Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summer so Far: Writing, Pool, & Aqua Cycles

I just posted yesterday, but I don't think lamenting about my chicken whose wing got ripped off counts as a real post. Plus I really want to do a writing update. Okay, and a pool update.

WARNING: The below prattling falls into the category of boring stuff that's really only interesting to me, so I hereby apologize in advance.

Writing update: I have only two more chapters (maybe 3) until my book is finished! But what I'm even more excited about is the fact that Clint sat down with me for three or four hours and helped me map out all of book 2, and most of book 3. I even have the conflict for book 4 now, I just don't have that one fleshed out like I do the other two. I am thrilled with books 2 and 3! Particularly #2. It has a fun story concept, but also starts to play around with the bigger conflict...the one that carries through until the end of the series. The four sisters really have to start working together toward the end of book 2, segwaying into the beginning of book 3, where they learn the full truth of who (or what) they are.

Look at me, talking about it like it's already written.

What's crazy is I would have never sat down and mapped out the series the way I did if Clint hadn't forgotten his wallet. He was on his way to work the other night, and had driven for an hour when he stopped for gas. It was there he realized he had accidentally left his wallet at home. There was no way he could continue on without it (no money for meals, no way of checking in his motel room, etc,) so I told him I would meet him halfway to bring it to him. He said don't worry about it. He doesn't really trust my crappy night vision, but mainly he was discouraged at the idea of having to repeat that hour of driving. So he decided to call in sick. though he was feeling a little guilty about the decision. I told him, "Don't stress, you never forget your wallet. This happened for a reason." Well he ended up coming home and was SO in the mood to talk about my series. We started what began as the world's worst brainstorming session, with him tossing out ideas and me rolling my eyes at the outrageous stupidity of them. But little by little, the ideas started getting better, and I started spinning off his suggestions with ones of my own, and the "What if's" grew to amazing proportions, and before we knew it, we had a kick-ass sequel. Okay, it still has a lot of holes, but it's a lot more than I had to work with for my first book. I told Clint that someday, when I get around to writing and publishing this thing, I'm going to dedicate it to his MIA wallet.

For the record I don't think that brainstorming my series was the "reason" for him forgetting his wallet--I'm pretty sure the universe doesn't really care that I'm trying to write a novel. But it was awfully convenient.

I have a title for the book now too! I disclosed the new title publicly to two tweeps, but deleted those tweets when my soon-to-be editor @boundiali recommended I not broadcast it to the world until Cover Reveal Day. The new title is a double entendre, but the reader won't realize that until the beginning of book 3.

Pool UpdateOkay, so the pool! The tile is finished. Next week they're pouring the patio, and then once our fence is finished, they'll do the plaster. They pretty much hold your pool hostage until your fence has passed inspection. At this point, the estimated date of completion is June 18th. Here's what it looks like today:



Brickwork on spa


Close-up of tile (colors are more faded when dry)


One tile catastrophe after another resulted in Clint and I making these tiles ourselves. He cut the burnt sienna tiles into the four corner pieces that you see above, and we pieced together the decorative centers using stock tiles and sample glass tiles ripped straight off of the board of our tile store (they let us rip off their samples because they were making up for the fact that they royally screwed us over on our original order--long story). We hot-glued our arrangements onto 6'x6' square cut-outs of screen (as in, we literally tore down our dining room window screen and cut it into pieces for this emergency project), and voila! Twenty-eight completely custom accent tiles, ready for installation.  The little yellow and white glass tile on the bottom right even has starfish in it. Super cute. We saved $580 by doing the accent tiles ourselves, but I think that might be offset by the spike in blood pressure that comes with being jolted awake in the morning and told that you only have a couple of hours to do an arts-and-craft-project from hell.

Non-writing- and non-pool-related news ('cause sometimes I actually have a life beyond those things. Um...sometimes): I took the kids up to Shan's house yesterday and spent the day relaxing at Lake Gregory--er--Lake Pinecone. It was a gorgeous day. My parents drove up too, along with our friend Sarah. Shan and Jer made everyone an awesome lunch and then we walked down to the lake. My favorite part of the day was riding the aqua cycles with my mom. If you've never seen one before, these are the ones at Lake Pinecone:


And here's what they do:


They look all cute and whimsical, but these things are a workout. It costs $5 for a half hour, and I was laughing because when someone asked the worker "Will you holler at us when our time is up?" she said something like, "No, we don't keep track, but you'll know when your thirty minutes are up because you'll be dying." I wish I could have captured a picture of me and my mom riding ours, but there's nowhere to keep a cell phone safe once you're out on the lake, especially given that on the other side of the lake were these giant waterfall-sprayer things. My mom and I, who turned out to be crummy aqua cycle drivers, ended up trapping ourselves in one of the sprayers and getting drenched.

Have I ever mentioned that Shannon's house is a mere ten minute walk from all this awesomeness? Man...talk about living the life.