Monday, October 30, 2006

This Time of Year

Life chugs along the tracks a lot faster, it seems, when the air clears itself of all that humidity, the clouds seem whiter, and night falls faster. I don't know why - maybe we're not heading to the beach or lake and our hours need to be filled with something more productive. I know I'm tackling projects I've ignored all summer. My To-Do list grows daily, I fear.

Yesterday's race in Atlanta ended up on TiVo because we were too busy to watch. Yikes. Must prioritize better. The fall plantings had to get in the ground, however, while the weather is good. I want peonies next year, and had to clear room for new azaleas. Digging in the dirt is good for creativity, I've found. New ideas turn up with the loam.

I'm into gratitude in a big way, as well. I'm grateful for safer cars (won't go into details, but now I NEED a new car), a loving family, and all that's right in the world. It's easy to get swept into negativity, but so much more productive to see the positive side of things.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Sunburn, Rain, Freezing Cold, and the Boos

What a wild weekend. Ended up with a sunburn after the Craftsman Truck races on Saturday (yeah, Jack Sprague!), and froze my fanny off on Sunday morning as it rained and generally proved to be a miserable day for the sixth race for the Cup. Around 2 p.m., as the sun peeked out, the day improved for everyone but the cars caught up in the 18 cautions at the paperclip track called Martinsville. Interesting race. I think what surprised me the most was the loud and widespread booing that greeted Jimmie Johnson's victory lap. His crowd reception after winning the Daytona 500 wasn't so negative. All his whining has caught up to him. As my neighbor said, a Chevy won, just not the right one. Denny Hamlin, you're the man. David Regan, go back to go karts. You deserved a black flag after initiating your third wreck and taking out Ken Shrader.

What the TV cameras didn't show was Jack Sprague's little girl, racing onto the track and into his arms after he exited his truck. Watching him swinging her around in a big bear hug, I thought to myself, "this is the real prize, and he knows it." Good man.

Maggie Sefton, of the Knit One, Kill Two mystery series, is coming to visit on Thursday. It'll be fun to see her again.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Paperbacks and Martinsville

Just received my author copies of the paperback version of Yes, the River Knows today. It's fun to hold it in a different format, and pleasing to see its reviews printed in the book itself. I'm glad it's finally out.

We're racing this weekend - my fav short-short track, Martinsville, where we'll have our college kids and their buddies in tow. Even my intellectual, quiet, very refined child is going. We talked her into the Daytona Busch race this past summer, and much to our surprise, she loved it. On her feet, fist pumping the air, she screamed for Todd Kluever in the 06 car like a Nascar veteran. Now, she even owns a Greg Biffle hat and has an 06 sticker on her car window. Our racin' child is, of course, going - I don't think we'd be allowed to survive if we didn't pick her up on the way to the track, LOL. Looking forward to it.

The book revisions languish as I assemble all the racing gear, tailgating food and supplies, make sure batteries are operational for all the headphone radios, etc. No complaints - it helps to get away from the computer for a few days. My new motto is: don't sweat the small stuff. It's the big picture that counts, both in fiction writing, where you have to have a story and without one, even the most brilliant prose is just that, prose, and in life. Take care of the details, but don't obsess. Remember, it's the big picture that counts.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

No Apology Needed

Brian Vickers, quit apologizing. You said you didn't mean to dump Johnson, now it's his turn to grow up and accept what happened at Talladega. Junior has, much to his credit! Man, you won the race - have fun with it.

Growing up means taking what you don't like or want along with the good stuff. It'll turn around if you hang in there long enough, and if it doesn't, well, it's time to take another tack, find another path, etc. When a book doesn't want to come around, no matter how many chances I give it, how much I spill my heart and craft into it, it's time to shove it under the bed and let it gather dust bunnies.

You may have gathered I'm in the throes of manuscript revisions. One is coming along nicely, thank you very much. The other....well, it's half-way under my bed at this moment. I'll give it another go tomorrow, but I refuse to suffer over it anymore if it's not going to be nice.

Jimmie Johnson, be nice. Earnhardt has been. And if you can't be nice, at least have the decency to mope out of sight. Under a bed, maybe, with the dust bunnies to keep you company?

Sunday, October 08, 2006

That Little Fraction of an Inch

Anyone watching the race at Talladega today knows where of I speak. I was on my feet, screaming with everyone else in Nascar-land, as Jimmie Johnson made his move around Junior, with Brian Vickers, his faithful teammate, ready to push him to the win. Only that's not what happened - Vickers got a fraction of an inch too close to Jimmie's bumper at about 198 mph, and Johnson and Junior twirled like whirligigs into the infield as Victers took the checkered flag. That's what happens in racin', and congrats to Vickers on his first Cup win.

Missing the game plan by that itty-bitty bit happens all the time in the land of fiction writing. Now, no one hits the wall, no one flips like a quarter settling a bet, and no one gets hurt. (I hope not.) But let's be honest - sometimes we just can't get that chapter "right," or a character doesn't quite come to life. It's almost there, but it's still a miss, and you end up in the infield wondering what happened to your story. Been there, done that - a lot. What do you do? As Junior says, there's always a race next week, and there's always another chance to fix the bad stuff. And if it's not fixable, well, you shake your head and walk away. Sometimes the frame is too bent.

Just finished Shana Abe's The Smoke Thief, a fantasy romance set in Georgian England that's lushly written and filled with exquisite details. I've never read Abe' before, but I'm glad I found her.