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Saturday, January 17, 2015

this and that

In a Pacific Northwest winter, we know we have to take our great days when we see them roll in as often the weather forecast had no clue what was coming. We've had a lot of foggy, gray days but sprinkled in there have been some with beautiful blue skies. If we had more rain and less fog, I'd be more pleased. This is a region that needs quite a lot to make for a good summer. The mountains have been low on snow levels. They say that early winter snow is the best for summer river flow as it takes longer to melt; so even getting snow up there now won't be as good.

Our creek is not fed with snow melt, as we are in the Oregon Coast Range, which gets very little snow. What makes it keep its flow is rain that recharges the springs which feed it. These hills are full of springs-- when all is going well. I won't worry yet, but I am also aware it could be another dry summer which is a bigger deal for us toward the end when we want to irrigate as well as to be sure enough rain falls to recharge our well.

Most of my work right now is going into writing and editing the books-- hopefully. I finished the rough draft for a novella and its first edit. I learned something interesting, for those of you who might want to write. I love every story I write, think they are wonderful-- until I begin the edits. That's when what-the-heck-was-I-thinking comes into play. It's when I think-- nobody will want to read this book because there isn't enough drama, sex, angst, etc. You name it.

Where I liked this romance of an older woman and man, as well as the family they had created from their friends, this isn't the kind of romance that romance readers likely most want. Novellas can be slice of life stories and that's how I see this one. It doesn't begin where many romances do, and there is no huge violent moment in it. It's a simple, plain story of love in old age. 

It was an enjoyable writing experience, as having a book that doesn't have to do something, and where I can let it unfold with grace, lets me get into the experience with no expectations for where it's going. I liked these people and how romance in one's 60s can be (a good word for it is surprising)

Will readers be attracted to it? I won't know for awhile; but considering my other novella, A Montana Christmas, also a slice of life story, didn't set reader's hearts on fire, I won't have expectations regarding this one. Sometimes you write a story because it came to you or in the case of this one, belongs in the bigger story of a family. This was one such. 

Ranch Boss created this cover from the elements I wanted as a way to give a feel for the book. I really like what he did. It's nice to have novellas look a little different than full length novels.
Monday I saw my orthodontist, the one who did the root canal in the summer. I really like him, had worried about this visit, but was relieved when after a thorough exam, which included a CT scan, that there was no infection. The bone has been regenerating below the tooth as it should have. The probable reason for the tooth discomfort is the nerve right below it and how close the tooth is to it-- Plus my habit of grinding my teeth. I have no idea why some people do this but during the summer I came to realize how often I grit my teeth. Not good for teeth or pain in the long run. 

He has recommended Botox to retrain my muscles. He injects it into the muscles along the jaw and in the hairline that control the grinding and at a low enough dose that I am not aware of it at all as far as feeling any different for facial expression.  Anyway if it works, I will definitely write about it here. Due to tooth grinding, I cracked one tooth and have worn down others. During the day I can remind myself to stop that (and fully understand how often i do it), but at night, that's where the Botox comes in. We shall see.

My dreams have been particularly intense lately. I woke from one Wednesday morning and remembered the story, which was about a school that was misusing students. There was a man who was trying to fix the situation. Twice in the dream he said-- Seeking power was for children. Winning is what matters. I awoke unsure of his exact wording, but that is the gist of its meaning. I used this thought in my [Rant] this week because although at first it might seem the two sentences are contradictory, they are not when you think about it.

The problem with our world is totally blowing it with understanding what power can really gain. So often those who seek it don't really win anything. They see the power as a goal but at the best, power is a tool. The goal is to win.

Win what, you might ask. That is the challenge of life. What makes a win for you? Using someone else's criteria won't cut it. Misunderstanding what makes for winning is, I think, at the heart of a lot of human problems. People seek power for power's sake and where does that leave them? I think there should be more teaching of philosophy in school to get students to think of a bigger picture of what life can be. Of course, that's not happening in our current situation with partisan politics controlling or trying to control everything.

Anyway, for me, my world is one of writing, reading research material, editing, letting cats in and out as they aren't fond of cold gray days, and enjoying the stream of dreams as I try to remember and use them in one way or another. 

After another editing job for the first in the Oregon historical series, I will be starting what I used to call the fourth Arizona historical... except what does that make the novella? 3½?


Tabor said...

