Sunday, May 27, 2007

My novel will be ready soon.

Waiting for my editor to send proofs of Deadly Enterprise. I have some changes I want to add at the same time, and have copies of them to send back with the proofs. After that it'll seem odd not to be able to tinker with the manuscript any more.

I've heard it said that writers never actually finish editing their works – the pages are just taken out of their hands, and they're slapped if they try to add something. It seems that I can't go back to any finished manuscript without seeing something that irks me. It may only be a word or an attribution that could be cleaned up, but barring printing the thing off and declaiming it to the world from the back deck I think that's as far as I'd go.

At some point I will likely find myself reading some aloud, and I know I will automatically edit and transcribe the whole thing into something that sounds like Lady Macbeth trying to wash the blood off her hands. I made a terrible discovery the other day. I couldn't think of one guaranteed funny passage in the whole novel. What the hell am I going to do for starting the reading off with a laugh? I should have thought of that when I began writing it.

My protagonist is good for the odd terse one-liner, but the audience would need to be in the narrative flow for a few pages to get them. I have picked out some dramatic bits at different times, but I know that I will revisit the whole novel before being satisfied with any excerpts I choose.

I'm told the wolves I mentioned in my last blog post were seen at a farm south of here, with their eyes on the owner's small dog. I'm certain that they had their eyes on my two as they snuffled about gopher holes in the field the other week.

We met a very cheeky coyote yesterday who stood his ground and yipped and yodeled until we were way out of sight. He had quite a deep voice and some of his yips sounded more like laughter. I was able to compare his noise with the wolves' silence – coyotes need to make the noise to keep their spirits up. Wolves are confident enough to watch silently. He was silent as he prowled closer – the dogs went on and I sat on a rock on the hillside to watch him – but when I stood he decided he was close enough for safety and began yipping again.

Looks like a year for wildlife visitors. The whitetail and mule deer are a given, as thick as gophers, but we had a dozen or so elk browsing on the hills where I walk when the grass began to green. Should be bears and cougars next – they turn up at some time most years. As long as they mind their manners . . .

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Twisted Tales II Volume 2 is released.

The anthology with my story "Ticket" in was released last week by Double Dragon Publishing.

The link is

The first volume is at

The first volume is subtitled "Time on our Hands" and the second "Out of Time". All the stories revolve about some quirk or paradox involving time, and they all have twists at their endings. Mine involves a "fixer" from another dimension, called Angela, who gets the job of preventing a distraught husband from becoming homicidal after the death of his wife and unborn child.

The dogs and I had an adventure with creatures from another dimension yesterday morning on their run. I took them south across the fields where they could chase gophers and try to dig up their holes. About half a mile from town, while the dogs were showing up well on a hillside, I saw four canines running down the valley from the southwest, intent on investigating us. Since we often see coyotes there, and the two dogs usually chase them, I decided four were a problem and called the daftest one to me to put her on leash.

The four came as close as the remains of a small coal-mine operation (just a black mound and a few small craters in the field) and veered away. They went up a small hill where they waited and watched us walk. My larger and cannier dog, Coco, saw them and ran toward them, but stayed at a safe distance between us when I blew the whistle. I noted that they didn't do the usual coyote yipping and didn't keep going until they were a safe distance away, but didn't then come to any conclusion.

As I turned away to angle off toward the north, and then continued walking over the saddle and away from them, I turned to see the four in a group again, running after us. "Damned cheeky coyotes," I thought. I called Coco back from the gopher holes she was investigating and started a mock aggressive charge at the animals to chase them away. They stood and watched me. Coco angled across the hillside to join the charge, about a hundred yards ahead of me. I had to stop because it looked as if she'd get too close if I went closer, but the animals must have decided discretion was the better part and slunk away up the hill out of sight.

It wasn't until I had walked some distance farther and looked back to see them near the crest, laying down and still watching that it occurred to me that they were awfully aggressive for coyotes. They'd seemed rather larger, too, as I charged them. I'd seen plenty of wolves in my work in the north country and Arctic, but a pack was rarely all this same uniform colour. These were all grey, but the northern ones usually have at least on black or brindley coloured member in the pack. But they sure acted more like wolves than coyotes.

I phoned a rancher I know, closer to the mountains, to ask him if he'd seen any wolves around recently. Not exactly; he'd seen tracks, and a neighbor to the south had reported the wolves had crossed the river a week or so back. They did have a two year old grizzly hanging around but not the wolves. He thought there could be two of them.

"No," I said. "There are four."

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Some things are going quite quickly.

In the past week or so, I was invited to join three new writer sites. With the hope of placing my name and writing before the eyes of more potential readers I not only joined but added some words and accepted all the requests to have myself become a friend of other members. I think my efforts could be rewarded, I’ve already approached two more reviewers about them reviewing Deadly Enterprise.

My editor has returned from Greece and assures me that she is right on track for the first week in June, so that DE’s June release can be met. Not sure how much time that gives me for making my changes, but I can work fast when I have to.

So now I have three more blogs to keep up, on Book Place, Alternate Realities, and a Ning site for Zumaya Publications. I’m getting behind with the two I already have. I did one on BP called Writing Plausible Anachronisms, and one on AR called The Reality around us – must think of one for ZP next. Poor old Trailowner is getting outdated, but I wanted to write something nice about the United States and . . . you thought I was going to say ‘hadn’t thought of anything yet’. Shame on you. There are many good things happening in the US, but the gloss often rubs off when I look closely. Trailowner is a rant site, so something really great needs to happen before I could post about it. Maybe some satire . . . nah – I said something nice.

Maybe something about Canada. I’m allowed to be critical there without raising too much ire. We’re used to being criticized. The most difficult decision these days is whether global warming is a good or a bad thing. Having a heat wave in Winnipeg in January could hardly count as a climate change disaster, and I doubt if the pine beetles can destroy BC’s forests any faster than all the logging companies are currently managing. The tundra is melting, which should make for interesting times in the Arctic, and the polar bears are running out of ice, but I doubt the seals will be too disappointed at that.

But I’m getting a bit peeved – when we started on our energy efficient house we had far more hours of winter sunlight than we’ve had in recent winters. The direct sunlight can keep our indoor daytime temperatures above 20°C even when it’s -20°C outside, but all these cloudy days mean I have to light the fire earlier every day – even run one all day when it’s only -10°C outside. I wind up cutting more firewood every year, and invariably run out before winter does. If climate change means having more Vancouver weather I’d sooner have the old days.