Bobcats…they’re real!

My new neighborhood has an online forum, and for the last couple of weeks, my neighbors have been going on about bobcats in the neighborhood (north of Dallas).

I’ve been a bit sceptical, thinking that some elderly woman with failing eyes (or me without my contact lenses in) might have mistaken a Maine Coon or some large housecat for a bobcat.

Today, I learned otherwise…
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Yes, on my way home from the grocery store, at 11AM, I passed a couple of big cats strolling along one of the main streets…less than a 1/4 mile from my house. (Photo shot from my car, hence the reflection).

In case you can’t tell from that photo, here’s a closeup:

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Yep, that is a bobcat. A juvenile, because he’s a bit small and his facial fur hasn’t reached its full glory.

So I posted the pic on the forum, and I hope that people with little chicken-nugget-sized dogs will keep them inside at night. My dogs are a bit large for them to take on. There are more than enough voles (and nutria!) to keep these two cats busy instead.

And I think it’s really cool that they’re managing to live in this area. More power to them, I say. ;o)

#SFWAPro

Turkey time….probably not in the way you think.

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Our neighbor has purchased turkeys again. I’m afraid he thinks they should be free range, so they’ve joined his guinea fowl in wandering our neighborhood, settling on our roof, and generally driving our dogs nuts.

To get a look at them–because they could evidently hear the turkeys while we were gone to yoga–the dogs broke the blinds in the front dining room. ::sighs::

Now, we love our dogs, and we don’t think there’s any rule preventing our neighbor from using our neighborhood as a giant turkey run*, but the broken blinds are a bit of a pain.

(We’ve decided that as long as we have our dogs, there’s no point in fixing the blinds. But we’ll have to pay eventually).

#SFWAPro

*If the turkey-owner lived in the neighborhood, we could prevent him as part of the HOA, but since he lives on an estate -next to- our neighborhood, we have no power over him.

The Author Visits, More Edits, and Gratuitous Airedale Photos

I am up at The Author Visits this week, with an Amazon Gift Card giveaway, an interview, and a couple of guest posts! Go over and see what’s up!

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Just some further thoughts on my edit process. Below is a pic of the -second- pass of edits regarding my edit letter for The Shores of Spain
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It’s a mess, as you can see. Sometimes edits are like this. Because I moved scenes around, that generated a cascade of tiny continuity errors (most concerning who-knows-what-and-when.) Therefore, after making most of the changes in pass one, I printed out a copy of the ‘corrected’ mss and began going through line by line. I was looking for information that was redundant or left out, along with correcting a few other things from the edit letter.

Now I have to catch just a handful more issues, all of which should be fixed by noon. Then I shall print out yet another corrected copy (this makes 3 manuscripts for this edit letter…so far), and go through line by line again, trying to make sure I’ve got every last little issue covered.

Only when I’m convinced that I’ve done that, will I turn it back in to my editor.

And get back to working on Dreaming Death!

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Finally, the promised Gratuitous Airedale pictures…

This morning (about 5AM) I caught a good shot of Alwyn next to the table where I’m working. Yes, he’s a messy sleeper. (Note the frisbee tucked behind his bed.)
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This, however, is Penny’s Spot. There’s a reason we sometimes call her Smaug, as she tends to stash things she loves either here or her crate–so there’s a big rawhide in there, a toilet paper tube, and a paper towel tube. That’s enough to make her happy ;o)
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And now…back to work!

#SFWAPro

 

Mind Tricks and Airedales

Last week I admitted that I’ve broken off my two-month old relationship with Scrivener, mostly because I was struggling with it not being exactly like Word. Now that’s ALL in my head, and I know it.

One of the other issues I’m struggling with is working at home.  I just got back from a little over an hour at the bagel store, where I wrote over 1K words. Yep, 1K in 1 hour.  (Part of the time I was eating a bagel.)

Yet at home I often struggle to write.

This, like the Scrivener issue, is all in my head.

When I’m at home, I am distracted by two things:

  • Airedales–they are pushy pushy beasts, who do things like break blinds when they don’t get their way. And once they get going, they can bark for a good twenty minutes. And they are very loud.
  • Responsibility–the house and the yard are my responsibility, and my husband is quite understanding when things don’t get cleaned/weeded/cooked.  But I am often distracted while working by the mere knowledge that there are dishes in my sink, dirt on my counters, and dust on my tables. Not to mention the weeds that are taking over my yard since it’s so hot and buggy this time of year!

I’m one of those writers who needs an unbroken period of time in which to work, preferably an hour or more. At home I’m constantly worrying over the little things that need to be done and the possibility of the dogs going off.  So it’s hard for me to get that unbroken time.

Once again, I’m going to try moving my work back upstairs.  That’s harder than it sounds, since I have to come downstairs to let the dogs out.  But I’m trying to teach them that every time they go ballistic, they won’t be rewarded with being let out to attack whatever danger they perceive.  Harder said than done.

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However, since we now have broken blinds in two spots (that happened over the weekend) I don’t have to worry as much about the dogs damaging those blinds…

(The above is pillow damage, not blind damage.)

Therefore, the task for the next month or so is to get my writing back under my control. I intend to take my time back from the dogs, and stop stressing over dirty counters.

Let’s hope that works!

#SFWAPro

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why I’m not online a lot….

