Monday, February 20, 2006

Whales, etc.

I have an incredible photo of a whale winking right at the camera sitting on my desk. My daughter took it when she was 8 year old. We had sailed from San Juan island on a small eco friendly boat to try and spot a few whales. The captain, our guide--a naturalist, two families with young kids, and an older lady and her daughter. The large double decker tourist boats broke the rules all morning long and crossed the established boundaries (we were told the boats had to keep a certain distance at all times from the whales they spotted). Our animal loving naturalist told the kids that our boat followed the rules put in place to protect the whales. Thus, we were occasionally rewarded with a sighting of a few black blobs way far away and, after two hours, all the kids snuggled under wool blankets and forgot about the whales.

At noon, the captain cut the motor and the boat drifted while we warmed up. Everyone chatted, and gave up on actually seeing anything more exciting than a school of fish. Most of us were standing at the side rails of the boat sea-gazing, when only a few feet away, an enormous black Orca rose slowly out of the water and plopped back down splashing all of us. My daughter began shooting photos one after the other. The rest of us stood mesmerized as three whales "played around" our boat for fifteen or twenty minutes, almost as if on purpose--like they were giving the kids the show they'd missed all morning. I remember being stunned, amazed, and absolutey awed. It was as if they were teasing us. One of the photos is a close up of one of the whales with a glint in his big side eye--- as if he was thinking, if I can't have some fish today for lunch, I'll have the boat.

I know that glint,,,,that's the way I feel about reading. I rather read a book but in a pinch I'll settle for a brochure, a trade magazine, or an appliance manual. One insomniatic night many years ago, I found myself at a hotel on business, luggage lost, and no book to read. Panic! I pored over the tabbed hotel notebook for a while until it occurred to me there might be a newspaper in the lobby.

I love to read.

Random leaps in my old photo of Orca, muse on how much I love to read, and put off reworking a difficult section of Chapter 4.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

First Novels

Reading Ross King's novel, Domino because I enjoyed his historical suspense novel, Ex Libris. The language in Ex-Libris was flowery but interesting. The language in Domino (takes place in 1770's) is downright weighty. Although I'm enjoying the story, the language can be a slog at times. I noticed last night this was his first novel and it sent me off on a mental tangent, thinking about first novels.

Today I'm wondering if I will look back at Dear Dr. Shamroy one day and absolutely cringe. Perhaps. At this point I still like the humor and Shamroy's ridiculous platitudes and quotes. Still, five years from now.........

I'm totally avoiding writing AND the enormous pile of critique that is due online with my writer's group today. I just want to write about those shape shifting cockroaches that grow in cocoons on the Isle of Daki and then migrate to the U.S. to carry out their nefarious plots. This sounds like so much more fun than researching diamond smuggling for Ch. 4 of A Prolonged Coincidence. In fact the shape shifters idea might go Hollywood in a hooker's minute.

The critiques can no longer be avoided. Have a good day to all who stop by.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


A lot of questions today--sort of like weeds! They're not important, but, they are there.

Why are query letters so hard to get right?
Why do I write?
How can I catch the evil typo worm that lives in my P.C.?
Why did our VIce President shoot someone?

That's it. Back to Chapter 3 of A Prolonged Coincidence.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Quote

Came across this quote by Samuel Beckett this morning:
"Try again. Fail again. Fail better."

I continue on my second draft of the novel I'm working on now secure in the knowledge that there will always be revision. Re-drafting, polishing, replotting, reworking (Dana, see what you started.)

Is a novel ever really finished?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Random Thoughts

A blog with titles for authors seeking titles. Someone else thought this up but I like the idea. It could be The TitleList. Corny I guess. That's why I need a blog with title ideas.

Quote by Ursula LeGuin: It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters in the end.

I'd like to think that's true. Some days (like today!) writing seems like such a solitary trip down a dotted line on a map leading to oblivion. But, I wrote anyway and finished a rewrite of Chapter 2.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Armegeddon for Shape Shifting Cockroaches

The deals are out there and apparently, the more bizarre your story, the better. My next story is going to involve shape shifting cockroaches on the path to Armegeddon.

Forget the plot construction, the layers, the play on words, the careful arrangement of phrases in the novel I'm working on. As the cockroaches grow in numbers, they can not be stopped. Their path of destruction threatens the entire planet (and Mars too before it's all over).

The world of diamond smuggling plays into my novel currently in progress. I though it was exciting until I read about some of the book deals out there today.

Friday, February 03, 2006

New Words, Open Eyes

Discovered a new word last night: japanned - a noun - articles made in a Japanese style, esp. when decorated with lacquer or enamellike varnish. Used in a novel I'm reading an piqued my interest.

Guess that's what it's all about with writers...keeping an eye for the strangeness of ordinary life, the odd expression. Ordinary words gaining momentum as the writer puts them in motion. Strange new words dropping in. Well used words. Words you have to stop and look up. In the end a story.