Wednesday, November 30, 2005

It's not tasty being green

      I had my last cup of green tea last night. I've been on this health kick lately, and a friend of mine (whom I will never trust again) told me that green tea was healthy and "tasted good." Somehow she maintained a straight face when she said it. So I bought some, and as I toiled on my NaNoWriMo novel over the past few weeks, I thought I'd give it a try.
      It's a cliché, of course, but the idea of an author being fueled by some beverage, be it coffee, alcohol or tea has been with us ever since Gok pounded on a rock while he was fueled by fermented dinosaur milk. I don't drink coffee because my IBD won't tolerate it. I don't drink alcohol, but I'm not some fanatic teetotaler about it. If you want to sully the sacred temple of your body by swilling liquids created in the pits of Hell to destroy lives and wreck relationships until all concerned are whoring themselves in the gutter, far be from me to stand in your staggering way. Go for it. Have a double. Anyway, tea is my drink of choice.
      I prefer Viennese Earl Grey, but I also enjoy orange pekoe (which isn't actually a brand, but a type of tea -- never mind). For a fried chicken church dinner, I think Lipton (unsweetened) is excellent, although I know tea connoisseurs have just started fluttering their white hankies to fan their shocked faces. I don't drink a lot of tea. I can nurse a hot, steaming cup through an entire writing session. Just a few occasional sips when I pause to read my incredible, fantastic, flowing, lyrical, wise words. Ahem.
      Anyway, my friend (?) told me that green tea was incredibly good for your body. It's loaded with antioxidants that help clear free radicals out of your body. I do think this is true. I can see free radicals leaving as fast as possible. After all, if you were willing to drink green tea, who knows what other crap you might pour down your body? Free radicals ain't stupid.
      I had my doubts since it really didn't look like tea, but I heated my water and then placed the tea ball in there to seep. Yes, I said tea ball. I don't know who thought of the idea of placing tea in gauze, but to me, those packets always look like something you're afraid the doctor left in you after surgery, particularly after they plump up with water. I know a few purists who insist that even using a tea ball is wrong. They think that the tea should just be placed loose into a bone china teapot filled with hot water and allowed to gradually settle to the bottom while they discuss Royal Family and why marrying close cousins really is a capital idea.
      Right now the green tea lovers are hopping up and down and dying to tell me that I need to try their brand because it's delicious. I say to them now: You're all lying weasels. Because I tried several brands. See, I'm not very bright so when the first one was bad, I thought, "Huh, maybe it went bad," so I bought another brand. It was worse so then I thought maybe the stocks in that store were bad so I tried a couple different brands from another store. And then I grabbed another brand at another store. Right now in my kitchen I have five opened boxes of green tea. I hope they won't be toxic in the landfill.
      Truthfully, part of the problem is that they call it "tea." Your mouth thinks it's going to get tea and instead it gets alfalfa juice. That's the problem with soy milk. People expect the taste of milk. They should call it "soy drink" or "soy liquid" or "soy spit." Then no one would be disappointed by taste expectations.
      Anyway, I tried it with honey, then with sugar, then cut with real tea and then other options. Eventually I was drinking a beverage made of real tea, a pound of sugar, cream, half a cup of honey, 1/3 cup of raspberry juice and a teaspoon of green tea. And I could still taste the green tea. You could put a drop in paint thinner, and it would flavor the whole can.
      So that's my adventure with green tea. But all is not lost. It turns out that strawberries contain tons of antioxidants, and I like strawberries. But not in my tea. The only thing that belongs in tea is a cube of sugar and a spoon. You can quote me.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Winner's circle

      I've won NANOWRIMO! I'm exhausted, word weary and absolutely exhilarated. More about this tomorrow. But thank you all for your support. I couldn't have done it without you cheering me on. Good night, sleep tight and have a great tomorrow!

Monday, November 28, 2005

Coming around the curve

      Another 2,000, and that brings the total to 47,002. Just 3,000 more, and I will have won NaNoWriMo for the first time! I am so looking forward to hitting that 50,000 word mark.
      I sure appreciate everyone's support. To reward you (if it is a reward, but if it isn't, I don't have any cash to send you, so you're going to have to make do) here is another excerpt from Darkness, Oklahoma.

Excerpt 2 from Darkness, Oklahoma

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. You may not copy, print or use this in any form. You can read it, but read it real fast so that it doesn't stay stuck on your eyeballs. Otherwise two men in gray suits will visit you and break your knees ...

      Nurse Darcy Trutell hung up the phone and swore softly.
      "What's up?" Lisa Dixon asked, dropping a chart into the receiving tray at the nurses' station.
      Darcy looked over at the aide. "That was Helen. She's going to be late. She wants me to cover for a couple of hours."
      Lisa shook her head. "You should have said you wouldn't. What was her excuse this time?"
      "She said her daughter forgot a paper that's due today," Darcy said. "She has to take it to the school, and then she needs to pay her insurance."
      "If you keep letting her get away with it, she's going to keep taking advantage of you," Lisa said. "It would piss me off, that's for sure."
      Particularly since I know Helen is lying, Darcy thought. Just like she knew that Lisa wouldn't volunteer to help and that Lisa didn't care about Darcy one way or another. Once, that uncaring would have hurt Darcy or made her mad. Now it just made her tired.
      "Well, I'm off," Lisa said. "At least Margaret won't be late." She and Darcy exchanged a look at the mention of the day aide.
      "Have a good day," Darcy said, wishing that Margaret wasn't so lazy. In the month Darcy had worked at the Eliza Rhiden Memorial Hospital, she hadn't seen Margaret do much of anything, and that she did grudgingly. Any other hospital would have fired Margaret, but her father was on the board. Besides, ERMH had the same staffing problems that other small hospitals had. Why work in Darkness when an RN could make triple the money in Oklahoma City?
      That's what Darcy would have done if things had been different. As it was, she was grateful for the job. At least she wasn't in North Carolina any longer, and if she could build up a good record again, she might be able to make the move to the city in a year or two. For that, she could work a couple of hours extra. She just wished she wasn't so tired. She hadn't been sleeping well; this was the first time in her career that she had to work the night shift.
      She picked up the report she'd prepared for the day shift and put it in the flow tray. Then she checked for new orders and began her rounds. Thankfully the patient census was low. She only had three patients.
      She shivered in a sudden cold draft. The hairs rose on the back of her neck. She looked over her shoulder to see the dead man.
      She swore, closed her eyes, and then opened them again. He was still there. "No, not again," she snapped. "Go away."
      She walked into her first patient's room. As she did the morning assessment, she was conscious of the dead man standing in the door. Her mouth tightened. She wouldn't let this happen again. She wouldn't.
      "You must help him," the dead man said.
      "I'll be right back, Mrs. Simpson, in a few minutes," Darcy said, brightly. The elderly woman smiled at her and turned her attention back to the television.
      Darcy stalked out of the room and made the rest of her round with the ghost watching her. With the vital signs of all her patients checked, she went to the pharmacy and pulled the meds. She pushed the meds cart to the nurses' station. Margaret sat at the nurses' station, leafing through a magazine.
      "Margaret, Mr. Fields in 212 needs to be turned," Darcy said. Margaret looked at her and then back at her magazine. Darcy felt her face tighten. "Now."
      Margaret looked startled, dropped her magazine, and hurried to the room.
      "You must help him."
      Darcy glared at the ghost. She looked up and down the hall, then said in a furious whisper, "Get out of here. I don't want you here. I'm not going to listen! I'm not going to help you. I'm done with that." She turned back to the cart, double-checking to make sure the meds were correct. She still needed to take vitals before she passed out any medication.
      "I am beyond help," the dead man said. "I am damned by own actions. I was misled, but it was my choice. I took the Mark willingly. It was my sin, and now I will pay for it."
      Darcy paused. This didn't sound like the run-of-the-mill haunting. None of that "Tell her I love her even though I was sleeping with her sister" or "You must take a message to my estranged son whom I haven't seen since I kicked his sorry hide out of my home years ago." She shook her head. No, she wasn't interested. It was none of her concern. She had enough to deal with. She had learned that if she ignored a ghost, eventually they went away. But any attention just fed them. She should have never spoken to him at all.
      "I am doomed, but you must help him," the ghost said. "You both have been called to a Purpose. You will know him by his eyes. He has the eyes of a hunter. You must save him so that he can save you. The Bone Queen has awakened and even now seeks the Sword of Silence. You must not allow her to wield it or all is lost."
      "She will do to all what she has done to me." The dead man reached his hands inside his shirt and pulled open his chest to reveal a black void that spun out toward Darcy. She didn't even have time to scream before the cold blackness closed around her and crushed her into oblivion.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

