Category Archives: writing

A day late: Goals for 2015

Anne-ism

And a dollar short, or something like that.

Anyway, I now officially have a list of goals for 2015.

The writing goals are as follows:

1) Write at least five days a week, at least 1000 words a day, for all of 2015.
2) Finish the short story “New Year’s Eve in Conconully” in the next few days and distribute it to my mailing list, then publish it.
3) Finish Reunion by the end of February and publish it by the end of March.
4) Make more plans for the Unearthly Northwest.
5) Write at least two more novel-length Tales of the Unearthly Northwest — #3 to be published by the end of summer, and #4 by the end of the year.  I’ve already got ideas for each of these.
6) Write at least three more short stories and distribute them to my mailing list, then publish them.

That ought to keep me out of trouble, don’t you think?

 

 

 

Making serious progress

Unearthly NW FB ad

A 7000+ word week last week.  Which counts as one of my best weeks ever.

An idea for a short story in the Unearthly Northwest universe, at three in the morning on Sunday night (after one of the most fun football games I’ve ever watched).  Tentatively titled, “New Year’s Eve in Conconully.”

And a 3000+ (yes, that’s three zeros)-word day yesterday.  Which blows my former record (somewhere under 2000) clear out of the water.  Over 1500 on Reunion (for a total of five and a half chapters — I think a manuscript with five chapters deserves to be italicized like a proper book title, don’t you?) and over 1400 on the short story.

Today, so far?  Over 1300 on Reunion, so six full chapters now, and plans to plow through as many words on the short story as possible this afternoon.

The goal is to have the story done by the 28th, so that I can give free ARCs to my mailing list people.  Who now number more than twenty.  And then to create a cover, see if my copy editor has time to take a look at it, format it, and give KDP Direct a shot with it.  Then we’ll see what happens for ninety days.

Sojourn is live

I am proud to announce the release of my new novel, Sojourn, which will be the first in a new series called Tales of the Unearthly Northwest, set in one of the lesser-known corners of my part of the world, featuring my own supernatural twist on historical events and places.

Sojourn final e- cover 300

Time isn’t everything it appears to be.

State trooper Daniel Reilly never thought he’d wind up in his stepmother’s favorite movie. Chasing a suspected drunk driver through Washington’s desolate Okanogan Highlands is part of his job, but crashing his cruiser and waking up in a ghost town definitely isn’t. And when that ghost town starts to come to life?

His version of Brigadoon is not a carefree musical.

You can read the first chapter here.

The ebook is now available at Amazon and Smashwords, and will be coming soon from other etailers as well as in paper from Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

What’s My Line — er, Genre? — win a prize!

all four new covers

 

I have a question for those of you who’ve read any or all of my Time in Yellowstone series, and there’s something in it for you if you win.

It seems like a simple, stupid question.

What genre are these books in?

Yes, time travel is obvious.  Go beyond that, if you can.  Go bigger, go broader.   Are they science fiction, even without a time machine?  Are they fantasy, even though they’re not epic or urban?  What else might they be?  And what do you think they are?

Name that genre!  And please, only a genre you’d find on Amazon, the genre you’d type in to find stories like mine, not a made-up genre or a description.

Whoever comes up with the best answer, including why, will win a $25 Amazon gift certificate.

Oh, and if you haven’t read any of my books, go here for a free Kindle copy, or here for a free anything else digital copy of my Time in Yellowstone short story Homesick.

 

My first Sunday Snippet

Welcome!  My first Sunday snippet is from my contemporary small-town romance homage to Shakespeare, entitled Much Ado in Montana.  If you would like to read the first chapter, click on the cover.

muchadoinmontana200

Anyway, enjoy!

Just as he was about pick her up, open the door, and carry her inside, even if it would have been the most idiotic thing he’d ever done, the inevitable happened. Tara saved him from his own stupidity by breaking the kiss. She lifted her hand from its warm clasp of his nape and stepped back out of his embrace. Tim braced himself, ready to withstand anything from tears to a slap.

He didn’t think he could be shocked any more than he had been in the last five minutes, but then she grinned sloppily at him and glanced down at the keys in his hand.

