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Okay, I’m willing to admit that I’m in some kind of writing slump. Maybe it’s writer’s block. I haven’t really accomplished any writing . . . well, not much really so far this year. All I have accomplished is some critiques for other writers, which is good, but it doesn’t get my stories down.

I don’t know what it is about MAGE STORM that’s just not moving me to write.

Mage Storm

Maybe it’s because I’ve already written this story and rewritten or heavily revised it at least once. The enthusiasm I had a couple of months ago for MEADOWSWEET . . . well, if I don’t act on that kind of enthusiasm fairly quickly, it tends to evaporate. And that’s pretty much what happened to that.

But I know my own creative process well enough to know that I’ll only get ideas–and enthusiasm for writing–when I’m writing. Conundrum, that. So, I need to figure out a way to break myself out of this. Maybe it’s going through my files and finding another story that sings to me.

Maybe it’s playing around with the first sequel to MAGE STORM. There’ll be at least four books in that series, if I can ever get off the start line with it. And I’ve never written a word of ROGUE MAGE. Maybe that would give me enough drive to actually rewrite the first book, MAGE STORM, so I could get to ROGUE MAGE. Only trying will tell.

Meanwhile, I still have a full roster of chores to work through, too. First and most urgent is getting the yard mowed. Now, you have to understand, I don’t really have a lawn as such–or only in a very small area. The rest I’m in the process of redoing in a more sustainable–and less labor intensive form. (I hate to mow almost as much as I hate to vacuum.) The problem with being in the middle of that project . . . well, a picture is worth a thousand words, they say.

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It got so out of hand because of all the rain we’ve had so far this year. It kept on being too wet to mow, but all that water just made the weeds grow like crazy. That tall stuff back there, that’s mostly common mallow. It’s tough and fibrous and a problem to mow, even with that little mower in the picture which is actually a mega string trimmer with a 6 horsepower engine.

I have to do a little at a time–and then stop to unwind the fibers from the underside of the trimmer. And all made more interesting by having to find and then work around the plants I’ve already got out there as part of the re-landscaping. (You can just see some of the red berries on a pyracantha bush there to the left of the mower.) I’ve just determined that this is not likely a single weekend task.

And then there’s Monster-in-the Walls Part 2. I’m not kidding. Several years ago now, I kept hearing a scratching in the walls. It’d stop when I tried to locate it, but I finally narrowed it down to a short section of wall in the hallway. We actually cut a hole in the wall to figure out what was going on–and then hastily patched it back up when two little masked faces looked out at us. Raccoons. Specifically raccoon kits. Not long after, mama raccoon moved them out, fortunately. Now, it’s happening again. Except, I’m pretty sure this time it’s skunks. I don’t think I need to explain why I think that. Ooh, boy.

The reason this is even possible has to do with the history of the house. The chimney was already in place in what is now a corner when the addition–including the hallway–was built. There is no exterior wall in that short section that backs up to the chimney,  just a short bit of vertical siding between the chimney and the exterior of the addition. So the wall is, in effect, about twice as thick as normal. More than enough room for small creatures to explore up into the wall.

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And the scratching is driving Sadie crazy.

This time, I think I’m going to have to figure out a more permanent solution.

 

Late Again

By my very own schedule, this post was due on Wednesday. It’s Friday, so . . . yeah, I’m late again.

Life just got a little crazy this week and forced to choose between writing this blog post and spending time with Sadie . . . guess who won.

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Although I have a number of chores on my list for this weekend–while it has, at least temporarily, stopped raining–I hope and expect that things will now settle down to allow me to carve out some more productive writing time.

One of those chores is to begin some training with Sadie. She came to me with excellent house manners, but there are one or two specific things I’d like to train. Cheese appears to be a good high-value reward to grease that along. Regular obedience training will start in April, I expect.

Boxed Set

Wow. Almost missed two blog posts in a row. Real life things have gotten . . . a little out of hand, but–hopefully–I’m getting things back under control.

In the meantime. There is now a boxed set for the BECOME Series, both books and the prequel novella in one place.

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Sadie

I’ve been without a dog since I lost Micah back in August.

Introducing Sadie.

Sadie by my desk

Technically, she’s here for a trial period. For my part, the trial was over almost before it started, but I’m going to give her a few days to settle in and relax.

That’s her curled up by my desk. She’s a real sweetheart. We’ll start with an obedience class–she’s got great house manners and an excellent recall, but not the sort of commands she’ll need for agility. Then we’ll start agility classes.

This has taken most of my concentration for the last couple of days. And might for a few more. And that’s as it should be.

Diversions

When one creative outlet isn’t working for me, sometimes it’s helpful to play in a different sandbox for a while. It keeps the creative juices flowing–or gets them flowing again.

That’s why BECOME: BROTHERS now has a new cover, which will match the other covers in the series much better than the old one.

Male hand breaking with fist concrete wall. Mixed media

And why I’m currently working on bundling the series into a boxed set, complete with cover.

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I’m still working on the 3D boxed set version of this cover.

Little Progress

Things got rather mixed around here.

First, Friday started out like this:

 

That’s my car, trapped behind the fallen tree.

Then Saturday, apart from nursing a few sore muscles from helping to deal with that mess at least enough for going on with, I tackled all of the weekend chores because I expected to be away today. However, due to the rain, it was decided to reschedule that trip until next weekend. And, possibly due to the real storms, I haven’t much felt like writing about a fictional one today.

So, not a lot of writing has taken place over the last few days.

I’ll get back to work on MAGE STORM possibly later today or Monday.

Mage Storm

Momentum

It’s early to tell yet, but I may just be finally gaining momentum on MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

Not that I won’t still have to go back and fix the beginning, but I may have made enough notes about that in the manuscript to make it possible to move forward.

What turned the tide (if it has turned)? Well, it’s strange what will work. In this case, sharing a short excerpt on social media and garnering some interest in it.

At the flicker of green light, Rell blinked and lowered the clay jug to glance across the open plains. He shrugged. Maybe it was nothing, just a trick of the light or a reflection. Everything was some shade of green or yellow in that direction except the line of clouds on the horizon. “Looks like there’ll be a storm, later.”

Da didn’t even look up from his weeding. “All the more reason to get this done earlier. Quit your daydreaming, Rell. Back to work.”

Rell sighed and knelt next to the row of three-inch-high corn he was supposed to be weeding. From the corner of his eye he saw the lightning fork down from the distant clouds. He froze, half bent to his work. That bolt had been red! He would swear to it. There were a lot fewer things on the plains at this time of year that could be that color. He jumped to his feet, brushing the heavy clay soil from his hands and tossing his head to get the unruly brown hair out of his eyes.

A bolt of orange lightning forked down as Rell watched. No thunder followed the flash. No thunder had followed any of them. Silent lightning made Rell’s skin crawl as much as the weird colors. The towering clouds loomed a lot nearer, scudding across the sky with unnatural speed. The underside of the thunderheads flashed with shifting colors—white, red, green, blue, yellow. Rell silently cursed every one of the seven gods. He’d only seen this twice before that he remembered, but there was no mistaking it.

“Mage storm!” Rell shouted.