The home stretch

      Yesterday was a better day for words. I wrote 3,000 on Darkness, Oklahoma. I'm about to get started today. I need at least 2,000. I'd like to get 3,000 if possible. NaNoWiMo ends Wednesday at midnight. I'm taking it right down to the wire.
      Nancy asked what are my plans for the novel when it's finished. Well, first thing is that I'm going to print it out and see exactly what I have. There will be plenty of corrections, I'm sure, and plenty of changes. I already know it will need another 20,000 to 25,000 words to be published. I want to add more descriptions, more character interaction and more humor. Right now, it's a bit grim. It's not a comedy, but many of these characters are intelligent and funny. I need to bring it out. I also know that some of the narratives -- I'm using a lot of viewpoints -- need to be united. A couple of them might even be eliminated, their information better served in another character's narrative.
      Anyway, that's my January project. I intend to continue writing a 1,000 words a day through December and January. Naturally there will be days off in there, and I'm not going to sweat it like I did NaNoWriMo, but I'd like for the first draft to be finished by the end of January. After that, I'll be asking some of you to read through it and give me your opinions and suggestions. From there, I'll revise and revise and revise. Somewhere in that, it will finally reach the limits of my writing skill. Then I'll start submitting it to agents and publishers.
      What are my writing plans after that? I want to go back and finish Dragons Gather. I have a lot of time and words invested in that story. It needs to be completed so that I can finally see what exactly I have there. I also plan on self-publishing a book of my humor pieces. I have over 200 humorous stories, some published in various newspapers and magazines, and of course, the ones here and in my monthly newsletter. I think I'd like to put them all in a collected form. I also want to revise Murder by Dewey Decimal and Murder by the Acre and turn the outline of Murder by the Mile into a book.
      Anyway, that's some of my plans for 2006 writing projects. Oh, and in there, I plan on doing NaNoWriMo 2006. I'm hoping I can convince some more of you to join me in that madness. Speaking of which, I need to stop stalling and start writing.
      Talk to ya later.

Friday, November 25, 2005

The grind

      A very bad day for words, but I got another 2,000, bringing the total to 40,025. I just lack 10,000 words now. That's pretty exciting. I've got five days left, and I'm off work the next two. I think I'm going to make it.
      But man, it's slow. I've written all the easy scenes, and now it's putting the connecting the scenes and the necessary scenes and all that stuff that makes a middle part so difficult for me.
      I actually am writing this book from the beginning and back from the end. I'm hoping they meet somewhere in the middle. It wouldn't be much fun if they slid pass each other. Does that make sense? I mean the whole paragraph. I'm a little word-woozy right now.
      Anyway, I had a good Thanksgiving. Must have ate too much rich food because I've battled with IBD all day. Not fun, but it's been controllable.
      Anyway, I got no news. What's happening in your world? Share!
      And have a great day tomorrow!

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

A Thanksgiving Prayer
By Samuel F. Pugh

O God, when I have food,
help me to remember the hungry;
When I have work,
help me to remember the jobless;
When I have a home,
help me to remember those who have no home at all;
When I am without pain,
help me to remember those who suffer,
And remembering,
help me to destroy my complacency;
bestir my compassion,
and be concerned enough to help;
By word and deed,
those who cry out for what we take for granted.

A Thanksgiving Joke

      A turkey farmer was always experimenting with breeding to perfect a better turkey. His family was fond of the leg portion for dinner and there were never enough legs for everyone. After many frustrating attempts, the farmer was relating the results of his efforts to his friends at the general store get together. "Well I finally did it! I bred a turkey that has 6 legs!"
      They all asked the farmer how it tasted.
      "I don't know," said the farmer. "I never could catch the dang thing!"

Thanksgiving Riddles

What kind of music did the Pilgrims like?

Plymouth Rock

What did the turkey say before it was roasted?

Boy! I'm stuffed!

Which side of the turkey has the most feathers?

The outside

Why did they let the turkey join the band?

Because he had the drumsticks

How did the Mayflower show that it liked America?

It hugged the shore

Why did the police arrest the turkey?

They suspected it of fowl play.