“What do you know? There’s my car keys. Silly me.” She turned to open the door. Reached out and hooked the keys from his limp hand with a finger. “‘Night.”

She vanished into the house, leaving Tim standing dumbfounded on the doorstep.

Sojourn two steps closer to publication

Houston, we have a cover:

Sojourn E cover 300

And back cover copy:

Washington state trooper Daniel Reilly never thought he’d wind up in his stepmother’s favorite movie. Chasing a suspected drunk
driver through the desolate Okanogan Highlands is part of his job, but crashing his cruiser and waking up in a ghost town sure isn’t. And when that ghost town starts to come to life?

The local version of Brigadoon isn’t a lighthearted musical.

You can read the first chapter by clicking on the cover.  Take a look at pictures of the real Okanogan Highlands here.  And take a look at Sojourn‘s research pathfinder here.

Tell me what you think!  I’d love to hear it.

Sojourn will be available for pre-order by the middle of September, and for purchase in October, 2014.

Homesick just got a huge bounce!

I’m not sure what caused it, but I’m not complaining…

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,968 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)

Two weeks ago, Day 7

Rain, rain go away, come again some other day.

 Preferably after I get home, but oh, well.

Yes, I woke up to more rain two weeks ago today. I drove back into the park, anyway, of course (it’s about thirty miles from West Yellowstone to Old Faithful), and parked Kestrel (my car) near the lodge. Still feeling optimistic about the weather at this point, I packed up my daypack with all the necessities for a day out in the geyser basin, including, but not limited to, my Kindle, my journal, and my cross-stitch (some geysers must be waited for, sometimes for up to three or four hours).

Fortunately, my daypack is waterproof and I have a good raincoat. My first stop was in the visitor center, to check the eruption predictions. Old Faithful itself goes off often enough that one can often catch it in passing while headed somewhere else, but Riverside only goes off every six hours or so, Castle every nine to eleven hours, and the Grand, that pinnacle of predictible geysers, erupts about every seven to eight hours, so if I wanted to see them, I needed to know when to go sit and wait for them.

Eruption predictions are never on the minute. Grand, for instance, has a three-hour window, which means that it’s most likely to go off up to an hour and a half on either side of the prediction time. Riverside and Castle were predicted to have morning eruptions, and the Grand wasn’t due to go off till late afternoon.

Anyway. About the time I left the visitor center, the sky opened up. Not quite raining in sheets, but in the five minutes it took me to walk from the visitor center to the Old Faithful Inn, I was fairly drenched where my raincoat didn’t cover me, and the visor of my hood was dripping.

Still, as I peered through the murk over towards Old Faithful, I did see Lion Geyser erupting in the distance. But I really didn’t want to get any wetter, so I used the zoom on my camera to get this shot.

The sign says Old Faithful.  The actual geyser in the distance is Lion.
The sign says Old Faithful. The actual geyser in the distance is Lion.

And instead of sitting out in the rain waiting for things to erupt, I went into the Inn and found myself a cozy spot and caught my journal up after several days of ignoring it. Not exactly what I’d had in mind, but there are much worse places to be stranded.

The 85-foot-tall, 500-ton (according to Wikipedia, at least), four-sided fireplace in the Old Faithful Inn, with its hand-forged clock.
The 85-foot-tall, 500-ton (according to Wikipedia, at least), four-sided fireplace in the Old Faithful Inn, with its hand-forged clock.

An hour or so later the rain let up and I finally went out into the geyser basin. I walked out as far as Castle Geyser, which had apparently gone off during the rainstorm but was still bellowing (and I mean bellowing — the sound is pretty impressive) steam.

Castle Geyser, bellowing steam in the distance.
Castle Geyser, bellowing steam in the distance.

I turned right and headed across the bridge towards Sawmill, which was churning away as usual. I know the “real” geyser gazers don’t think much of Sawmill because it robs energy and water from other, rarer geysers like Tardy and Penta, but I like Sawmill, for its chugging sound (hence the name) and simply because it looks like it’s thoroughly enjoying itself.

