Best Laid Plans….

I meant to have the first draft of POSED IN DEATH finished by the end of June. I knew June was going to be a busy month, but I didn’t realize quite how busy it was going to get. There’s no way I’m going to meet my goal.

HH’s brother and his significant other came to stay with us for a few days for a visit. They live in California,, so we don’t get to see them often. We had a wonderful time, but no writing. I love having guests, so cooked things ahead for them, and we took them to different places for walks and hikes (their favorite thing to do). Our daughter, a traveling nurse, is still coming to stay with us on the days she works in town; and it’s wonderful getting to see her, so I shave off time for that. On a sadder note, my cousin who lives with my sister is having more health issues, and Mary had appointments she had to keep, so I sat with Jenny more than usual lately. She’s having more mild seizures lately and having more trouble walking, so Mary and I are starting to look at nursing centers.

Some people shake their heads at that, but after HH’s dad died, his mother was a lot happier when I found a good nursing home for her. She hated being alone, didn’t enjoy cooking, and kept forgetting to take her medicine. The home she stayed in had an activity every afternoon and usually another one each night. I went to take her out for lunch and for long rides every Thursday for twelve years until she told me that she couldn’t work me into her schedule anymore. I loved it. My writer friend, Ann–one of my favorite people–went to a nursing home after her husband died, too, and her daughter visited her every day. She was in my writers’ club, so I went to visit her occasionally and so did other members of our group, and she got happier and happier the longer she was there. I think Jenny will be the same. She loves being around people and doing crafts. Right now, she watches a lot of TV and can’t get out much. Mary and I will visit her if we can find a good home for her. So will my daughter. But finding that good place for her takes time.

I don’t have any deadlines I have to meet, and that’s a good thing right now, but I’m getting a little antsy to get this done. Sometimes, life happens, though, and this time, I’m doomed. I’ve been writing whenever I can, and I can smell the end of the first draft. Only five more chapters to go. I’ll get to them when I can. There’s no use fussing about it. It is what it is, and I did the best I could. So I’ll just keep chugging along. At least, for now, I’m happy with what I have, and I’m writing this ahead to schedule it, so who knows? Maybe I’ll have written The End by the time you read this.

How’s your summer going? Do you lose writing time once warm weather rolls around? I always think of the lazy days of summer, but the truth is, I’m busier once the heat cranks up. I have the yard to take care of besides the house. And we’re more social in warm weather and go out more. We play more. Do you still meet writing goals? Fingers crossed you do.

Interruptions and Research..For supernaturals?

I’m over halfway through the free supernatural mystery I’ve been writing for my webpage.  I was flying through pages until this week.  And then everything slowed to a snail’s pace.  Part of it was because of interruptions.  Now, mind you, I usually welcome these.  If left to my own devises, I’m all too happy to plop my fanny in my writing chair and only come up for air to eat lunch (my husband usually puts that together from leftovers or he makes sandwiches–he’s amazingly good at those) or when I glance at the clock and I have to hustle to make supper.  (He expects something solid for that, and he’s a bit picky).  That’s why I make out menus for meals.  BUT, this week, I got stopped a lot more often that.  I don’t know if it was because of the bitter cold weather or because we were going to change months, but I had one phone call after another.  I AM NOT COMPLAINING, because I remind myself All The Time that I love it when my kids or grandkids still think of us and give us a call.

Add to that, I added a chapter to my story where the demon enforcer and his deputized witch drive to a nearby Druid community to search for the plant, wood betony.  Now, when I started this book, I never realized that I’d need to come up with some plausible plants to make magical pouches and protection potions.  Silly me.  But when I thought of that as a fun plot twist, the question became–what in the heck would you dry to grind for a spell like that?  My old, falling apart book, COUNTRY SCRAPBOOK–All About Country Lore and Life, by Jerry Mack Johnson–came to the rescue.  I had no desire to find out if there actually WAS such a spell.  My witches are fantacized, but I wanted the ingredients to sound FEASIBLE, so I spent more than a little time reading that the ancients believed that wood betony protected journeymen by night from all harm, including witchcraft.  People gathered its leaves and flowers to brew tea to help heal ulcers and wounds, too, among other things.  Yellow gentian rendered poisons ineffectual.  A few seeds of fennel placed in keyholes kept ghosts at bay.  You get the idea…

By the time I came up with a recipe to put in a fabric pouch to wear around your neck, I was pretty happy with myself.  And then I wrote that witches wouldn’t grow wood betony in a witch garden, because it might bring them harm, but SOMEONE had used it…on purpose…and Hester and Raven decided that person might have gotten it from the Druids who live close by.   Another fun idea.  Except…I had no idea how I wanted to distinguish a Druid’s magic from a witch’s, and I wanted their settlement to be different, too.  Which meant…more research.

And boy, I’m glad I took the time.  Because Druids weren’t even close to the brown robed priests TV often show them as.  Did you know it took twenty years for someone to train to be a Druid?  That most knew three languages–Latin, Greek, and Etruscan.  And that they were so respected for their wisdom and honesty, other countries hired them to be judges and lawyers in important cases?  Or that women could be judges and lawyers, too?  I sure didn’t.  I’m still no expert on Druids, but I found the right flavor for my Druid community and hopefully, it gives the right impression.

Anyway, between fun phone calls and looking for answers for ideas to make my story more believable–even though it’s fantasy–I spent a lot of time at my writing desk NOT writing.  But it’s all part of getting words on paper, isn’t it?  I’m back to pounding away on keys now, and I’m making progress again.

For your week, I wish you Happy Writing!  Or whatever makes your story better.