A link to Thanksgiving Cartoons

Happy Thankgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2005


      Don't have much more to add than the word count and to wish you all a happy, safe and blessed Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


      Okay, three thousand words tonight. It wasn't easy, but I was lifted up by something cool that came in the mail today.
      You may recall that three or four weeks ago, I won a drawing on the Paperback Writer site ran by S.L. (Shelia Lynn) Viehl. Today my prizes came: Private Demon by Lynn Viehl, Last Girl Dancing by Holly Lisle, and Threads of Malice by Tamara Siler Jones. (Click on the books to purchase them from What with NaNoWriMo and everything going on in my personal life, I had actually forgotten I had won. So it was a wonderful surprise to receive three new books. And here's something even cooler: Lynn signed her book and also signed a bookmark, and she included a signed bookmark by Tamara Jones! Is that awesome or what? I had been feeling a bit down about NaNoWriMo because I had started out so well and then got behind and am having to rush to catch up. This just cheered me up immensely. Thank you, Lynn Viehl. I needed that.
      And now I need sleep. Night!

Monday, November 21, 2005


      I know, I know. I said I'd post something besides word count, but I'm sorry. I didn't have time. But rejoice with me that the word count is still rising and think how soon December 1 will be here and this self-imposed NaNoWriMo madness will be over! Have a great evening and wonderful tomorrow.

Sunday, November 20, 2005


      Well, that's it for tonight. I'm not where I'd like to be yet, but NaNoWriMo has moved back into the realm of the possible. Tomorrow I'll try to post something other than this boring word count. In fact, I've been working on a humor piece, tentatively titled "Tea Time." I don't know if I'll get a chance to finish it this week since NaNoWriMo has to come first, but I've found it helps to take a break from NaNoWriMo sometimes.
      My friend Nancy called me this afternoon. I had loaned her Talyn by Holly Lisle about three weeks ago. She said she finally had a chance to sit down with it today and she is "absolutely loving" it. That's a quote. She said she's going to try to find some more of Holly's books on Amazon. I suggested the World Gates series, but didn't tell her I had them so she didn't ask to borrow them. Hey, Holly would probably appreciate the sales.
      It was cool to hear one of my friends confirm my opinion of Holly's writing. I recommend authors and loan books to people all the time, but rarely do I hear if they liked them or not. (By the way, if you haven't bought Talyn yet, click here to order it from Amazon. It's a dark, sexy and exciting fantasy novel. Worth your time, and it would make a great Christmas gift.)
      I hope everyone else is blogging up a storm. I'm looking forward to getting caught up with y'all when I finish NaNoWriMo (or it finishes me).
      Oh, I got the poster finished for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. I think it turned out really well despite the rush job. Or maybe it did because of the deadline. Sometimes a deadline can spur a person's best work, I think.
      And now guys, I'm going to call it a night. Have a great week. Catch you on the flipside of tomorrow.


      I don't have much more to add than the wordcount, but it's going up slowly but surely. If I keep going, I might still win NaNoWriMo. Be back in another 500 or so words.


      Breaking for 10 minutes to give my head a rest. Also to stretch my legs. The words are coming slow, but they're coming. Not complaining. I'm glad to have them any way that they get here. I've done most of the easy scenes. That's why it's going so slow. I'm having to connect and move forward and keep all the characters going the same way. It's like juggling with greased balls. Gotta walk around a bit before getting back to it. Later.


      Congrats to Jean who finished her NaNoWriMo today! Way to write, Jean! You're my hero and my inspiration!


      And so begins another day at the writing mill. I'm hoping have to have four thousand today. Anything over would be helpful, but I'm outrunning my imagination. I'm hoping it learns to run faster real soon. Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 19, 2005


      Barely 28,000, but I'm all out tonight. I'll be back at it tomorrow. I'm hoping for at least 3,000 words tomorrow or even 4,000. If I can do that, I'll be close to being back on track to win NaNoWriMo. Thanks to Michelle and Gloria for their support tonight. See y'all tomorrow, and you have a great evening and wonderful tomorrow.


      The words are still coming. I'm hoping we reach 28,000 tonight. Back to the writing. And thanks to Michelle and Gloria for cheering me on tonight! I appreciate it.


      I'm getting the words. I'd like to do at least another 1,000 tonight. Thanks for the encouragement, Gloria! Nice to know someone is out there tonight cheering me on!


      The halfway point in NaNoWriMo. I'm racing now, trying to make up the words I've missed. After today, I'll have exactly 10 days to write 25,000 more. I don't know if I can do it, but I'm going to go down trying. I'll post updates at every 500 words tonight. I won't update the word counter until when I finish for the evening. Be thinking of me! I need all the positive energy I can get!

Friday, November 18, 2005

The reason

      I've got five minutes before I have to be somewhere trying to keep a friend from going off the deep end. That's what I did last night instead of NaNoWriMo; I only got 600 words when I needed 2,000. God only knows when I'll make them up.
      Let me tell you this, and it's harsh and it's true, no one will ever support your dream as much as you. You can't rely on your loved ones to support you, to go the extra mile, to understand. They have other priorities, and they might nod and give great lip service, but when push comes to shove and shove to full body blows, you're on your own. That's the price of dreams.
      People ask me why I never married. I could say all sorts of things, but it comes down to this. I've never found anyone who believed in me and my dreams. And that's what I want.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


      The words came hard tonight. Not much fun. People keep telling me to not edit, to just let the words flow. Guys, I got that. And sometimes the words flow. Sometimes I have to go down there and pull them out one by one. But whatever it takes, I'm going to get them. That's the important thing.
      Over at the NaNoWriMo site, one of the profile questions asks you to share the soundtrack of your novel. I had difficulty in finding the right music to aid me in this book, but I've finally settled on Peter Gabriel. Not the pop of "Big Time" or "Sledgehammer." But "Games Without Frontiers," "The Rhythm of the Heat," "Wallflower," "San Jacinto" and others seem to have the texture and depth that this book requires. But I've also been listening to a bit of Go West, as pop as you can get without listening to the Backstreet Boys. Go figure.
      It got cold here. Have I mentioned lately how much I loathe cold weather? I won't harp on it again, but just remember, I hate cold weather. And snow should be outlawed. Which, if the nation continues to follow the president's global warming policy, could happen.
      Yeah, I think global warming is happening. I've read nearly 100 scientific papers about it. These aren't the fun articles that get written up in the magazines and that the politicians like to hold when they're gesturing to make a point. No, these are the boring ones with stats and graphs and so much careful hedging that you want to scream at the writers who take forever to get to a point and even then you might miss it, but at the core of the articles, no one denies the world is getting warmer. Now, it might be a natural trend; it could be man-made. Let's hope it's man-made. Then we might have a chance of reversing it. If it's truly a product of the earth's eons-old weather patterns, that's not going to be good for humanity. And we won't be able to do a blamed thing about it. Except wait for the next ice age. The good news is that we are overdue for another ice age. Or is that good news? I hate cold weather.
      Anyway, that's all I have to say tonight. I hope things are going well where you are. And if it's cold, I hope you're safe and warm. Good night!

