1/15/14 (? Roughly…just decided to date these updates) Woot…over half way done with my goal for the month. I figure the first Chocolatier’s Book was about 80,000 words. So my ball park figure is 88,000…I find things are so much easier to achieve if I find a easy to chew on numerical goal…
1/27/14 OK, last week was a wash, between it being the first few days of the semester (always very stressful and busy) and my mother’s shoulder surgery being moved up rather suddenly (which is awesome, but…haha yeah like anyone can write in a hospital waiting room?) I am way behind. But there is hope.
1/31/14 Got to the point where I had no idea where I was going, so I stopped…and started from the beginning. This is dangerous…some people just keep doing that and never get done, but it was needed, and now I’m back on track. Spent the week extending scenes, and taking notes, and having insights…little surprises.
2/28/14 — first draft done!
I have a terrible weakness for kitchen things. I refuse to go into outlet stores that offer kitchen things because I know it’s a waste of time and money…I don’t need those trinkets that promise easier preparation or whatever…because, simply put, I despise cooking. Well, maybe not despise…sometimes I’ll find myself cooking and actually be enjoying myself, but in general, it’s sort of one of those things that I do because if I don’t I will be miserable.
But, I am at my happiest, cooking wise, when I am doing cooking in such a way as to be super effieicent, like making two dinners at once once, or lunch for a week.
Which leads to…I’ve always liked salad but it seems like an awful lot of work for something that sort of goes bad quickly. But after looking around Pinterest, I figured out how to have salad four two people for four-to-five days.
You need either a salad spinner, a colander and a bowl that it can mostly sit in, or this dashing Prepworks container:
I admit, when I realized that the salad thingy worked, and would be a part of my life, I gave into my kitchen buying urge and got one. Of both sizes. And the berry one. Don’t judge. (For what it’s worth, I really do think they work nicely. And mine are nice and brightly colored. And they tell you if it’s something that needs air or water.)
Then I break the first rule of being a super healthy and morally perfect human being: I buy salad in a bag. I love salad in a bag. I throw it in my spinner and scrub it up clean, and then I have a bowl full of variety that I did not have to cut up myself. In the long run, if you are someone who does not overly love to cook, it actually saves money because you don’t have stuff rotting away in the back of the crisper drawer. I have been that person.
So I pick a couple of bags of salad, and then I enhance. Like, Spring mix gets paired up with dried cranberries, feta, sliced almonds and these small, sweet little mandarin oranges. Or I get an iceberg mix and add tomatoes, a pretty colored pepper, some cucumber.
I have found that:
1. Always use a small, compact tomato. Something you don’t have to cut open.
2. Layer things. Things store better in layers.
3. Keep things that may get gross…like cheese…separate. I call these add-ins, and I prepare them separately. Like, for the one salad, I put the dried cranberries, almonds, and feta in it’s own little box. I am a recovering hoarder, so I have lots of them…old tea-tins, butter cups, etc. And of course the small plastic boxes that I have in and bought because they were cheap and could be useful.
I love it, actually, which is why I’m posting about it. Because in no time at all I have salad for the week, for me and mum, and if you are careful to spin it well, but add a tiny bit of water where it won’t touch anything to help keep it from drying out it will be nearly perfect at the end of the week.
And, what’s also cool, is that I don’t have to decide what I’m going to eat from day to day. Because to be honest, I don’t care what I eat for lunch.
And then, I usually prepare a crock pot meal for the next day’s dinner…so I start off my evening feeling somewhat productive and vaguely morally superior to myself.
And yes, I write this post instead of working on the book.
Do you have any favorite salads?
So, the good news: Finished the first draft of The Chocolatier’s Ghost!
The bad news…it’s like, way too short.
That’s OK. There’s a lot going on in the book…trying to lay two stories down, the main story, and the sequel-set up. There’s a lot of work to do, now that I know what happened. Set up scenes. Flesh out scenes. Scenes where I weave in other things besides the mystery…we sort of pound our way from point a to point b.
So, the skeleton draft is done. Hooray!
Now, the second draft will be all organs and muscle. Less hooray? I’ll be printing it out and marking it up…I need to actually read it in paper and scribble notes on it.
