Friday, January 30, 2015

Time

The days already seem longer and January is just about gone. Not that it vaguely feels like the midst of winter here in Southern California.

I got the edits for WOUND UP IN MURDER with a very short turn around time. A week. My editor really liked the manuscript and said it was “funny, moving, well plotted and filled with heart.” The changes she suggested are
minor and all easy to address, but I always take this opportunity to go over the whole manuscript and give it a polish. Since there has been quite a bit of time since I have worked on the manuscript, I have a fresh eye.

All of this takes time, which made me think about time in general. In the past when I’ve had about the same amount of time to go over a manuscript, I have freaked out a little and put everything on hold while I worked on the manuscript.

This time I can’t do that because of our family business. We have seminars next week and I have to prepare all the materials we give out, while dealing with appointments we have this week. I hate to miss out on the gym as it makes the rest of my day so much better.

I have it figured out that if I go over 50 pages a day I will be able to send it back on time. There is no set time that it takes as sometimes I can read over page after page without changing anything, or I can spend over an hour trying to rewrite a paragraph.

The funny thing is I’m not freaking out at all, but have discovered that it is true that the busier you are, the more you are able to get done. I’m not sure how it works for others, but I think I waste less time. I move from one task to another more quickly. Also I think I am more realistic about how long it takes to do something.

Well, times up for blog writing - my manuscript awaits.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Liftoff Success!

Tracy MacDonald and Fiona
Tracy MacDonald and Fiona
Today is my blogging day on Inkspot., the blog for the authors of Midnight Ink.  And it seems only fitting at the end of my book launch to thank some of the great people who have helped me make it such a success.  Even better--I have never met any of these people in person!

The gifts of yoga live everywhere--even in people who've never done a single pose.  Check out some of my favorites at http://midnightwriters.blogspot.com/2015/01/liftoff-success.html

Tracy Weber

          A Killer Retreat

Come visit Whole Life Yoga in Seattle, and check out Tracy Weber’s author page for information about the Downward Dog Mysteries series.  A KILLER RETREAT and MURDER STRIKES A POSE are available at book sellers everywhere! 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Weather or Not?

Hi to all of you who are fighting blizzards or other snow storms.  Once more, here in Southern California, we've had a bit of rain, which is very, very welcome.  Snow?  Not this year, although believe it or not I've seen a little snow in Los Angeles over the years.  Very little, and not recently, though.  But believe me, I'm not trying to rub it in.  I sympathize with all of you who are having to plan your days around the weather.

I grew up in Pittsburgh and changes in weather seemed natural to me.  My favorite season was fall, since it wasn't hot and humid like summer and neither was it snowy and hard to get around, like winter.  Plus, I loved to see the leaves on trees change color.  Spring was okay, too, but only second best to me. 

And now?  I've lived in LA for a long time and the seasons blend into one another, generally consisting of rainy or not.  And lately, rainy doesn't rule, although this year we're at least seeing some of that welcome wetness.

Because I live in LA, a lot of my stories also take place in Southern California so weather doesn't play a huge role.  However, my next Harlequin Nocturne, another in my Alpha Force mini-series, takes place in Canada.  There's a hint about coldness and snow in the mountains in that story but it doesn't take place in the most severe weather.  

My upcoming Barkery and Biscuits Mysteries are located in a fictional town in the San Bernardino Mountains near LA.  The first one doesn't have a lot of reference to the weather there, although my protagonist's brother takes people out on expeditions that can include hiking, boating, swimming--or skiing or treks in the snow.  The next book I'll be writing is number two in that series, and I'm considering setting it in fall or winter.  If so, I'll be including weather.  However, it's more likely to occur in summer since book number one in the series, BITE THE BISCUIT, will be published in May and it's set in the spring. 

I'm currently watching the overcast sky over the San Fernando Valley and enjoying it as I write.  And I hope all of you, wherever you are and whatever your weather, are doing well and taking full advantage of your climate. 
 
So--tell us.  What's the weather where you are?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Hot-to-Molly

A typical pun from Burma Vita:

Pedro
Walked
Back Home By Golly
His Bristly Chin
Was Hot-to-Molly
Burma Shave

Went to a cat show this past Saturday.  It was supposed to be a really big one, but wasn’t.  For some reason cat shows are losing their popularity.  There were a lot of Maine Coon Cats – enormous creatures with lots of thick fur – but hardly and Sphyinx cats – small, very thin animals with fantastically narrow faces and huge ears.  I bought a cat-themed t-shirt I’ll wear in England, and ordered a pair of brilliantly sparkling saphire-blue earrings.  I saw a cat fancier wearing them and she told me she’d bought them from a vendor at the show, but when I went over to see them, the artist had brought only that one pair.  But she’ll make me a duplicate pair.  I also bought a book by Jerome Tonneson called Buttercup, a self-published book with a lovely photograph of his cat on the cover.  Perhaps surprisingly (self-published books can be awful), it’s charming and really well-written, with lots of photographs.

I went to my opthamalogist on Monday, and he says the cataract in my right eye has now reached a stage where removal is called for.  We have set a tentative date of February 9.  My left eye’s cataract was removed several years ago with no complications.  I’ve been aware for several months that it was going to happen, and I’m glad it will be done and healed before I leave for England in late March.  I want a clear view of all there is to see.

There was a time when movies like “Selma” and “American Sniper” would have been high on the list of movies I want to see.  But somehow that isn’t true any more – or at least not right now.  On Thursday I’m going with three other people to see “Paddington.”  It’s not quite as frivolous a choice as it might seem.  As a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism, I am an abbess, and one rule of nuns is that they can’t go gadding about alone (actually as a good Benedictine, I'm not supposed to be gadding about at all, but if you’ve read Canterbury Tales, you know they gadded to their hearts’ content).  But no one else in my shire wanted to be a nun, so I invented a Mass Priest, Father Hugh of Paddington.  A small, brown fellow, with kind, anxious eyes, he even had a tonsure.  I take him everywhere, of course - he once sat on the queen's lap! - so he had become well known in the SCA.  As research into Medieval nunneries, I wrote about him, and me, in a set of chap books set at Deer Abbey in the fifteenth century, and then in a series of short stories published by Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine – though in the stories he wasn’t a stuffed bear.  I loved the original Paddington Bear books and I understand they’ve done an excellent job bringing him to life on the silver screen.