With apologies to those of you north of Oklahoma…

According to Accuweather’s month forecast, we’ve had our last freeze. I’ve no doubt we’ll have another one or two, but it looks like -hard- freezes are done with. My yard agrees. That means that it’s time to start the annual clean out and hedge trimming. This will take up all my time outside writing, I suspect, so if I’m even more scarce around here for a while, please be forgiving. The yard is, like my deadline but not my housecleaning, time sensitive.

The crocus have been in bloom for a couple of weeks now.
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The quince is budding (as are the lilacs and the sweet almond.)
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The surprise lilies are sending up straps.
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The first hollyhocks are coming up.
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The daylilies are visible once you pull off their winter beards.
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And for no reason, here’s a pic of Alwyn sucking face with a peanut butter jar.
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#SFWAPro

How (Not) to Talk to a Writer #7

“All writers are equal, but some writers are more equal than others.”

This episode is mostly about writer-on-writer talk. Lately I’ve seen a lot of talk about what it means to be a ‘professional’ writer (approval of a writer’s association, a book contract, making a ‘living’ at writing*…) versus a ‘hobbyist.’

I do believe that Chuck Wendig summed up my feelings on this best with this graphic:
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Just because someone doesn’t meet the same criteria you set out for ‘professionalism’, that doesn’t mean they’re not a writer. They may be choosing not to pursue writing ‘professionally’. Or they may just not have reached the paying aspect of it yet.

A very smart woman once told me “Be nice to newbie writers because you never know which one will be the next J. K. Rowling.”

Will we be perfectly polite and helpful and stoke everyone’s feathers all the time? No. We’re human. We only have so much time and energy. And I, for one, am barely keeping my head above water, so I’m not critiquing for -anyone- right now. (Note how poorly I’ve kept up with my blogging schedule.)

But it never hurts to be respectful of other writers….no matter where they are on the ‘ladder of success’…

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*I dislike this standard. What, precisely, is a living? Is this enough money to get by if you’re traveling around with a backpack, living in public parks, and eating McDonalds every meal? Or are we talking about being Castle, here?

Most writers don’t make enough money to quit their dayjobs and still be able to support their family. It’s not a living. I certainly haven’t made enough from my contract with PRH to support one person for a year, much less myself and two airedales….

Airedales eat a lot.

#SFWAPro

Gratuitous Dog Pic/ The Words

Gratuitous Dog Picture:
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This is Al taking a break during a Frisbee match.
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I’ve been struggling with writing the ‘sailing’ parts of Book 3, mostly because:
1)I haven’t decided what type of yacht I have them sailing yet, and
2)Sailing has a lot of specific terminology, much of which I’ve forgotten since my sailing lessons of a few years ago.

In addition, I’m trying to think of terminology as how it would occur in Portuguese. OK, that’s a convoluted thought, but let me give you a couple of examples.

In English, a ship’s toilet is usually referred to as a head. This word isn’t used in Portuguese (although it does apply in terms of a sail…another usage of the word in English). That said, Marina can’t be confused over the toilet being referred to as the head because as far as I can tell, it’s referred to as a water closet in Portuguese.

In English, ships are often referred to as female. Not so in Portuguese, where ships are things, not generally anthropomorphized. I had to take this out of another story when I caught my main character referring to his ship as ‘she’…oops!

On top of this, there’s the whole set of sailing terms that I have to get right for English readers. Easy example: When you carry a rope onto a ship, it suddenly becomes a line. If you don’t call it a line, sailors will mock you. They know.

So I’m constantly debating terminology as I’m writing. Would a Portuguese person think/say that?

I know I’m going to get things wrong. I’m trying, but there are so many places for me to screw up…

(I’ve talked before about choosing to alter Portuguese naming conventions and I’m using Americanisms such as referring to the floor above the ground floor as the ‘second floor’, so I know I’m already far off base….)

The Prisoner of Airedales

Yes, once again we’re heading back into ‘winter’ weather*, another cold snap and freeze coming, followed by rain (and mud). (Penny is bored.)

The dogs, if they had their druthers, would stand outside in the rain the whole time. I don’t let them, mostly because in early spring when the bermuda grass hasn’t come in, it’s a muddy mess outside. And we have white tile on the first floor.

This is one of the reasons we’re looking at getting rid of the white tile. After 13 years of dogs tracking in Red Oklahoma Dirt, the white tile looks blotchy, and the grout looks terrible. We figure a darker tile with a redder cast and dark grout would go far in hiding the mud. With light walls and lots of windows, we don’t think darker tile will make the place look small. And my floors won’t constantly look dirty. They might -be- dirty, it just won’t be as apparent.

We’re looking at this replacement tile, using this small mosaic in the back entryway and normal 12x12s for the remaining hallways and the kitchen. (The other rooms in the public areas have that faux-wood).
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Because this will require a wet saw, I am not going to tackle it myself. We’d actually pay a pro to do this. Still in the formative stages, but this will probably be the ‘summer project.’

*Winter as defined by Texas standards, not Minnesota standards.

The Prisoner of Airedales

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I was recently looking back at puppy photos in my files, and came across this one of Al and Penny not long after we acquired them. I think they were just over 3 months in this pic.

Here Penny is contentedly killing the hedgehog. Al is giving the camera the crazy eye.

That should have been a warning to us that they were going to turn into this:
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This is why we don’t leave them alone for hours on end. You think Al looks innocent in that pic? Catch the piece of foam on his chin.