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Encouraging words

      Have you read the excerpt from Darkness, Oklahoma yet? It's yesterday's entry. It will only be there until the end of the week, and then I'll be removing it. I certainly appreciate all the praise. Getting sick and being behind in my word count kinda took the wind out of my sails so your encouraging words helped. Thank you all.
      I haven't been able to comment on other blogs as much as I'd like to this month. Do know that I'm reading you whether or not I comment. I'm just really pressed for time. In December you won't be able to shut me up.
      In the bad news department, I've gained back five of the pounds I've lost. So I signed back up for Weight Watchers again. I think I was gaining when I was going to the gym -- something I haven't been able to do during NaNoWriMo -- but I was letting myself eat things I shouldn't just because I was going to gym. It's probably true for all diets that it's not so much a diet as a lifestyle change that really bring results. So far, I'm struggling with that change, so it's back to Weight Watchers, I go. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho! Both Frenzied Feline and Jamie have news of this sort on their blogs. They know how hard it is. But I'm confident we can all win the battle of the bulge.
      And here's a post from Paperback Writer that I wholeheartedly agree with and am glad it was said. (I wish I had wrote it.) I read a few articles in various writers magazines when John Banville won the Booker Prize. I thought he was arrogant and rude concerning other authors not as lucky as he is. I don't think he will ever find anyone who loves him as much as he does. He would be very happy in a room by himself with a mirror. Anyway, PW said it best.
      Speaking of writing, I'm still doing okay with NaNoWriMo. As long as I do 2,000 words a day, I'll reach 50,000 by the end of the month. And I was already doing that so I'm going to be okay, health and God willing. If I get a weekend in there where I can write, write, write, I'll even get ahead again.
      Speaking of health, I'm still fighting whatever this virus was, but I'm doing much better. My throat is still sore, and I keep running a low-grade fever off and on, but every day it's better.
      I've got to get the poster for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever finished. The play is in three weeks, and I need to get it finished so that it can be put up. Well, really four weeks, but the sooner it's done, the sooner I don't have to worry about it.
      I've got to get ready for work now. I need to leave early so that I can go by the bank and run another errand. Not enough hours in the day, but I think you know that. Have a great day.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Excerpt from Darkness, Oklahoma

Copyright 2005. All rights reserved. You may not copy, print or use this in any form. You can read it, but read it real fast so that it doesn't stay stuck on your eyeballs. Otherwise two men in gray suits will visit you and break your knees ...