I’m also working on the edits for the short story collection, so lots of excitement in the author part of my life.
The other night I read an interview with Cary Elwes where he asked William Goldman, the author of the Princess Bride, about the sequel to the book. Innocent enough, if *I* had played a well beloved character in a well beloved movie I, too, would be curious about what was up for me in the sequel, even if I felt I would not be able to play it.
And William confessed that he was blocked by his anxiousness. That he couldn’t write the sequel because his fear of not doing well by the story paralyzed him.
And I was like, “Oh my goodness! I know this! I get this! OMFG!” Because I do. It’s taken me forever to finish anything after The Chocolatier’s Wife because I am so scared that nothing will be as good.
But it will be. I am a — forgive the hubris, please — really good writer. People really love my books. So, confidence, straighten shoulders, move forward.
What else am I up to?
Well, I am embroidering, and planning a couple of summer dresses.
I have a lovely green with peachy-pink roses fabric that would look very sweet with this:
It’s Vogue V2902…I absolutely attacked a JoAnne sale and bought a bunch of patterns very cheaply.
The second is a McCall pattern, M6745
I might go for a less halter looking top, because I do tend to burn…though I really like how this looks, and since I have an hour-glass-ish figure, I can pretty much carry off both dresses.
I read an article not too long ago suggesting horse-hair braid along the hem to give it a little body without the can-can underskirt, and I’m all for that because I don’t really want to wear anything else.
So, I wanted to join Bloglovin’, it looks like a great way to keep track of blogs.
So, entering the code:
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
Now. The weather has me down. I’m creeping along on the book…right now I’m sort of calling it The Chocolatier’s Ghost — but between the weather and work being particularly busy (I’m dead by the time I get home) my word count is like, a few hundred words here, a couple there. But I have a feeling of where I’m going, so I am confident that I’ll start racking up the words soon.
It would be so much easier if I’d won the lottery last week…I’d be home now, drinking tea and comfortably contemplating Tasmin and William’s world from my recliner and fuzzy blanket pile.
When I was in college, they were selling carnations on Valentine’s day for some cause at the Union, so I bought a couple…one of them was for my adviser, who I hung out with a lot and whom I held in high, high esteem.
So I went to the office and dropped it off. I wanted to say, that I loved her and admired her.
Instead of seeing it that way, she yelled at me and made me feel like shit about it. Now, I understood the point, that she did not want to be reminded that she didn’t have anyone, but that had not been my intent. I’d had many lonely Valentine’s days, but I was young and had hope, so I guess I just didn’t get what a slap in the face it was. Now, of course, I do, and I regret it.
Looking back for the first time I am very grateful that she yelled at me. Not because I think she was right..I got that she was upset, I’m glad she was honest, but really, she could have accepted it with a little more grace…but because when people give me things, I know to be kind. I remember how badly I felt, and though part of me wants to ask them, like my adviser did, if they have any sense, I also remember the girl I was, who was trying to show love and respect to someone I admired.
And then I am actually happy to be remembered on Valentine’s Day, because I am grateful to be loved, even if it’s not by the proverbial man of my dreams.
There are things I want to say to you, but I know I should keep quiet. You should never interfere with relationships. You should support, and stand by. And you aren’t *really* my little brother, you have real sisters, maybe it’s just not my place.
God lets us make our own mistakes. How can I be any different?
But I wish I could give you advice.
1. It is alright to be alone. So many times we let fear keep us in a relationship. What happens if we never find anyone else? What happens if this was the ONE and we made a mistake?
You won’t end up being alone…you are a sweet, good, nice looking young man. But even if you did, it’s OK. Being alone can be wonderful. You can adjust and find a great life this way, just as you can adjust and find a great life with another person.
2. If she doesn’t want you to take part in a hobby or be with your friends, then there’s a problem, and it’s not with you. Maybe she has really low self esteem…maybe she just wants to control your time. In any case, it will be a source of sorrow, and you need to figure out how to deal with it, because unless you and she get to the bottom of it, you will have to live with it for the rest of your life.
