Thursday, July 28, 2011

68,000 words

I'm closing in on the end of Misfits. I'm guessing it'll top out at 75,000 words, which is a bit on the long side for a YA novel but not ridiculously long. I'm 68k words in right now.

Writing it has been strange. I became obsessed with it a week before Mom had her stroke, and it was only natural for me to continue working on it at the hospital. But one part of the book concerns the main character's trouble with his mother; he's sixteen and doesn't always get along with her. It felt really weird to be writing arguments between the two when my own mother was lying in a hospital bed next to me and I was doing everything I could to make her comfortable.

I did a lot of thinking about my own teenage years. I was a pretty good kid, but Mom and I fought a lot--about stupid stuff, in retrospect. I'd scream at her and make her miserable, and those memories made me damn miserable in the late evenings while Mom was sleeping and I was trying to write. I wish I had known as a teenager just how tolerant and kind my mom really was.

But it's those memories of screaming at my mom that she was unfair that allow me to dig into the mind of a fictional teenager and really understand how he feels. So I guess that's just one more thing my mom did for me.

I have, of course, apologized to her repeatedly for my teenage self. That she finds it all amusing now says a lot about her.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The kindness of strangers

Mom's home from the hospital as of a few days ago, although "home" right now is her sister's house. I'm staying in my cousin's room (and I love love love her bathroom, which is like my favorite room in the whole wonderful house--when I grow up and have my own house, its bathroom will be like that one). Mom's doing much better; we even went out to see the new Harry Potter movie the other day, which she loved. We'll probably see it again next week.

My aunt's house is across town from ours, which sounds like a long drive except that we live in such a tiny village. It takes me about three minutes to get from one house to another. This afternoon Mom settled down for a nap and I ran home to get some stuff and attempt to tame some of the yard. I haven't had a chance to mow in almost a month, much less weed the garden.

Well, when I pulled into our driveway I was shocked to see that the lawn was newly shorn. And when I parked in back, I saw the neighbor across the street on his big riding mower, finishing up. I'd never even met him, but he said he was a good friend of another of my cousins when they were young, and he was out mowing his yard and said he decided to get ours at the same time.

There's been so much kindness shown to Mom and me over the last few weeks, it's overwhelming. Mom keeps exclaiming over the unbelievable number of cards she's received, all the flowers and notes and emails from people wishing her well. I told her that if only we could harness all the goodwill, we could probably solve the energy crisis for good. Clean goodwill energy for all!

I wonder if I can persuade someone to weed my garden for me.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Release day!

My paranormal romance/fantasy novel, The Taste of Magic, is now available as an ebook from Etopia Press! I love the cover, and this is a seriously fun book. It's the one I wrote back in, hmm, 2008 I think--in fact, if I remember correctly, it was my NaNoWriMo book that year.

I wish I were in the position right now to run a contest, but that will have to wait until probably next week. Until then, you can contest yourself with merely buying the book and reading it.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Long Update

I asked for and received permission to post details about what's been keeping me away from the internet for so long. My last post was vague because I didn't want to share information that concerned others--specifically, as is probably pretty obvious, my mom, who is a private person.

Anyway, last month on June 23 Mom had a mild stroke. It's a long and frustrating story of tests and doctors and more tests and more doctors, but here's the short version: Mom has advanced cancer of the uterus, which caused her blood to be abnormally coagulative, which in turn caused a clot in her lungs, which in turn caused her stroke. She's now on bloodthinners to reduce the clotting and on chemo to address the cancer. Without treatment (chemo and bloodthinners), her life expectancy could have been as little as three months.

I've been staying with Mom at the hospital, with only flying visits home to do laundry, shower, and get stuff Mom and I need. For the last week she's been in the Patricia Neal Rehabilitation Center's intensive therapy inpatient program, where she'll probably be for another week. She's doing very well, I'm happy to say. Her stroke was mild, leaving her with only mild physical issues (weak right arm and leg leading to some balancing problems and difficulties doing things like tying her shoes and buttoning clothes) and moderate expressive aphasia, which is a fancy way of saying that somewhere between her brain figuring out exactly what she wants to say and her mouth forming the words, the words vanish into nothing. She's already regained a lot of speech, but it's incredibly frustrating for her--especially considering how eloquent and articulate she's always been. But she's very fortunate that her cognitive abilities are not affected.

I've taken a leave of absence from work until at least the end of August. I have been writing, though. I dusted off Bunny the eee and have typed up everything I wrote longhand during that horrible first week in the hospital. Now that Mom's in therapy most of the day, I write mostly in the evenings. I'm at 50,000 words in my YA novel, Misfits. My novel The Taste of Magic releases from Etopia Press tomorrow and the cover is awesome--I'll try to post it tomorrow if I get a chance. Blogger and Facebook are two of the sites blocked by the hospital's wifi, so I can't post or read blogs unless I'm at home, and I'm not home much.

I feel unbelievably disconnected from the world and from my online friends. I hope everyone's okay. I read Carrie Harris's awesome new book Bad Taste in Boys the other day, but I wasn't able to post on her blog and congratulate her. I know a lot of you have had triumphs and disappointments in the last three weeks and I wish I'd known so I could celebrate and commiserate with you. Once Mom's home, things will be a little easier, and slowly, gradually, I hope life will return to normal as much as it can.