leap over the chasm

Work in Progress Report: On the Brink

My work in progress is getting closer to becoming a completed and published work: She Who Returns: a sequel.

But it’s not quite there. I’m certainly not rushing. In fact, I’m dithering.

The text is finished. I’ve received and considered suggestions from beta-readers. I’ve made all the major plot changes and reduced the word count from 104K to 95K. I’ve trimmed paragraphs, adjusted sentences, and twiddled with words. I’ve even done the backwards read. (That’s when you start at the final sentence and read each one before it until you get to the first sentence. It’s a great way to find typos because you don’t get caught up in the narrative and overlook errors.)

The next steps are: add back and front matter, finalize the covers, write the book description, pick categories and keywords, and format the document for ebook and print. Then upload and publish!

Maybe it’s because I’m trying to avoid those necessary but tedious tasks, but I’m stuck at the point of “just one more read-through.”

Here’s the problem: every time I do the “final” read-through, I make small changes, like swapping “this” for “that,” or deleting a few redundant words. Even a sentence or two. So then I need to do yet another quick read-through just to make sure I haven’t introduced fresh typos or inadvertently deleted something.

Except when I do that “last” read-through, I can’t resist a few more tweaks. Which means I need to do yet another one. Just in case.

Enough, already!

That’s why I’m issuing myself a deadline and posting it here: She Who Returns will be available for pre-order by the end of March.

She Who Returns: a sequel

France Leighton is studying Egyptology at Miskatonic University and planning a return to Egypt via a field school offered by that institution. But France has a talent for rash decisions, and things are complicated by the arrival of her twin half-brothers from England. Edward and Peter are contrasts; one is a rational scientist, the other a dabbler in the occult. But they are equally capable of persuading France to help them with dubious schemes.
France does return to Egypt, if not quite the way she intended. She encounters old friends and new enemies, and challenges rooted in her previous adventures and her family’s complicated history. What begins as an adventure becomes a desperate situation. On the brink of yet another failure, France has to make hard choices that may lead to the ultimate sacrifice.

The Rigors of Spring Begin

I have mixed feelings about spring, even this year as we emerge from a La Nina winter. We had two bouts of snow here, one in November and another in February. There was a lot of wind and rain in the first part of March, so it’s good to see longer days (a few of them sunny) and temperatures of more than 10 degrees C. (50 F).

But I still find spring to be a challenge. For several months the garden has been quiescent, with last year’s memories preserved in pictures and vague intentions for the future. But with the coming of spring, it wakes up and makes demands. Or, to be accurate, plants in the garden emerge from dormancy and begin to grow. Seeing this, the gardener begins to make lists of Things To Do: prune roses and hollies, cut down old Epimedium foliage, edge all beds, seed tomatoes (indoors, of course), dig vegetable patch, and (as Henry Mitchell would say), zub zub zub.

In spring, the garden stops being theoretical and becomes actual.

Things that haven’t worked out can no longer be ignored. Six potted Meconopsis have sprouted out. The seventh has not, so must be dead, a possibility confirmed by judicious prodding around the crown of the plant. The hebes, which actually had a few blooms in January,now look dead, no doubt as a result of the snow and cold in February. A large portion of the front garden is a mess — full of unwanted grass and renegade Campanulas.  It adjoins the Bad Neighborhood and is starting to resemble it. Something must be done, and soon.

That’s the thing — certain garden tasks are best done now rather than later (which so often translates to “never”). If the invading grasses are ignored, they will gain a few more yards and the weeding job will only get bigger. The soil will dry out, making it harder to extract the weeds, and the job will end up being done in warm weather instead of these cool, damp days which facilitate weeding. Or so I tell myself on the way to the shed to get the hand fork and dandelion tool.

Spring is like getting up after a long night’s sleep. You are rested and want to get going, but it’s still an effort to flap back the blankets, put your feet on the floor and head for the bathroom. It’s so easy to go back to sleep for another hour and dream about roses in bloom and a mist of blue poppies in summer shade. Those things won’t happen unless you, the gardener, overcomes inertia and participates in their making. So get out of that chair, put those boots on, get out and dig!