The light at the end of the tunnel

The past month has been a bit too jam-packed for even a multi-tasker like me. The part of the company I work for was bought by another company, which was good because we ended up with two extra holidays this month (yay!), but not so good because it involved a lot of worry and stress for pretty much everyone. My brother-in-law visited, I learned how to make marmalade, and I was finally brave enough to try making lotion on my own. (It turned out to be ridiculously easy…I’ve made four batches now.) I had a cold, and discovered that while all I wanted to do during the day was read/nap/blow my nose, I perked up after a glass of wine and was able to rally and go to holiday events for three evenings in a row. I even stayed out until 2am the last night, which was fun, and which I probably won’t do again for a long, long time. 🙂 We rushed our dog Lucy to the vet one night and discovered that she had cancer and had to be put to sleep – she was only six years old. Lucy loved my brother-in-law – he lived with us when she was a puppy – so I’m now extra glad he was able to visit. We celebrated the holidays with my family and my nephews were very excited to give me a voodoo dog they’d found in New Orleans. I cheated and ate at least four gluten-filled cookies (at least I stopped counting at four).

Needless to say, I haven’t accomplished much writing-wise for a few weeks. I’m SO close to being done with the book, but sometimes life is too full to fit everything in. The next month or two promise to be busy, but hopefully in a more predictable way. I’m taking two more online workshops through Dean Wesley Smith – Cover Design and Interior Book Design, both taught by Dean along with Allyson Longueira. I’m signed up for the Openings workshop which starts in February. And we’ve decided to look for another dog right away because our remaining dog, Maisie, is very sad. We got Lucy for Maisie, and always referred to her as Maisie’s dog. So…there will be dog interviews and the associated worrying, and if all goes well Maisie and I will soon be spending time training a new dog.

I should wrap up the novel this weekend (since it’s now a four day weekend, thanks to my newly acquired holiday), and then the big question will be: what to work on next? I thought my mind was made up, but apparently not. My options are (all titles are working titles and may change):

  • The Jennys – about a little girl who is a clone. This started as a short story 9 years ago, immediately wanted to be a novel, and while I have about 3 chapters written my intent is to ignore them, rewrite them, then go back and see if there is anything in the original draft that I want to keep. My writing style has changed drastically in the past 9 years, and Linda Jordan suggested this approach when we took Dean’s Character Voice and Setting workshop together last March. I’m so glad she made this suggestion! This was always meant to be book #2, but I started to question that when I came up with the selkie story.
  • The Selkie and the Sidhe – this started as a short story in the March workshop, and it’s very clearly a novel. I’ve been leaning toward finishing this one because I so enjoyed working on it in the workshop. My certainty that this was #2 got shaken by the superhero story.
  • No Title Yet – this is a story about a superhero who’s going bad, and his sidekick who’s always been there no matter what. This was so far down the novel list (it may have been #7…) that I wasn’t even thinking about it, then when I was trying to catch up on Writing Excuses podcasts I listened to a few in the row that kept giving me more and more ideas about things for this story.

Being a multi-tasker, I naturally want to work on all three at once…but even I realize that wouldn’t be wise. So I need to pick one, and while at other times there’s always been a clear path, that’s not currently the case. If I can really pull off finishing my manuscript this weekend I’ll be ready to start on the next one next weekend, so this is very much on my mind!

I’ll spend the next few days mulling this over and missing Lucy. To honor her, I’ll end this post with one of my very favorite photos of her. We’d been hiking and ran into some friends whose dogs were Lucy’s friends. Maisie is in the front, their friend Chrisse is the little girl on the right, and Lucy is the happy black and gray and brown dog. I love this one because Lucy’s face is filled with such joy at being with all of her favorite dog friends.

Happy New Year.

2011-08-20 South St. Vrain trail

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