite now. Hoping to get it to my second round of readers by next week.

Whew.

Second big change - I hired an artist for the cover.  Alex Storer  He has some very cool art. And he is being very accommodating. He's shown me some sketches and things are really moving along! Very exciting!

Whew.

The garden is calling, I should be writing and the house needs a major clean for all the company we're having this month. Yikes. Better get to it!