Archive for October, 2008

Just write it

I’m a lucky writer.

I participate in two writing groups that are very supportive, both at meeting time and after. One is based in a Unitarian church, and the small group is well-meaning and cheerful, though the members aren’t regularly published; it’s mostly people who like to write for themselves. The other is part of the larger Pennwriters group that’s branched off to meet in Erie, and is made up of people who are professionally farther along, and mostly published writers. I’ve been meeting with this group for maybe five years–they were a group before I came along. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we can evaluate new projects in light of these.  Some write and improve the same pieces over and over to bring for critique, working toward perfection; others, like me, tend to work in mass quantities.

As a result, I’ve been able to accomplish my earlier goals, preparatory to making a run at a second NaNoWriMo, completing a full edit of one on my sci-fi novels so I could send it to an editor I met this spring at a conference, as well as sending out multiple queries for my 2007 NaNo novel, since the agent who had accepted it is now having some serious solvency issues. I have two weeks now to edit my urban fantasy, complete with deep gratitude to long-suffering writing partner Jean, who red-penned it (ouch! but it’s necessary) so I can be ready to send it to yet another agent who expressed interest at the conference. I have one novel under review by Harlequin; another by a well-known New York agent, and not one, but TWO Cup of Comfort books coming out in the next year. (More on that when the publicity packs come out.)

So….with the patient understanding of the Cabana Boy and children, who all know I’m a better person when I’m involved in creation, it looks like I’m on track for the chemical-free rush of NaNoWriMo.  Well, except for the caffeine.  LOTs and LOTS of caffeine….

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If you’d like to see a great assortment of pieces on and about writers, come on down to the Just Write Blog Carnival where you’ll find much to interest you, including a piece of mine!

Don’t shoot the piano player–or the lawyer

We’ve made the decision to move my legal office back into the house. I had it there for several years, when I was a single mom with older daughters at home. Then I got married, had toddlers in the house, and went to work for Legal Services to get benefits, so I closed it.

But looking at the state of current affairs, it just seems to be a good idea to be close to home. First, the kids are starting therapy again and we get afternoons filled with lovely strangers in our home; but a parent needs to be present. Second, the cost of gas and electric are supposed to double in our area–it’s hard to justify paying for that at home and in an office downtown at the same time. Third, I can be available to clients later each day, because I won’t have to rush home to get kids off the bus. Of course, there’s always the question whether the economy will be left in shreds any given day–cutting expenses to a minimum would surely help in an economic crunch.

On the other hand, having a professional office in your home, particularly one where people get a little volatile, is sometimes an adventure of the not-so-pleasant kind. My older girls still remember some of the drama. Like the skinny little woman who drove semi-truck and never bathed, whose child was placed in foster care and then decided he liked it better than home. She came by the house the night after the hearing and threw all his belongings onto our front lawn. The Truck Lady. Now those were good times.

There’s also a bullethole in the front window that we’ve never quite traced. We weren’t home when it happened. That’s good enough for us.

The Cabana Boy is talking about getting us some protection. We’ve been a little reluctant to have any firearms in the house because of the Captain’s difficulty with distinguishing reality vs. television/fantasy, i.e. when people are shot on TV, they are revived or come back on another show next week, etc. (I mean seriously, how many times can you kill Stefano DiMera??) But there’s just something about people who feel they have nothing to lose that makes you want to take that extra step to make sure you’re safe.

We’ve been working on rearranging, clearing out, cleaning up the areas in which we’ve now grown comfortable to return them to a professional standard. Some people, I’m sure, will feel that a lawyer without an “official” office isn’t good enough. So be it. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, you know? Many years ago, I came to terms with the fact I’d never be F. Lee Bailey or Gloria Allred. I just want to serve my community in a small, quiet way. Apparently, with a gun in the office drawer.