      As soon as he got out of his Ford F-250, Police Chief Luke Jacobi sensed the vampire. His nose flared, and he spat to the side. Early morning dew glistened on the weeds and grass, and the air was misty. He smelled the vibrant growing life of the woods. Overlaying all that, the faint metallic tang of blood lingered. He sighed. Dealing with a dead body was a rotten way to start a day. Dealing with the vampire would make it worse.
      He walked past the coroner's wagon toward the clearing where a couple of deputies were unrolling yellow tape to protect the crime scene and another one was on his knees, throwing up.
      "It's weird, Chief," said Sergeant Shelia Vaughn with obvious relish. "We've not seen one like this before."
      Luke nodded. Shelia's interest in the unusual and gruesome made her perfect for the police department of Darkness, Oklahoma, but it was tiresome at times. He looked at the kneeling deputy. "Pake, watch where you're throwing up."
      "I made sure the ground was clear," Pake said in a weak voice.
      Shelia rolled her eyes. Stan Houseman, the other deputy, grinned. New to the force, Pake had yet to develop the stomach needed. He would, or he wouldn't last long. Darkness had its share of car wrecks and domestic assaults. Not to mention the other problems that arose sometimes.
      "So?" Luke asked Shelia.
      "Fay Purcell was walking her dog," Shelia said, pulling out her notebook. "He got away from her. When she went to catch him, she found the body. She called it in on her cell phone at 6:17 this morning."
      "Purcell?" Luke asked.
      "She owns that tea shop downtown," Shelia said. "The Crumpet and Cuppa. She went on to work. I told her you would stop by later. She didn't freak, but she was shook up. Kept saying a good cup of tea was all she needed. Pake, Stan and I arrived and secured the area. Not that it took much securing. We haven't found anything."
      Luke walked to where the county coroner was taking photos of the body.
      "Morning, Richard," Luke said, pulling out a pack of Camels and lighting one up.
      "That's a nasty habit," Richard Pickerton said. "You should quit."
      Pickerton had quit several months ago and had started annoying other people about it. Luke toyed with offering the coroner one, but decided to just ignore him. He could lay odds that cancer wasn't going to be what killed him. He took a deep draw on the cigarette.
      Pickerton took another photo and then looked at the chief with somber, mismatched eyes. "I've got a bad feeling about this one, Luke."
      "You always have a bad feeling," Luke said. He knelt and studied the crumpled body on the ground. It -- the dead man -- looked strangely flat, like he had been crushed by a huge weight. He was wearing a black shirt and blue jeans with beat-up cowboy boots. Blood had dripped from the man's eyes, and his purpled tongue protruded from his slack mouth. Luke didn’t recognize him, but being near Interstate 35 meant that strangers sometimes drifted into Darkness. Sometimes, if they were lucky, they got to drift out.
      "I'm usually right," Pickerton said. He indicated the man. "I can't even tell you how this was done."
      "How what was done?" Luke snapped. "Get to the point, damn it."
      Pickerton's eyebrows rose. "Miss your morning coffee?"
      Luke shrugged and said levelly, "My time of the month."
      Pickerton turned back to the body."Okay. He's a white male in his twenties, I'd think. No ID on his body. Pockets are empty other than lint. I doubt he was killed here. He was killed fairly recently, maybe last night or early morning, but it's hard to know for sure. Not much blood around. None, in fact, and that's not the only thing that missing." Pickerton looked at Luke and grinned. "In fact, he's half the man he used to be. Someone scooped him out. He's missing all of his viscera, his ribs and all of his bones from neck down up to his legs." Reaching out a gloved hand, Pickerton squeezed one of the dead man's legs. His hand left an obvious indention. "And there's something strange."
      "There's a strange part?" Luke asked dryly. "You mean stranger than someone having all their bones removed?"
      "Yeah, it was all done through here." Pickerton opened the man's shirt to reveal a small oval-shaped wound on the man's stomach.
      "No way," Luke said.
      "He doesn't have any other wounds that I can find," Pickerton said. "So far, that's it. I'll know more when I get him to the morgue."
      "What's that?" Luke asked, pointing.
      Pickerton opened the man's shirt further. "A tattoo of some sort."
      The tattoo surrounded the man's navel. It looked like a stylized eye, an oval with a wavy line above it and a straight line below it. Luke frowned. The tattoo seemed to squirm in the daylight.
      "Might make him easier to ID," Pickerton said. "I've not seen one like that before."
      "Anything else?" Luke asked.
      "There was dew under the body," Pickerton said. "Another indicator that he was killed somewhere else."
      Ignoring the vampire, Luke looked around the small clearing. It lay fifty or so yards off the road. The trees of Watts Woods surrounded it like a fence. Old man Watts had died before completely clearing his land of the old growth forest, and his son lived in California and seemed content to let the woods take back the land. The city council had made noises about making a nature preserve a few years ago, but the son didn't want to give it away or sell it.
      "Well, a few more pictures and I'm finished here," Pickerton said. "Stop by later. I'll see what he tells us."
      Luke nodded and rose. He took another draw of his cigarette. Might as well get it over with, he thought. He walked toward the woods. Shelia started to follow him, but he waved her off. "Have to take a leak," he said. Shelia didn't know of the vampire, and he intended for it to stay that way. Luke didn't and couldn't trust the vampire. An inherent killer, the vampire would eventually murder again, and then Luke would kill him.
      The chief stopped in the sunlight and pinched out his cigarette before putting back into the pack. He knew it annoyed the vampire to have to wait, and Luke was in the mood to annoy him. Luke stepped into the woods.
      "Good morning, Chief," the vampire said, his voice low.
      "Is this one of yours?" Luke asked brusquely.
      The vampire frowned. "Of course not, and you know it. Don't be rude. That was uncalled for."
      Luke felt a snarl building and forced it back down. "Maybe so, but what are you doing here if he's not one of yours?"
      "I ran into Mrs. Purcell as I was going in," the vampire said. "Naturally she told me so I came to see if I could help."
      "Very civic minded of you," Luke said. "Would you like a medal?"
      The vampire stared at him angrily, his fangs flashing. Luke tensed, his body feeling the need for violence.
      After a long moment, the vampire visibly relaxed. "Oh, I understand your mood now. I had forgot the date. You do such a good job that I sometimes forget … the pressure you operate under."
      "Watch it," Luke snapped. But the vampire did have a point. He couldn't allow his personal distaste interfere with his job. He swallowed his ire. "Do you know anything?"
      "No, but this disturbs me," the vampire said. "I know many of the creatures who prey on humans. None of them do what was done to this man. None of them can. This is something … darker. Perhaps older. Or newer." He shrugged. "It's impossible to say. I will learn what I can and let you know if I find anything." The vampire paused and looked at the chief. The silence grew.
      Luke felt the pressure. "Thank you," Luke said shortly.
      The vampire's eyes glittered. "You're welcome. See how delightful common courtesy is? We should all practice it more. Now I am fatigued and need to rest before I have to go to work. Good day." He turned and darted into the woods with that incredible speed that always made Luke worry about that day when he and the vampire would finally have to have it out once and for all. Well, no use borrowing trouble from the future, Luke thought. Got plenty now.
      He walked back to the others, his eyes scanning the ground for anything the deputies might have missed. A strange scent hung in the air, one that he couldn't place. Musty with a bit of rot. He paused and took a deeper breath, tasting the air. Something else lurked in the scent. Animal? It certainly wasn't human. He frowned.
      The deputies brought out a stretcher. Pickerton and Shelia put the body on it, and the deputies loaded it into the coroner's wagon. Pickerton drove off, giving Luke a quick wave.
      "What's the plan?" Shelia asked as the others walked to their cars.
      "The usual," Luke said. "Report it to the state. Ask around and see if anyone saw him before he was killed. See if his fingerprints show up on any database."
      "Someone dumped him here," Shelia said. "Maybe a mob hit."
      "Yeah, the mob usually de-bones their victims," Luke said dryly.
      "Maybe they're doing that just to throw the FBI off their trail," Shelia said.
      Luke didn't reply. Anything he said would just encourage her. He headed for his Ford, even in his mood appreciating the clean lines of the new truck and its dark maroon metallic paint. He stopped to touch its hood. He'd better like it, he thought. He'd be paying for it for the next seven years.
      "Chief," Stan called out from beside a patrol car, holding the microphone to the radio. "Minnie says the Blyman sisters are acting up again. Their neighbors are asking to you come by quick."
      Luke swore. Just what he didn't need, to spend his morning acting as referee to the quarreling old biddies.
      "Tell Minnie I'll go by later," Luke said.
      "Chief, Minnie says it's real bad," Stan said. "Trees and bushes are catching fire all over the neighborhood. Nothing major, but folks are worried."
      Luke sighed. "Tell her I'm on the way. I hope they don't burn down the town before I get there."
      He slammed the truck door, a part of him wincing as he did so. He jammed the gas to the floor and roared down the road. It was childish, but it made him feel better.
      In the woods, a creature watched. Only its eyes swiveled to watch the chief and then the deputies drive away. Only then did it move, slowly stretching its new, strange body, stepping away from the tree trunk that it had changed its body to resemble. It took a few hesitant steps. It found the new form unwieldy with strange bumps and only four limbs. It had been difficult for it to fold its true shape into this form, but it would adapt quickly. It had been made for such things.
      But it needed more strength, it decided. It would have to kill a few more humans for the raw materials. This was agreeable since it hated all humans equally, but its true hatred focused on the vampire and its miserable kind. They played at evil and rejoiced in their little victories while ignoring the true Master. The creature vowed to kill the vampire if the opportunity arose as long as the killing didn't interfere with its Purpose.
      The thought of its Purpose sent a rapturous thrill through the creature's body. To be chosen for this task showed that the Servants had recognized its power. Slowly from the depths of its being, its name rose. Senkarn, the Bone Queen. It smiled, revealing narrow, triple rows of gleaming white teeth. It hissed the name, its long tongue rolling over the sounds. With its name came memories
      And puzzlement. There should have been attendants on its birth. Had it already been betrayed? Had the followers of Substance somehow interfered? Why then had they allowed it to be born?
       No matter. It had been birthed from blood and pain, called back from the depths to battle once again those who fouled the purity of the Void. If its attendants had fallen, it would Mark new slaves. It would not be defeated this time. It would not.
      Senkarn clothed itself in mist and floated through the woods, heading for the town of Darkness, Oklahoma. Sweet suffering and pain called to it. And there would be a glorious, unending river of death when its Purpose was accomplished ...

