Saturday, September 27, 2014

Who Flipped The Switch?

This is the first year in many that I can remember an immediate change of transitions. The last post I did was smack in the middle of a red flag warning with bone-dry conditions. The very first day of Autumn all of the forest creatures around here were scrambling for their Personal Flotation Devices and we experienced a climate change, although I didn't see Al Gore's jet go over to confirm that.

I've seen this kind of thing happen before only at higher elevations. You get tucked into your toasty sleeping bag and the next morning is dead quiet, which motivates a person to find a nearby tree. That's when you find the six inches of fresh snow on the ground and you're looking for much closer trees.

I failed my Farmers' Almanac course, so I can't tell you what kind of winter we might have - normal or ugly. I find myself being thankful for my 4-wheel drive. No one likes to get stuck in 2-inches of icy slush. You'd have to live in Western Washington to understand that logic.

The nice part is that plenty of writing can be accomplished in the foul weather months, assuming you've got a story line to work on. I can only surmise the attendant boredom that might occur with a few power outages, since we have some healthy wind storms and tall trees that begin to become nuisances around November here.

I might have to rough it and use pencil and paper plus a good candle if it gets bad enough. I'm not even sure that I can hand write anything any more. It's been a while. Will someone let me know when Summer gets here?


Sunday, September 14, 2014

Two Weeks Already?

I noticed that it's been a bit since our last parlay, so I figured I'd better catch up before someone noticed my absence! Everything has been straightened out as far as the new book edits go. I double-checked that a couple of nights ago.

The next book is brewing somewhere in the recesses of my grey matter and I fully expect it to burst forth any time now...any time now, brain. I've been perusing the notes I kept from the Montana trip and they amuse me no end. I am perhaps the only person who has been excited about seeing a bazillion prairie dogs out on the plains only to find out that they were ground squirrels. What a Greenhorn!

I had to take a little more time off due to my Dad's second round in the hospital last week. Thankfully, it wasn't his heart. His symptoms stopped as soon as the Paramedic stabbed him with an IV. I have always believed in acupuncture and this just proved my theory.

Would you believe that Western Washington of all places is under a red flag warning? What that means to those who may not know is that it is too dry to burn anything, including campfires. It kind of screws up the old weeny roast season, but winter will arrive soon enough.

Meanwhile, don't forget to feed your sourdough and make sure your cast iron skillets are seasoned up and your longjohns are patched. It might be a long winter.


Monday, September 1, 2014

Constructs Of A Mild Panic Attack

There was a period of time between my Fire Service retirement and writing novels that stress was not a major factor...except that one instance where my heart quit for a few seconds in the Cardiac Cath lab. Otherwise, things weren't too bad. I had a good thing going, but started to get bored. The next thing you know, I took up writing fiction and loved it. My long-stifled creativity came to the surface and, like every other author in existence, had moments of envisioning a comfortable existence lounging on my veranda with a nice bottle to nurse while I penned my next masterpiece. Then it started happening. Everything had a deadline of one sort or another, just like before my retirement. Edits, forms, marketing plans, more edits, and learning new rules from somewhere in Chicago to write by that I had never seen before, but had to reformat my manuscript to fit them in amazingly short periods of time. The rubber was not only meeting the road, but also running over the author, especially in my latest submission. All of the necessary documents were sent to me in "read only" format. Everything I completed and returned was unchanged. No corrections noted even after supposedly switching off the "read only" feature. My first deadline was August 24th and I sent the manuscript on the 9th. I got word back on the deadline of the problem. Now she wanted it by the 1st. There was no way to re-edit 522 hours worth of corrections. That's where the panic began to rise. I became stressed. Then I realized that my contract had a deadline of October 1st - not September 1st, and wouldn't you know it, but I think I found the file I needed and sent it along the next day. Stress relieved, at least momentarily. Moral of the story: Don't panic until you're the slowest guy running from the bear. Gary