Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Ironic

Here I am, lethargic, tired, exhausted, fatigued, drowsy … you get the idea. And what was I working on the last two days? Soren contemplating drugs: amphetamines, methamphetamines and their effect on fatigue (decrease) and energy (increase).

In truth, his contemplation only amounts to a single paragraph in the chapter, but I did read through all my research again.

It’s very difficult to read about this drug, which used to be legal and widely used by people who needed an extra energy boost, while you’re so tired you can’t concentrate or see straight.

Ironic indeed.


PS. In case you wondered why I am so tired: I have chronic insomnia, and I just started a new drug this week. Since I’m a glutton for punishment and eternally hopeful, I like the give drugs a week to prove themselves. It’s only been two days for this one. To say it hasn’t impressed me yet, is an understatement.

PPS. No worries. I’m not tempted to try out amphetamines or methamphetamines. Don’t send me any.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Earthquake

After a week of vog (volcanic air pollution; think smog) and sticky humid weather, the Hawaiian islands were rocked by a powerful 6.6 earthquake yesterday morning.

The earthquake centered just off the coast of the Big Island, Hawai'i island, but it was strong enough to rattle my house on O'ahu.

I was in bed, of course. It was 7 a.m. And I thought a heavy truck was rumbling by my house (unusual, but not unheard of). But the rumbling got louder and the shaking stronger, until the whole house rattled and things started falling off the walls and shelves.

I was up in a flash checking on the kids. My son was watching early morning cartoons, oblivious. My daughter sat up in bed, complaining about her brother shaking her bed.

"Honey, that wasn't your brother."

By the time I got around to putting some clothes on, the house was shaking again and the power went out.

My 3-year-old: "Let's call Handy Manny. He has tools. He can fix things. He can bring batteries for the TV."

Handy Manny, in case you don't know, is a cartoon character. He's a general contractor, and yes, he has tools and fixes things.

I was pretty disappointed. I had had plans for a great writing day. I'd even had playdates for the kids, so they'd be busy and would let me work in peace.

Oh well. The playdates and their mom came over. We hung out. Eventually I grilled some hot dogs and Spaghettios on the grill (in torrential rains, mind you). I am very proud of myself, because that was my first grilling experience. Heidi brought pretzels and carrots. We had plenty of water (we even made tea with grill-heated water), just no power (we got that back in our town around sundown; others are still without power as I type this).

Lessons learned:

having batteries is great; checking the radio to make sure the sizes we have actually fit in the darn thing would have been better
having instant coffee or tea is great, too; having a grill-safe container to heat water in would have been nice, too (I improvised)
scented candles smell nice, but don't illuminate very well
having a good book on hand is key

I am convinced we wouldn't have been as ready and prepared as we were to deal with the power outage and resulting difficulties, if we hadn't survived a few typhoons in Japan where power could be out for days.


My friend who’s vacationing on Maui right now called after the initial quake, telling me they were heading for higher ground in case of a tsunami. I couldn’t tell her anything, because I had no radio or TV, but I figured the warning sirens would be on. Incidentally, we’re safe, because we live way past the evacuation zone and up a mountain.]

The people on the Big Island weren’t so fortunate. There was quite a bit of damage. Sinkholes and mudslides don’t sound like much, but Hawaii island is very rural and if your road is destroyed there isn’t anywhere else to go.

All in all, we did okay.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Self-promotion

Two days ago I stood in the parking lot of my daughter’s elementary school, waiting to pick her up, when the PTA president sees me. She’s in her car across the parking lot. She yells a greeting. I wave back.

She: “Hey, didn’t you write a book? How is that coming?”

Me, beaming: “It’ll be in bookstores in the spring.”

She: “Great. What kind of book was it again?”

I notice heads swiveling in my direction, moms and dads and grandparents. They look at me expectantly.

Me: “A romance novel.”

Satisfied most people tune out. The PTA president waves and drives off.

Later, I kick myself.

***

Yesterday I had lunch with a bunch of ladies I didn’t know (I had to attend an educational function). Someone asked me what I worked.

Me, beaming: “I’m a writer.”

Heads swivel in my direction. Six women ranging in age from early twenties to late fifties look at me with curiosity.

“What do you write?”

Me: “I used to be a reporter, but now I write fiction. In fact, I just finished a book that will be available in the Spring.”

“Oh?”
“Really?”
“Wow.”

Me: “Yes, it’s a gay romance novel.”

“So, uh, what does gay mean?”

Me: “It’s a novel about two men.”

“So, uh, two men. Is there, like, uh, a damsel in distress?”

Me, thinking of the chapter I just revised and Soren saving Mason’s life: “In a way.”

I explain a bit more about the story. I offer my reason for writing gay fiction. We discuss the concept of men in vulnerable circumstances (the “damsel”) and books in general. Right before the lunch break is over, six women whip out pencils and paper and ask me for the name of the novel and if they’ll find it at Borders when it comes out.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Bottom Line

“Bottom line, will the story that goes to print be the story you wrote??”

My friend LaConnie just asked me this over the weekend. You see, LaConnie just sold her first book – Congratulations! – and she had some questions about the revision process.

I imagine there are quite a few writers who cringe when they hear “revisions.” I read an interview where the author likened the revision process to driving bamboo splinters into his eyeballs while tearing his novel apart, chapter by chapter.

Ouch.

LaConnie’s question made me realize how comfortable I feel with Seventh Window. I like working with Ken *waves*. He answers my questions, and he explains stuff. His suggestions and comments come across as just that, suggestions and comments. He manages to focus my attention on just what’s missing or unnecessary in whatever chapter I am working on.

Bottom line: He’s not making me write a new novel based on the original. He’s helping me polish the original’s rough edges.

And I’m happy to report he does all that without the aide of bamboo splinters :-)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Sea Sprite

It’s only fair that I post a picture of The Sea Sprite as well. Here she is:



The Sea Sprite really is a Krogen 58 and “the new flagship and the first of the next generation of trawlers from Kadey-Krogen Yachts.” She was specifically designed with liveaboard comfort in mind, which was why I chose her for Mason.

Nice, isn’t she?