To be continued in Darkness, Oklahoma.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Best laid plans

      Well, I've had better weekends. Doubtless I've had worse, too, but this one sure wasn't any fun. My bad weekend started on Thursday night when I woke up sick at midnight. I'll spare you the gruesome details, but I ... ah ... lost fluid in a variety of ways from midnight until nine the next morning. It was either food poisoning or a stomach virus, but it put me down for the count. There were several times when I swore I was NEVER going to eat anything again.
      Anyway, I'm better. Not quite right yet, but getting there. I'm trying to figure out how to salvage my NaNoWriMo goals. Obviously I'll need more than 1,700 words a day to make 50,000 by month end. I hope that I get a couple of free weekends in there and make it up. I'm not going to give up yet.
      Not much to say otherwise since I didn't do anything this weekend except be sick, sleep and stare at the ceiling. So I'm going to get back to writing and not fall any further behind. Y'all have a good week.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Running behind

      Behind on NaNoWriMo. I'm hoping to catch up this weekend. I'm only about 1,000 off. I should be able to make that up. I hope. Anyway, this is going to short. I'm tired. But I did want to share my Mikey's Halloween photo.
      Let evildoers beware. The Batmikey is on the job!

Other things

      Did I mention that in the midst of NaNoWriMo, I've got several other projects going? It's all part of my attempt to load me up until I snap and start running around town naked with occasional stops to dance the Funky Chicken. But not ballet or disco. I'm talking the Funky Chicken as imagined by the school of modern dance. Something tasteful and refined with just a touch of pathos.
      Anyway, while you're numb from that mental image, let's discuss what's on my plate. (We just can't get away from those cooking and food metaphors, can we? We just need to push away from the table on this.)
      First, I finished my family's monthly newsletter and printed and mailed it yesterday. Now I have to start working on the December issue. The Christmas issue always has more pages and is mailed to a lot more people. (The regular monthly issues are only mailed to my subscribers.)
      Second, I need to create a poster for my local theater group's production of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, get it approved, printed and put up around town. And if they're going to have me do the program, I need to start on that.
      Third, I need to get my Christmas card addresses typed back into the computer. For that matter, I need to get the cards ready to mail the first week of December.
      Fourth, I'm making some of the gifts I'm giving this year, and I need to get them done. Actually I need to get them started!
      Fifth, I need to clean up around the outside of my house. My roomie's let some clutter collect from his various projects, and the house is looking just a little too much white trash with emphasis on trash.
      Sixth, Christmas shopping for my various nieces, nephew, godsons, siblings, family and friends. I shudder at this normally, but this year I'm taking a gift certificate and food approach this year. I'm hoping that will take some of the pressure off.
      Eighth, I'd like to put together another chapbook of my poetry and get someone to publish it.
      Ninth, I'd like to finish the new template for this blog. I have the new one almost finished, but it's got a problem that I haven't been able to solve yet. It would be cool to launch the new look on January 1.
      Tenth, I'll be directing Murder On The Rerun during January and February. I'd like to get the poster and program designed as well as the set so that I won't be so covered up when rehearsals begin.
      Eleventh, all the usual things that fill my days: Laundry, cooking, dishwashing, my job, etc. Somewhere in this, I'd like to sale some more articles or at least get them out there circulating to some editors. Oh, and continue to work out at the gym and lose weight and continue my debt reduction plan.
      Speaking of the DRP, it's still going on. I've been targeting another of my credit cards, and I should pay it off December of next year. And if things go as planned, another one will get paid off December of 2007. That will leave me with one credit card, my second mortgage and my first mortgage. The final credit card will be paid off December of 2008. Then I take aim at my second mortgage. It should be gone by sometime in 2010; the first mortgage around 2013. And then I'm out of debt. Naturally I hope that the timetable goes faster than that. A windfall in there would help. Like selling a book or two. Of course, I have to finish the dang things.
      Anyway, back to NaNoWriMo today. I didn't get all the words I needed last night so now I'm behind. I'm intending to catch up today or start catching up so that I can catch up this weekend and pull a little ahead. We'll see how that goes. The best laid plans of mice and writers ...
      Have a great day.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


      I'm never quite sure where my writing ideas come from. I can trace them -- sort of -- but lots of things swirl together in the blender of my mind. (We're doing cooking metaphors today. See how many you can spot.) Everything gets mixed up in there, and eventually something pours out.
      For instance, the recipe for my stalled fantasy novel Dragons Gather started with me reading a book about a carnival. Well, really the book was a mystery about a murder at a carnival, but I thought the carnival was more interesting than the mystery. It occurred to me that a carnival in a land where magic existed faced certain problems. What wonders would they have to perform to keep a crowd's interest?
      Some more ingredients. Sometime back I read Stephen R. Donaldson's The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever. I found the theme of guilt and redemption to be powerful in those books. Particularly the idea that innocence was precious but also powerless to defend itself.
      A few years ago, a friend of mine fell in love with a woman who had a criminal record, drug and alcohol problems, and a host of other emotional issues. A lot of us thought he'd lost his mind, but he loved her and kept loving her and that love changed her. They're married today and have two children. Their life together speaks much about the redemptive power of love.
      And also from real life, I watched a friend leave his marriage, not realizing that what he really wanted from life was her. By the time he figured it out, she had moved on to a new love. It was a hard lesson, and one that almost broke him.
      So from all that came Dragons Gather, the story of man who thinks that magic is what he needs, ignoring love until he suffers the tragic consequences of his choice and realizes his folly too late.
      Or something like that. When I got into the story, the characters had their own ideas about how it was going to work out. After 65,000 or so words, I realized that none of us knew where we were going. I set it aside. I will come back to it and finish it soon, I hope, but for now, I have to figure out where it's going and why.
      Now Darkness, Oklahoma has its origins from a series of books that I read back in college. Thieves World was a shared world series that featured short stories from various authors using the same setting and many of the same characters. In its heyday, it was exciting reading and proof that too many cooks don't necessarily spoil the soup.
      After Holly Lisle came by my blog and I read her excellent books, I started to think how cool it would be to co-author something with her. And maybe with S.L. Viehl. And Lazette Gifford. And what about Carolyn Hart? How cool would it be to work with all of them?
      So I thought of a town in which all the fictional monsters of the world -- vampires, werewolves, ghosts, ghouls, zombies, witches, etc. -- gathered to make a life for themselves. I thought about how that town would function and what monsters would be there. To keep an unity that Thieves World lacked, I wanted a back story to the town, a secret war that affected everyone and provided a basis for all the various stories, some of which would prominently feature the war, some of which wouldn't, depending on the authors' tastes.
      Well, the idea was cool, but naturally I never approached any of those authors about it. I couldn't imagine why they would want to write with me, considering my lack of publishing credits. (Two one-act plays, a host of poems, one poetry chapbook, newspaper articles and a few magazine articles aren't publishing credits that scream, "New York Best Selling Author." And my entire 'relationship' with the above-mentioned authors consists of reading their blogs and books, a few comments and a couple of emails -- hardly anything to start us picking out china patterns together.) Besides, I got interested in the war and the stories of the people and the monsters and how the town would actually work if such a thing existed. In other words, it went from being a shared world to my world.
      I spoke with Crystal about the story (Crystal and I have written three plays together, and I've found she's an excellent person to bounce story ideas off of) and she helped me by asking questions that further refined the plot. Eventually I had to start writing it. NaNoWriMo came by at the right time. NaNoWriMo's daily quota also convinced me I needed an outline for the story, something I didn't do for Dragon's Gather, which could be why it stalled and a way to get it going again.
      I have never followed a recipe exactly. As I've mentioned, I've varied from the outline some, but I still seem to be heading in the right direction. I'm hoping that by NaNoWriMo's end, I'll have some delicious reading to share with you. (Oh, I'm up to 14,044 words, by the way. Still on track.)

