Monthly Archives: May 2009

Ah, spring!

This weekend is absolutely amazing. Clear sunny days, temperatures in the 70s, spring flowers and green foliage everywhere. I love it here in this kind of weather.

Jay finished fencing the front part of the property this afternoon, so I was able to turn the horses out for a while. They’d been eyeing the ungrazed grass for a while, so they were happy to get out. They’re good ponies — relaxed, gentle. Although they certainly have a good time and do their share of cutting up, I don’t ever worry that they’ll do something malicious, and they’re both sensible enough that I don’t worry about stupid stuff either. It was nice to just wander around with them, enjoying them and the gorgeous day.

My container garder is enjoying the warm weather too. We have had several days with highs in the mid-40s since Mother’s Day and several days with cold spring storms. I watered the containers religiously, but they stubbornly refused to grow, and I thought maybe the cold weather had killed the seeds. Either that or I had a browner thumb than I’d ever dream. (Seriously, how sad would it be if I couldn’t even get vegetables to grow in a container?)

But suddenly in the last few days, green sprouts have sprung up in every container. The cucumbers are doing especially well — I swear they’ve grown every time I look at them. The tomato plant hasn’t died <eye roll>, and there are sprouts in the container where I planted carrots and green onions. Not sure which of those I’m seeing, because they both look like weeds in the beginning. The last ones to appear were the peas and the soybeans, but as of today, they’re peeking up too. I’m having so much fun with this!

I love sunny spring days!

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Rethinking POV

In the ultimate example of putting the cart before the horse, I wrote a query letter for my novel:

Ten-year-old Lucas Gibson knows there’s not enough money for his mom’s textbooks, a new alternator, or even a Mega Mini Scooter, but he’s not worried. His dad has been hired to train an imported retriever for a field trial, and he promises that when they win, their family problems will be over. But the promise seems lost when his father is killed in an accident that disables both Lucas and the dog and leaves their family deep in debt.

Still, Lucas can’t forget. Despite his mother’s objections, the boy takes on the challenge of rehabbing the dog. Joined by his wayfaring uncle and a woman who trains chickens for carnivals, Lucas sets out to save his crumbling family only to find that field trials don’t make people rich, the bank is going to foreclose regardless, and worst of all, winning will require him to choose between his father’s dream and the dog he loves. His dad’s promise sure isn’t turning out like Lucas expected. Can his family help him preserve his faith in his father and his father’s dream?

A FATHER’S PROMISE, a 100,000 word novel written for the commercial/mainstream fiction market, is a story of hope and healing as three generations of an estranged family come together to fulfill a father’s last promise to his son.

I asked some people for feedback, and nearly everyone thought that it sounded like a middle grade or young adult novel. They thought it would be dificult to have a 10-year-old protagonist carry a mainstream novel, especially for a full 100,000 words.

I agree! Problem is, Lucas isn’t the protagonist — his uncle Charm is. But you’d NEVER know that from reading this query. I tried rewriting the query focusing on Charm instead, and it wasn’t nearly as clear or compelling. That bugged me, and I’ve been mulling about it for a while.

It occurred to me today that it may be that this query works well because it’s the better way of telling the story. To focus on Lucas instead of Charm would make it an entirely different book. It *would* be a middle grade or young adult novel, and it would focus much more specifically on the A plot, which would cut the word count significantly. I would stick strictly to Lucas’s point of view, which would mean that I would have to ensure all key events occurred in his presence. In the same vein, I’d have to change how many of the events happen, because Lucas would need to be the driving force of much of what happens. I would also still want the basic character arcs I had planned for the other characters to occur, but they too would need to happen when Lucas could witness them.

I’m completely torn about whether I should do this. It’s not like I have the whole thing written and just can’t bear to start over. I just wish I knew which way would turn out the better book. It would really suck to guess wrong!

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Crisis averted

My mom had a medical crisis last night. At the time, we and the doctors thought it was a mild stroke, but they symptoms disappeared within a few hours, and although the final test results aren’t in, they think it was something called “Transient Global Amnesia.” It’s a very rare event and highly unlikely to reoccur. So we had a few tense hours, but it looks like everything is completely fine.

Of course, my brother and I were scared to death. Mom lives by herself in Memphis. Jeff and Stephanie live in Atlanta, and Jay and I live out here in Washington. We were infinitely grateful that Mom was out to dinner with her dear friend Laurie when the episode happened. What if she had been home alone? That terrifies me.

Mom is extremely independent — and healthy. She’s in her mid-70s, yes, but she’s healthier than I am. The woman works out regularly and goes dancing several times a week, for goodness sake. She’s sharp as a tack and perfectly capable of taking care of herself… but last night shows that can change in the blink of an eye. And then what do we do?

Jeff and Stephanie are going to Memphis tomorrow. Thankfully, it probably is an unnecessary trip, more for their comfort than for Mother’s. (She’ll be annoyed to be fussed over.) I’m worried about next time though… and it would be foolish to think there won’t be a next time. Sometime.

I just hope it’s a long way away.

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Pflouff and Aslan

Aslan has been smitten with Pflouff since she entered this house. Just one or two “lessons” from him early on (roaring, not even putting his teeth on her), and she has been the perfect playmate — completely respectful, but a great wrestling partner when he wants one.

Sigh. Until today.

Aslan got his summer haircut today. A couple of years ago we began shaving him for the summer. Murder on the coat, but he’s just a pet, and he’s sooooo happy when he’s cool and comfy. Well, he came home from the groomer tired, cranky — and looking completely different. As soon as he got out of the car, he and Pflouff were fence fighting.

I’m used to him being growly after grooming and vet appointments, so I just separated him from the others. I’m using an ex-pen, so he’s not banished… just not able to interact with them.

Problem is, PFLOUFF won’t let it go. He has had a nap and dinner and a chance to stretch his legs and relax, and he’s feeling much happier. But Pflouff apparently thinks he’s the devil incarnate. She went charging up to him hackles raised and barking when I went up to feed him a treat. (He, I’m glad to report, was more interested in the food than in her. So he got extra!)

I’m hoping that with a few more hours this evening plus a good night’s sleep, they’ll be back to normal tomorrow.

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