Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Random Thoughts

I’ve played golf twice in the past week, the last time just yesterday. The weather in this part of Minnesota has been amazing for November, after a cold and rainy October -- it’s as if the two months traded places. My game is improving, not a lot or quickly, but noticeably. My drives go farther down the fairway and sometimes my putting is quite satisfactory. Yesterday, however, there was a definite trend into slices -- the ball goes off to the right. (To the left is a hook.) Frustrating.

One thing golf does is take one’s mind off writing. It does mine, anyhow. I’m having a tough time with this one section of Buttons and Bones and it’s great to be able to escape it now and again. Problem is, once back home, there the problem is, big as ever. But it’s fixable. It’s got to be, I don’t have time to tear the whole book down and start over. I have a feeling that pretty soon I’ll be struggling with it and it will just detangle itself and knit together like a good, obedient story and I’ll wonder later what the problem was. I’ve had that experience before, thank God, and hope to have it again -- soon.

I’ve started getting some kind notes from fans about Blackwork. It’s heartening to an author to get a note praising her work. This is not a hint I’d like some more, but encouragement to any of you who like a particular book to say so in writing. Many, if not most, authors have a web site with a “contact me” button on it. If not, write care of the publisher -- publishers forward these fan letters to their authors. You can get the address of the publisher from the library or on the Internet. Brighten someone’s day, okay?

The holiday season is upon us and for those who think they might have trouble getting in the mood, there is a new book called “101 Ways to Keep the Spirit of Santa Alive.” It’s by a friend of mine, John Hagerman, and it’s not a kiddie book, but a parents’, godparents’, grandparents’, aunt-and-uncles’ book. It tells the origin of Santa Claus, how Santa is named and described in other countries, and offers a great many suggestions for things to do with children to make the season more real, more wholesome, and more satisfying. It’s published by The Inspired Elf, a very small press.

Later this week I have to get out my killer Christmas wreath, which is about four feet in diameter, and pull off all of last year’s lights and decorations and put it back together again. I bought the thing at Sam’s Club about four or five years ago as the Christmas season was winding down. Got a heck of a buy on it and it sure looks snazzy hanging from our balcony, but somehow the lights, bows and artificial fruit get all droopy and tangled and burned out from just being stored and need renewing. I have a friend who is going to come over and we’ll spend a couple of hours getting it all prepped for the season coming up. I felt kind of odd doing the work this early, until I saw that two or three houses right in the neighborhood already have their Christmas lights out and turned on. The other houses still have their Jack o’lanterns on their front porches! My wreath isn’t going out until Thanksgiving -- and I can remember my mother complaining about Christmas advertising starting right after Thanksgiving. Now it starts right after Halloween. I know it’s important to merchants to extend the season, but the result is that by the time Christmas actually gets here, a lot of us are heartily sick of it. Of course, by Christmas, I should be well into plotting the next Betsy Devonshire novel -- and I think I’ll set it around Easter . . .

Next week we -- the Killer Hobbies Crew -- are going to publish a series of helpful (we hope) articles on writing. I’ve got the one on Plotting. I believe I’ve already published something on that topic, but it won’t hurt to give it some daylight again. I’ve seen a preview of Joanna Campbell Slan’s item on Character, and it’s really good, very helpful, whether you’re a beginner or deeply experienced. I know I learned something from it. So please stay tuned.


Mason Canyon said...

It is hard to see Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving even gets here. I'm with you, I understand why the stores do it (especially with the bad times), but it seems like it rushes the holidays that much more. I guess as we get older it makes time fly for us. But if your a child and see Christmas decorations in October, it make Santa coming a long way off.

signlady217 said...

In case the holidays aren't coming fast enough, Hobby Lobby started putting their Christmas decorations out on the shelves Labor Day week. I shop and plan for Christmas off and on all year long, but it does seem to be commercialized earlier each year. Still my favorite holiday.

Linda O. Johnston said...

It does seem early to think about the holidays, Monica. But we're having family here--a few at a time--and for weeks we've been getting presents that have been shipped to our home to be wrapped and given out later!
I'm looking forward to writing about point of view next week--a natural topic for me since I write both in first person for my mysteries and third person for my Silhouette Nocturnes.

Joanna Campbell Slan said...

That's a high compliment, Miss Monica. Thanks so much.

Betty Hechtman said...

Since the book I'm working on has a holiday theme, I feel like I've been in the midst of Christmas for a long time.