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The map of the narrative

      Last night I told you that we were going to discuss my NaNoWriMo book. So I thought I would this morning instead of trying to get a couple of hundred words on it before I go to work. (I got up late and really don't have time to get into it.) Also, I wanted to set in my mind the broad shape of the novel and look at the narrative map and see if I can get there from here.
      The book is titled Darkness, Oklahoma. It's a horror/adventure novel in the sense of the movie Aliens, i.e. facing terrible and powerful creatures but not overwhelming so. Well, maybe Aliens is the wrong comparison because you might be thinking guns and military types. Nope, this is story about a small town in Oklahoma that happens to end up being the latest battleground between good and evil.
      On the evil side, the Marked Ones, commandeered by the Senkarn, the Bone Queen. Senkarn intends to exterminate humanity. Actually, that's just a small part of her plans. Her goal is to rip the heart out of Heaven and present it as a gift to her Master.
      On the good side, we have a police chief, a nurse and a priest, who are all more than they appear, but are beset with all our human weaknesses and follies. They've been chosen to stand against the Bone Queen and evil she represents. They're helped and hindered by a saint, an ancient vampire, a coven of witches, ghosts and several more surprises, including the Triumphant Baptist Church Ladies Prayer and Quilting Circle.
      Naturally horrific moments abound as well as ones that demonstrate our capacity to rise above evil. It culminates in a battle where the fate of Darkness and the whole world hangs in the balance.
      Well, at least that's my plan. To write Darkness, Oklahoma, I had to construct a fairly detailed outline. It has a lot of plot points that have to woven together to create a coherent whole. Of course, the first thing I did was to deviate from it. (I have a streak of rebellion that runs clear through me. I am capable of rebelling even against me!) The priest, who started as a minor character in my outline, grew into a full-fledged spiritual warrior. The Bone Queen became more ... ah ... physical in her efforts. The witches turned out to have goals of their own, making them tricky allies at best. It's like trying to herd cats, but I've been ruthless. They all understand that if they move too far away from the outline, I will have cut them off. So we -- evil Power, vampire, ghosts, witches, zombies, humans, etc. -- are moving in the same direction. I think.
      It's also a love story. Yes, I know, it doesn't seem like there would be room, does there? But this battle would be full of "sound and fury, signifying nothing" if humans weren't involved. And humans fall in and out of love and generally muck things up because, hey, that's what we do.
      I won't tell you more since I don't want to spoil the story for you. (I'm hoping that several of you will be willing to read it when it's done and give me your input.)
      One last thing. Completing NaNoWriMo won't be the end of the book. I figure that the book needs between 75,000 to 100,000 words to properly tell the story, not to mention publishers seem to require that length.
      So that's what I'm working on this month. I'm sure we'll be talking about it more. I also want to give my thanks to Crystal who has already started reading the novel and providing valuable input as it barrels along. Y'all have a good day, and I'll be talking with you later.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Hard fought, but done

      The words didn't come easy tonight, but I reached 12,095. Still on track. It's like Mama Rose said. It's a day-by-day thing. You do what you need to do each day, and eventually you've done the whole thing. That's true in a lot of things in life.
      I'm not worried about it being hard at the first. Right now I'm juggling creating the setting, introducing the characters, and getting the plot in place. It will get easier once I'm past this, and the conflicts continue to grow. Get characters in conflict, and the story will fly.
      Tonight the love interests finally met each other. I can't tell you how grateful I was to write that scene and get those two started on their story. Finally we're starting on the meat of the story instead of just setting the table.
      Now things can really start happening. Hold on tight; it's going to be quite a trip. Tomorrow I'll talk about the book itself and what it's about. Until then, take care.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bad day

      It was a bad day, but I still managed to reach 10,218 words. So I'm still on track. I'm now going to retreat to my bedroom and read someone else's words for a bit.
      But I do have a favor to ask. Without revealing what I can't reveal, I'd like to ask that you remember my roomie in your prayers. He's facing a hard situation and could do with a miracle or two. He is being oppressed by a situation brought on by someone who needs to have a change of heart, and I don't see how anyone but God can bring it about. So I'd appreciate it if you nag the Big Guy on his behalf. Thank you, good night and have a good week. I'll see you tomorrow when we will brave a new day together.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Still crazy after all these years

