21 December 2016

All Things Shall Be At Peace

The campus is empty now. All the students have left for the holidays. After tomorrow, I take my leave, too.

I went for a walk today. I didn't care about the cold. Cold air can clear the mind, and my mind needed clearing.

I have to euthanize one of our cats tonight, and it is breaking my heart.

Of course, it is.

But even more than the usual pain of losing a pet, losing this pet is even more difficult. This pet is special.

My husband and I took her in after my mother-in-law passed away. That was five years ago. Mommy (that's the name my mother-in-law gave her) was a feral cat. She and her two kittens were all adopted by my mother-in-law twelve years ago. When my mother-in-law passed away, we took all three. Yes, it was crazy, but we made a promise to my mother-in-law to take care of her cats during her recuperation after heart surgery. Things didn't turn out, and her cats were orphaned. How could we send them to a shelter under those conditions?

So we took them in.

They were never a problem. Cats rarely are. Mommy had her own room, in a way. She would never leave the room we placed her in when she first came to live with us. She was free to, but she felt safe and never ventured out, and oftentimes her children would stay with her.

Then something interesting began to happen. A feral cat, probably nine years old when we took her in, slowly tamed, and she became domesticated. She started to leave the room and look for us. She still stayed in her room, but she would begin to jump up on the beds, go downstairs, and look for her people companions.

This year she became even closer to us. She started having health problems, and she trusted us to feed her by hand and give her medication. She would look for me to keep her company, and often she would keep me company while I was writing.

So, it is particularly painful to lose her now.

During my walk today, I came across this sign . . .

It hangs on the entrance of our Shakespeare Garden during the winter months. I think the quote is taken from A Midsummer Night's Dream. I imagine this quote was chosen for that purpose, to hang there while the garden is dormant--and at peace. I have seen the sign, but I never stopped to read it. Today I read it, and it's meaning hit me in a personal way.

Soon Mommy will be at peace. Me? Not so much. It has been an extremely difficult year, and I hope that, somehow in 2017, I will be able to find a little peace myself.

16 December 2016

A Review For Vocation

Finally, a review has come in for Vocation. I now have a four-star review on Goodreads, and I am very excited. Sure, the reviewer is a friend of mine, but he is also an author, so the review means a lot coming from someone who writes novels himself.

I am a little removed from Vocation now, and it is fun to read a reader's response to my story. Bridget struggled throughout the novel, and I struggled throughout writing it. In many ways, I miss hanging out with her and maybe in the new year, I'll pick up the novel and read it once again--this time as a reader.

Now, a quick update on book four.

Book four will most likely be a novella. I will include it with Incorruptible as a follow-up story. I had plans to write it as a full-length novel, and there is enough material for me to do that, but as I was writing, I began to realize I am going to reveal some things in the lives of characters that are mentioned briefly in Incorruptible. I wanted to visit with these characters because I had some questions of my own. However, visiting these character will create spoilers for Incorruptible, so to avoid that, I thought the best thing to do is to include the novella right after the main story--almost as a part two, and maybe it will eventually become part two. If I publish the novella alone, someone could read it before Incorruptible and spoil the mystery. I will keep you posted on my progress.

01 December 2016

Update on Incorruptible

I had some time over the Thanksgiving holiday to work on my third manuscript. Surprisingly, after going through the first draft, I found very little I needed to change. I actually added more than I deleted. All the scenes seem important to the plot, and I had to develop a few scenes and one character in particular. Right now the word count is 117,829. 

I'm just about ready to send it off to my critique partners. They will be able to tell me if the story makes sense and if there are any non-essential scenes or characters. The plot of this book is a little more complicated than my first two, so they will also be helping me with continuity. 

The one thing that really makes this book different is I have a mystery at the root of the plot that drives the action forward. My critique partners will read it to see if the mystery unfolds in a way that keeps the reader interested. Then when they give me feedback, I expect to have the real editing begin. 

My hope is to publish Incorruptible in the summer of 2017.