I do like the cover, but wishing the roses were not so realistic and more impressionistic or sepia to match the mood of the gun. I admire your ability to see clearly frailty prose and mistakes in your writing. We fall in love with what we say as if it was our own child and hesitate changes, I know! I do so hope that you have success with this new novella and hit a sweet spot in your market.

Linda Kay said...

Good luck with your novella! I belong to a group of writers (Women of Words) and we critique each others' writing. The brutal honesty helps us to look at our writing from a different perspective. Very helpful. Please join me on Wednesdays to write short stories from a picture. The announcement of the link-up is on Sunday.

Rain Trueax said...

The roses are in my garden, a line along one fence of old fashioneds that I treasure greatly each year, Tabor. I liked that one is getting old although both are at the end of their blooming life. I bought the one of the gun but it is a photo, not sure why it seems less sharp.

And Linda, feel free to put a link here to what you are talking about. I am fine with links when they relate to the topic :) And that sounds like it does. Maybe you'd like to write about it for my Rain Trueax blog where it's about writing. That blog has been growing in numbers. Well, it goes up and down :) Rain Trueax. Keeping these blogs up right now, when I am so into my own writing, can be a challenge.

Rain Trueax said...

Incidentally, Tabor, I think softening the top rose would be a good idea. It turns out, when I asked him, that Ranch Boss said he had softened the gun ;)

Tara said...

my hat is off to writers. it is a skill and craft that takes a lot of practice and work. I enjoyed the one book of yours I read, and was happy to delve into a genre that I was unfamiliar with. In college, Creative Writing was one of the most challenging class I took -- and I took it for many semesters because it was a great brain exercise! And because sometimes I actually produced something coherent and whole.

Rain Trueax said...

Tara, you and another, Hattie, are ones that it meant a lot to me that you would try romance when it wasn't your usual thing to read. I think a lot of people really don't know what romances are like and are basing the whole genre on the old jokes-- of which some still fit :). But it's very neat when someone tries something new. That's how I ended up though addicted to the Iron Druid books ;)

Ashleigh Burroughs said...

Winning... something which has been rambling around the corners of my bloggy mind lately. Finishing dead last in 2 5K's... but finishing!!...expectations vs capabilities, internal vs external, filling my heart or pinning a ribbon on my bulletin board. Thanks for getting me thinking again.

Rain Trueax said...

I think a lot of times we win just by participating. I'd be dead last in anything like that-- if I could even finish it but it's because I've quit doing what I know I should do by walking increasing amounts to build up endurance. I spend too much time writing these days. And now they tell us that is unhealthy. Of course, if you read all the opinions out there, living is unhealthy ;)

joared said...

I don't think in terms of winning and losing -- some experiences are simply more successful/pleasurable or whatever -- all are learning opportunities.

Don't know that I thought that way when I was much younger. Not sure exactly when my thinking evolved to this point.

Best wishes with your most recent writing endeavor. Sounds like you have more creations already planned for the future. Wonder if you have a set or flexible writing schedule?

Rain Trueax said...

I think the concept of winning is that what we do, that thing that is pleasurable, is getting us to a larger goal and we know what that is. Maybe peace of mind or satisfying a creative need. We tend to think of winning in a competitive way but I think this is not so much that.

And I have a schedule for writing that is pretty firm-- most days and probably 7 or 8 hours but it's broken up into different kinds of projects between books.

The schedule for bringing them out is looser as it's my choice. Rose's Gift though will be out the first of February. Amazon sometimes impacts whether I can put a date with that. I have total flexibility to when I bring out the first Oregon historical because it's written and I even have a trailer for it; so it's when it feels right. Currently I am aiming at March 21, my brother's birthday, and the first day of spring by the calendar. In actuality, I think spring here begins Feb. 2 with Imbolc (the Celtic celebration of spring beginning. It means Ewe's Milk, and we are deep into lambing at the moment.

I ran into another thing that I need to change about an earlier book as we are going to give KU a try despite my misgivings. My publisher, Ranch Boss, believes we should do it. The book we will be trying it with is Sky Daughter which hasn't sold hardly any copies for whatever reason. So new cover and take it out of the other sites that currently sell it. I didn't want to do it. Oh, I said that, but he is my partner and I figure if I don't ever take his advice on the books, it won't seem as though he is ;). We shall see how it goes. I think it won't make one bit of difference for it, but the way Amazon ranks books, having them not be in it has hurt all of mine even when they get sales :(

Rose's Gift though will go out as the others have-- to all the selling sites ;)