Thursday, August 28, 2008

Motorcycles and Novel Revisions

Really, there is a connection here between the two . . . I promise.

Finally got the bike -- it'll be two weeks this Saturday but last week with Tropical Storm Fay, I didn't get a chance to ride it much. Today I rode with my youngest on the back to her busstop. This is my risk-taker child, and she freaked out about the helmet, of all things! "I can't breathe! It's making me feel claustrophobic!" The possibility that she could break her head open or scrape across the pavement as her skin peels off didn't seem to faze her. She was bothered by that hard bubble on her head! I reminded her that if she wants to skydive (which she claims to want to do, and I believe her; we are alike in our risk-taking propensities), she'll have to wear a helmet for that, too.

So the motorcycle desire was always there, dormant in the recesses of my brain from when I used to ride on the back of my brother's bike, but when we moved to Florida -- where motorcycles are everywhere -- it began to push its way to the front. Somewhere along the way I decided to make the protagonist of my second novel a biker. Nothing hardcore. He's just a guy who likes to ride and his mode of transportation is a bike. He's a Floridian, and it just seemed to fit him. But the more I wrote, the more I wanted to be riding a bike myself. And I figured, hey, it can only improve the writing, right? ;-) So last May I took the rider safety course and got my motorcycle endorsement. And for my birthday in June, my wonderful hubby totally surprised me by giving me a gift certificate with the picture of a Harley on it; it was his way of giving me his blessing to get a bike. When we finally stopped traveling this summer, and I had time to do my research, I found the one I wanted and it was delivered just as Fay was making her way through the Caribbean . . .

It's a Kawasaki Vulcan 500. (I checked out Harleys and just decided they were too big for me, for now.) I love it! I'm thinking of naming it . . . (sick, sick, I know. My kids laughed at me.)

Meanwhile, I'm back to working on revisions to the novel. (Or that's what I'm supposed to be doing, instead of writing blog posts). But I'm having trouble with my ending. I made a big change to the story after the fact, and the change really affects my end, so it's the one thing I still need to revise, but I haven't been able to yet. (In fact, I don't think I should even use the word "revise" -- I think I'll be writing what will essentially be a whole new last chapter . . . ) I've been spending a lot of time thinking about it, but when I'm on Inked-In or doing other things, I always have the sense that I should be writing the ending, not thinking about it. But I know that if I'm not careful, it can easily slip into the "cheesy" category and I do not want that to happen. So am I avoiding? Or is all this "thinking" I'm doing just something I have to do before I can get down to business? In the past, whenever I've been stumped about a plot point or how to do a scene, it does eventually come to me, often at the most unlikely times . . . So maybe all this fretting is for naught . . .

Oh, and yes, I think riding the bike has helped with the authenticity in the writing! ;-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

RIP LeRoi Moore (1961-2008)

Anyone who really knows me knows of my love for all things Dave Matthews Band. I'd intended to sit down at the keyboard this morning and blog about motorcycles, hurricane days, etc., but I turned on my computer to find the news of LeRoi Moore's passing last night. I'm still a little bit in shock. He'd been seriously injured in an ATV accident in June but there seemed to be no reason to think he wouldn't recover. Obviously, I didn't personally know him, but I've attended so many DMB concerts over the years that when I read the news, it truly felt like a friend had died. For those who have formed their opinions about DMB merely from what they've heard on the radio, it's with a heavy heart that I offer a few clips to show the uninitiated what the fans already know . . . RIP, LeRoi. The shows will never be the same.

"#41" has always been one of my favorite songs, if not the favorite. The version that gives me chills is on a CD that only fan club members receive, and I couldn't figure out how to post a link so it could be heard, so this video will have to do. The video quality isn't great, but it will give you a taste. LeRoi's sax can be heard throughout, and he's got a solo starting at about 4:45 minutes in, but it doesn't even compare to his playing on the 20 minute version I can't seem to post . . .

"Seek Up" is another favorite. This is only a clip -- not the whole song -- but again, it will show you what you'll never hear on the radio.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Writing at the Beach

Yeah, yeah, I know I promised a Thrillerfest post, but the draft post has become long and unwieldy and I want to make sure I mention everyone and everything, so it just hasn't gotten finished . . . Now I'm at the beach (Daytona Beach Shores) with my laptop and my draft is at home on a Word document on my PC . . . Hopefully, next week.

I had a note from Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor (a wonderful lady and the co-founder, along with Joseph Hayes, of one of my favorite sites, Inked-In), asking me how my week at the beach is going. I quickly rattled off a response because I was so excited by everything I'm getting done on Book 2, and then it dawned on me: Hey, I could blog about this.

Some of you know that I've just begun working on my revisions to my second novel. I'd turned in the manuscript in May, and a few weeks back I received comments from my editors. I spent some time thinking about the comments and then, talking them over with both editors (UK and US). Though I'd already fiddled a bit with a few edits, this week is the first time in a while I've been able to spend long days doing nothing but writing and revising. I love it. THIS is the reason I write.

My girls are here with me around the clock, and Rick drives out each evening after work and then leaves early the next morning to head back to his office. I get up when he leaves, make my coffee, and get to work. I love the silence of the mornings, and the temperature is still nice enough to sit outside for a while. Eventually I wake my younger daughter and get her to surf camp. The older one and her friend (who is here with us, too) sleep in. On Tuesday, I set myself up on the beach near the surfers and made revisions to my manuscript by hand. Except for the campers, the beach is still pretty empty at that time of the morning. Because a large part of my story takes place in Florida, I find the writing just pours out of me when I'm immersed in the setting.

On Wednesday, I did it a bit differently. My skin needed a break from the sun and my writing needed the laptop, so I came back to the house after dropping off my surfer. Spent most of the day writing at the kitchen table.

Thursday was our anniversary -- 21 years married and a few months shy of 26 years together -- so Rick took off work and we played at the beach. Later, when surf camp was done for the day, the whole family went jet-skiing on the river. The jet-skiing was fun, but the best part was the dolphins! We must have seen about 10 of them, swimming right next to our jet-skis and showing off for us. Later, Rick and I drove down to New Smyrna for dinner at a place recommended by my friend and book club buddy Diane, The Garlic. Beautiful setting and the food and service both were excellent.

I also did some reading this week. Loving Frank, by Nancy Horan was first. It was this month's book for my book club. Hard to believe this was the author's first novel. It's beautifully written and even if you've never been interested in Frank Lloyd Wright in the past, this book will get you interested. It's a great love story, and an even better book club pick; LOTS of stuff to talk about.

Next was a completely different type of novel, Hold Tight, by Harlan Coben. This was my first Harlan Coben novel and it was so different from what I expected (though I understand that this book might be a bit of a departure from his other stuff?). Though it's a mystery, it's so much more. It touches on a lot of "big" issues: the parent/teen relationship, how we really don't know our kids (and can't), whether spying on them is (or ever can be) justified, etc. I really enjoyed it, perhaps because my children are at that age (cough, cough). But a warning: it leaves you with more questions than answers . . . This is another one that would generate lots of discussion at a book group.