      I reached 9,010 words today. I shouldn't have any trouble going over 10,000 tomorrow which will keep me on track for NaNoWriMo. Whee. No, I mean, WOOHOO!
      All of this simply means I have officially lost my mind. It had been rumored for a while that I had. After all, it was small and easily misplaced. Of course, I had lost it before when it rolled under my couch, but that was an accident. This was deliberate. I chose to participate in NaNoWriMo myself.
      Why oh why did I sign up for this insane creative typing exercise?
      Several possible reasons:
      I lost my mind.
      It seemed like fun at the time. (This was also the reason given by my grandpa when he and some other boys attached firecrackers to a couple of chickens and set them off. His parents were not amused by this attempt to put chickens in orbit. One assumes that the chickens weren't all that pleased, either, but no one knows since nothing was found but feathers.)
      I really like feeling so much pressure that the top of my head blows off (and thus once and for all solving that pesky thinning hair problem).
      I wanted to jumpstart my writing again since it had stalled, sputtered, coughed twice and then came to a dead stop during my fantasy novel (slated to be completed in 2010).
      But we're going with the first one.
      Of course, through the years, there had been indications that I was losing my grip. I remember an incident at when I was attending a small community college. My friend Joyce and I walked out to my car to drive to a local restaurant for lunch. I discovered I didn't have my keys, that the car door was locked, and that my keys were in the ignition. I called the campus police who sent over an officer who tried to open the car with a long, narrow piece of metal. It didn't work so he called maintenance to get a screwdriver to pop the trunk lock. That didn't work, either, so then they called another campus officer who brought over a lock-pick kit. He couldn't get the door open, but they called another officer who was more skilled with the kit, and eventually he opened the door.
      By that time, my car was surrounded by three campus police vehicles, a maintenance pickup and about 20 or so policemen, college workers and students. I thanked everyone, and as the crowd dispersed, I looked at Joyce. She was leaning against my car, draping her body against the back left passenger door. I had noticed her doing that when the last police officer arrived
      "Is something wrong?" I asked.
      She looked around and then whispered, "Your back door is unlocked." Like a true friend, she had hidden me from ridicule. Like a true friend, she brings it up every single time we talk.
      And then there was the time I flooded my kitchen with suds. I had started the water to wash dishes, gave the sink a good spurt of dishwashing liquid, walked out of the kitchen for a moment -- and didn't come back for an hour! Luckily the water topped one side of my double sink and went down the drain in the other side, but the suds rose higher and higher, rolled over the side of my cabinet and proceeded to spread across the floor, producing a winter wonderland in my kitchen. It was surprisingly difficult to clean up.
      Or recently I was tearing my office apart looking for my reading glasses. Finally I decided I had left them at home and drove all the way there to get them. They were in my shirt pocket.
      So you see that I should have realized a long time ago that my mind could go wandering. And I hate it when I'm out of my right mind. My left mind gets so lonely and constantly asks me when my right mind will return. I actually know the answer to that question this time: December 1.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Slow but steady

      Another hard day, but I'm still on track at 7,267. Tomorrow will be better. I should go over 10,000 this weekend. I had to backtrack and remove part of scene or I'd have more words. I know you're not supposed to edit during NaNoWriMo, but I had taken a scene the wrong way and wrote myself into a hole. So I had to lose about 300 words, which probably doesn't sound like much but felt like I was extracting my fingernails.
      It wasn't really the story, however, that kept me from producing a lot of words today. I got my feelings hurt this afternoon. My ego took a hit, and I found it hard to write. I'm not one of those writers who thrive on chaos. I need a certain amount of peace and belief in myself to write. At least novels, humor and plays require that. Poems flow when I'm down. One of the things about poetry of which I've always been grateful. It lets me vent.
      I've been spending some time at the NaNoWriMO site forums. At least the one for Oklahoma. Currently the Oklahoma region is ranked 23rd out of 265 regions in number of words produced by its members. We've produced 182,929 words. The total from all participants in NaNoWriMo is currently at 86,245,781. That is a lot of words, my friends.
      And now I'm going to call it a night. Y'all have a good tomorrow. If you need me, you know where to find me. I'll be NaNoWriMoing like crazy.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


      Well, not as good today. I ran into a few problems that took me a bit to write around. Still, I'm ahead of my goal of 1,700 a day, which would be 5,100 words. So I'm about a thousand up. Tomorrow I hope to write at least 2,000. We'll see.
      Anyway, I'm worn out so I'm going to call it a night. I promise that I will post other things than just NaNoWriMo this month. Have a good day tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


      Well, I'm doing okay. But I tell you what's truly hard to do in NaNoWriMo -- sitting in my chair for the hours necessary. My butt gives out. I need a butt masseuse. Now, wouldn't that be a job that you'd be proud to list on your resume.
      Yes, I'm tired so I'm not making any sense. Well, probably I am, but let's just pretend I'm not. In fact, don't read the first paragraph at all. Okay? Thanks.
      I thought I'd share a bit about Saint Hubert. I needed a Catholic church in the town featured in my novel so I needed a name for it. I searched The Catholic Community Forum and found a great listing of all the patron saints. Here's a few interesting facts about Saint Hubert.
      Hubert was a playboy and a great hunter back in the 600's. While hunting a stag on a Good Friday evening, he received a vision of a crucifix floating between its antlers. He then heard an otherworldly voice saying, "Hubert, unless you turn to the Lord and lead a holy life, you shall quickly go to Hell." Understandably, Hubert converted to Christianity on the spot.
      After his wife died, he joined the priesthood. He was known for his excellent preaching and for his generosity to the poor.
      His name means "bright mind."
      He is the patron saint of archers, dogs, forest workers, furriers, hunters, hunting, huntsmen, machinists, mathematicians and metal works. He helps against dog bites, mad dogs and rabies.
      He was born approximately 656 in Holland and died May 30, 727.
      His representations include: a bishop with a hound and hunting horn; bishop with a stag with a crucifix; horn; horse; knight with a banner showing the stag's head and crucifix, etc.
      The things you can learn on the Net never cease to amaze me. Good night all. See you tomorrow, God willing.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


      That's my word count on my NaNoWriMo novel today. I'm pleased overall, but thank goodness for my outline. I don't think I'd stand a chance of completing NaNoWriMo without it. Writing that much was harder than I expected. It took most of the evening. Well, all of my evening, an hour before work, and thirty minutes of my lunch hour. I'm hoping I'll speed up as this continues.
      To reach 50,000 words, I need at least 1,700 a day. Any extra is good because I'd like to have a couple of days off in there. I probably won't take them, but it would be nice to have a buffer.
      Did you notice the motivation quote by Linda Sprinkle (Mama Rose in comments here)? I was in chat in Forward Motion, talking about my worries about reaching my daily goal and comparing myself to other writers who are writing four or five thousand a day, and she gave me that advice. I thought it was good enough to post. Most anything can be done if you take it one small step at a time. Thanks, Linda.
      And a big thank you to my cheerleaders! I can't wait to see you in those cute outfits. We'll find out if Slym's legs are as good as he says they are! And don't forget to notice Crystal's pom-poms. I'm sure she's very proud of them.
      And finally a shout of encouragement to Joel, Jean, Beard and Mark who are NaNoWriMoing, too. I know we all can make it. I'll buy the soft drinks at the finish line!

Up, up and away!

      NaNoWriMo launched last night at midnight. I hung out at the Forward Motion chat room with some other NaNoWriMoians for the East Coast launch. It was pretty cool, like the countdown on New Year's Eve. Watch the progress bar to the left to see how I'm doing.
      And making my personal launch sweeter, I won three books in a drawing on Paperback Writer! Major cool, and my thanks to Lynn (Sheila) Viehl.
      More NaNoWriMo news later today!