Chrysalis tagged posts

The Joys of Home Ownership

Ah, the joys of home ownership! Ah, the joys of acreage ownership!

Now that spring has sprung here in southern Arizona–more like summer with the temps we’ve been having lately!–I knew I couldn’t delay getting the tall dead grass around the house cut down, at least out to that safe distance insurance companies recommend for fire safety.

But! Not only do I have lots of TALL grass, I also have lots of loose rocks, and the combination of tall, dead, dry grass and rocks ranging from pebbles to head-size (and larger) hiding in said grass is not a good combination, especially mixed with the steel blades of my riding mower. Sparks + dry grass = fire = not a good thing. What to do? What to do?

Tall grass 1

Well, the first thing to do was to go tromping through the grass, looking for as many of those rocks, esp...

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House Guests and Book News

House Guests

One of the reasons I built my new house the way I did was so I could have house guests, and now I have. Last Monday I was pleased to have friends John and Karel spend the night on their way back to Albuquerque. They had been marshaling at the PGA golf tournament in Phoenix, and since John is also the Southwest Region President for AFA, he uses the trip to also visit the four chapters in the state, including mine here in Sierra Vista.

Before they arrived, however, another visitor came. His name is Padraig, but like many Irishmen, he prefers to be called Patty. Patty’s an interesting sort. Rough-hewn. Despite my persistent requests, he insists on staying outside. “Sun or snow, rain or blow,” he says, “my place is out of doors, lad. I’ll be fine...

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Catching Up–House News, Sort-of White Christmas, Book Sales

Miller and Carr Peaks

“They” say that catching up is harder than keeping up, so WHY did I stop blogging, putting me in this position of trying to catch up on everything all at once? I have an idea, but I’m not going to bore you with it. Time to get back in the saddle.

New House News

Remember that window that thieves broke to get in back in October? It’s STILL not fixed. I wrote about how the glass company, MilGard, sent the wrong glass in the wrong size. What I didn’t write about was that after my installers took it back, MilGard sent the wrong size AGAIN! Then claimed they couldn’t possibly have made a mistake. On the third try, they got it right… but then last Friday the installers brought the wrong glass. You should have seen the hang-dog looks on their faces when they told me. All I could do was laugh...

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Book 3, Starting Draft 2

One of the things writer Anne Lamott is famous for is her advice, “Give yourself permission to write a shitty first draft.” To me that’s a kind of liberation theology for writers, but that’s a subject for another time. Today I’m going to continue to pull back the curtain on my writing process, at least as it relates to getting all the scenes in order for the second draft of this book.

So: “Give yourself permission….” Done.

“Write a shitty first draft.” Done.

OK, maybe “shitty” is a relative term, but while my read-through of the first draft got a “not bad” rating, as I wrote last time there were problems with the timeline, that is, the sequence of events in the plot. Timeline is especially critical for this book for two reasons.

  • One, it needs to end at a certain time of year in order to t...
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Book 3, Draft 1

Woman reading a book

Image courtesy of Marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Last night I finished my first complete read-through of the first draft of book #3 (working title, Guardians, although I’m considering Wild Spread as an alternative). (No, that’s not me over there on the right. My ideal reader, maybe. At least her interest level looks right.) I’ve got almost 10 pages of hand-written notes of things to check, fix, delete, etc.

Overall verdict: not bad.

There are some scenes that are way out of position. There’s a place where one of my secondary characters chrysalizes, then a few chapters later appears again in her unchanged, original form, as if the chrysalization never happened. Oops. Well, that’s the sort of thing that happens in a first draft...

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Lights, Concrete, Landscaping!

Man, what a busy couple of weeks it’s been since my last post! One of the key things we’ve needed to finalize at this stage is all of the light fixtures and switches. You might think this would be a simple matter, but no, not in this house, anyway.

Take the lamp that’s going to hang over the table in the dining room. First of all it’s heavy: 35 pounds! Second of all, it’s going to hang from a high ceiling. Third of all, that ceiling is sloped. Can it hang from a sloped ceiling? One that’s that tall? How do we mount it to the joists? Are we going to have to redo the drywall? If so, we need to do that while the drywall guys are still on site.

Then there are the outdoor lights. Cochise County has a “dark skies” lighting code to keep the night-time skies, well, dark...

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