Sawmill Geyser on the left, and what can only be Tardy Geyser on the right, unless I'm mistaken, which is possible.
Sawmill Geyser on the left, and what can only be Tardy Geyser on the right, unless I’m mistaken, which is altogether possible.

Most geysers do. I can’t help anthropomorphizing them that way. I just can’t. I’ve never met a more cheerful geologic phenomenon than a geyser, and that’s just the way it is.

A view of Geyser Hill from the old road.
A view of Geyser Hill from the old road.

I strolled around Geyser Hill, past Giantess (one of the biggest geysers in the world — and also one that I’ll probably never get to see because it erupts so seldom) and Beehive, which is not an officially-predicted geyser, but can be caught occasionally because it’s got what’s called an indicator, which is a small geyser off to its side that often starts erupting just before Beehive itself does. I’d missed it this morning, but here’s what it looks like from 2008, in much better weather, when I didn’t miss it.

Beehive Geyser, 2008, from the viewpoint across the river.  Note the tiny people on the boardwalk next to it.
Beehive Geyser, 2008, from the viewpoint across the river. Note the tiny people on the boardwalk next to it.

Then it started raining again, and it was past lunchtime, so I went to what’s affectionately known as the Lower Ham (Hamilton, although it’s no longer owned by the family) store, and ate lunch at the counter there. That lunch counter/soda fountain has been there a long time, by local standards. The store itself was first built in 1897, and Charley, who was still Chuck at that point, ate his last meal in 1959 there before he inadvertently time-traveled back to 1877 in Repeating History. It’s also where James first went looking for his son just after Chuck disappeared and met Jo in Finding Home. An important place, the Lower Ham store.

This isn’t my photo, but I wanted you to see what it looks like.

Homesick cover 300

Then again, so is the whole Upper Geyser Basin, so far as I’m concerned. My short story “Homesick” takes place here, too, and one geyser in particular is very significant in both Repeating History and “Homesick.”

My only eruption of Old Faithful on this trip, taken from the shelter of the Lodge porch.
My only eruption of Old Faithful on this trip, taken from the shelter of the Lodge porch.
A blue bird (not sure of exact species) which was hanging around Old Faithful just before the eruption.  The rain started again a few minutes before the geyser went off.
A blue bird (not sure of exact species — ETA, my birder friend Katrina says it’s a mountain bluebird) which was hanging around Old Faithful just before the eruption. The rain started again a few minutes before the geyser went off.

It took the rain a while to let back up again, alas, although I did catch what turned out to be my only view of Old Faithful from where I’d walked back to the Lodge (as opposed to the Inn), and by the time it did, it was getting close to four in the afternoon, Grand’s predicted time. Of course, given the window, it could have already gone off, but I didn’t have anything to lose except the time and a little shoe leather, so I headed back out one more time. Except for the rain, this was a pretty normal geyser basin day for me. Out and back and out and back, watch this geyser and that, have a thoroughly good time.

Anyway, when I got back out to the Grand, there were still a fair number of people sitting and waiting. My spirits rose. And, lo and behold, less than ten minutes after I sat down, guess what happened?! Grand’s pool, which had already been overflowing, started generating little waves, Turban (a kinda sorta indicator) went off, and away Grand went! I think that’s the shortest amount of time I’ve ever waited for the Grand.

This is my alltime favorite photo of the Grand, taken in 1999 during the eruption that inspired Repeating History.
This is my alltime favorite photo of the Grand, taken in 1999 during the eruption that inspired Repeating History.

And it was. Grand, that is. Just one burst, but it was a good long one, and that was enough to make my day. Make my trip, actually.

Especially since I always think of the Grand as Charley’s geyser. It was a crucial half (the other half being an earthquake I’ll tell you about tomorrow) of the phenomenon that sent Chuck back in time to become Charley in Repeating History, and it also caused Charley’s son Will and — okay, this may get confusing — Will’s five-year-old grandson Chuck (yes, that Chuck) to witness something in “Homesick” that changed their lives forever.

The rain didn’t start back up yet again until I was back in my car and headed back to West Yellowstone an hour or so later, either, and that was a good thing, too.