Hobbies enrich you. Friends enrich you. A person needs to develop confidence in themselves, in their own worth, and let the person they love participate in these things, sometimes alone. (Though it’s totally cool when you are both passionate about the same thing…better than cool. But she also has to be strong enough to let you bet your own person. She needs to trust you to come back.)
3. If she cries when you try to discuss issues in your relationship, this is not a good thing at all. Maybe she doesn’t trust you, maybe she’s just trying to emotionally manipulate you so you will shut up. If you can’t rationally and positively discuss important aspects of your life…your needs, your wants…how can you build anything good together?
I have a saying. If something bothers me and I don’t tell anyone, then it’s on me. If I tell you, and you choose not to act, it’s on you. Then I have to make a choice, if I can live with it, or if I cannot. Can you live with this, little brother?
So, you were probably thinking, Cindy! That word counter you are using to con yourself into writing every day because you are pretending that people really are waiting with baited breath for the sequel to The Chocolatier’s Wife is like, the best thing ever.
And, maybe you were thinking, you desperately need a wonderful word tracking spread sheet with lovely graphics to track your own progress?
Well, I found both at this lovely website: http://svenjaliv.com/2013/12/spreadsheets-for-2014/
She is an amazing artist, so checking out her portfolio is totally worth it, especially if you like Supernatural.
I confess, I’m using the Pirate one. It has some great functions that takes it over and above your usual word tracking sheet, and not only is it useful, it’s very attractive.
So yes, totally using that now. It’s always fun to enter a number and see your progress populate the other slots. It feels somehow extra accomplished.
The above is how I spent my afternoon (not whole day, actually) just reading my old book, preparing for a new one.
I started the sequel (again) to The Chocolatier’s WIfe. It took awhile, but I understand where I’m going. The bones feel stronger. I know where I can go…it’s a tale of murder, of sea witches…and it leads a trail to a third book, if I can manage it.
I am re-reading the book because I want to capture the old voices…I want to sound like Tasmin and William, and while I go I am taking tons of notes. Everything from place names (for a future map for the hard cover edition of Chocolatier’s Wife) to the correct spellings of people’s names. It is weird in a little way, because the last book I worked on was first person snarky lady, so, while Tasmin can certainly be snarky when she feels like it, it is a transition.
I am also making notes so I can make mini-dossiers, but also so I don’t forget minor details, like Cecelia and her tattoos. I also read some details about where she came from…how she and her people used to dance along the side of the sea as part of their worship, which stirred the question as to whether Cecelia, living as she does at Miss Dovelington’s Boarding House, still sneaks out to do so in the prim, colder climes of Azin Shore. It was just an aside in a letter William wrote to Tasmin, but it’s an important detail of this world.
So, taking lots of notes, as a sort of guidebook to make sure I forget nothing about how this world works. I think I may create an index of sorts, so when someone reads the second, or third books they can look back and see who is who.
So, less focus on fencing and the SCA, more focus on writing. Trying to keep the balance because I STILL love fencing, and I’ve really gotten into archery (you all should see the new cross bow mum and I got for the Holiday) but I have a vision on what I want from life. And I think I can reach it.
The Long and the Short of it are doing this marvelous Winter Blog Fest with several authors. Today, it’s all about me. Well, not really. It’s about Christmas lights/Fairy Lights.
I am also giving away Brownies from an awesome company…go and comment! You may win chocolaty goodness that even William would be impressed with.
Let’s see if I have a picture of the current tree…it sort of looks like we exchanged an enormous amount of presents, but except for a couple of things (I did get those books on Circuses and Magic I mentioned! You could murder a troll with them, they are so huge and heavy…strictly at the table reading) we mostly gave each other used books. Gift bags and gift bags of used books.
And a 16th century Italian Cross Bow. Well, not exactly, I guess replica is the word, but it is meant to be taken out and fired, often…and when I see the word replica I don’t really think of it as a working being. I really love shooting cross bows. I also shoot a recurve, and hopefully will soon be an archery marshal so I can run practices…
So, mum and I are sharing a crossbow:
(For more cross bows, check out New World Arbalest…he’s amazing.)
I hope you all had a wonderful Holiday so far, and many more.