Monthly Archives: February 2015

#am writing #Netwalk’s Children

First 1000 words achieved today. May write more later. But for now, here’s the first snippet, as it stands without editing…sound interesting?


“Block it, block it, block it!” Bess Fielding yelled at Alex Jeffreys. “Don’t you dare let Don and Sophie beat us to this one—ah!” As Alex wheeled to lay down a warning fireline behind them, she found the shortcut code she was looking for in her overlays. Tracing the link, she located their target, centered her sights, and fired her blaster, cranking up the volume of both the pew-pew-pew firing sound and the bass-heavy speed death metal music at the same time. The 20th century tank exploded with a satisfying BOOM. Virtual shards spalled past Bess and Alex and faded as they intersected the limits of the hologlobe. Several pieces clattered harmlessly against Bess’s armor, disappearing as they hit.

“Yes!” A rare grin quirked Alex’s lips as he high-fived Bess.

“You slime, you’re cheating!” Sophie Morley-Garcia scolded, pushing back an unusually errant strand of black hair that had worked free from the tight French braid favored by longer-haired Security in Do It Right. “You went into Netwalk, didn’t you, Bess? That tank’s not supposed to be this easy to find and blow.”

Bess shrugged. “In a real fight there’s no rules. Especially in virtual.”

Comments Off on #am writing #Netwalk’s Children

Filed under Netwalk's Children

Netwalk’s Children…and so it begins.


I just texted the above picture to a friend with the note that I needed to break out the notecards…what one does with the third book of a series. Hoo boy, is this ever a writing change. While I’ve never been a complete pantser (oh dear God, after years of lecturing about prewriting to kids, I At Least Do Some Prewriting), at this point I am Officially Tired of having to go back through and tweak everything after the first draft. Or digging through piles of handwritten notes on assorted scraps of paper. I have some significant series threads that need to surface in this volume (one reason I have been procrastinating the writing of this damned book, this Netwalk’s Children, for at least two years). I need to track reveals, clues, and character arcs.

I admit that I was wowed and amazed by the release of J.K. Rowling’s outline for chapters 13-24 of the 5th Harry Potter. Am I likely to go into that much detail? No, probably not, because I don’t think I have that many subplots. What I’m having to track are character arcs, because I have some series-long arcs as well as several-book arcs.

Sigh. It’s late. I’m blathering, but…I’m still working things out.

Over the past few years, too, I’ve written some short stories to help me understand and play with aspects of this universe that I want to develop–not so much the tech but the characters and how they react to the tech. I’m leaving the tech as mostly handwavium until I get to the actual writing, simply because I can’t base the plots too heavily around the tech. It changes too quickly. What I can write about is the implications of what that kind of tech will do to characters and their way of thinking. I’ve spent two book volumes and an omnibus volume of novellas laying the ground for this book (and am developing a short story series along with this book to develop the themes)–and now, we’re in the third generation of the Netwalk/Dialogue tech. It’s time for the kids to react–and carry the wave of tech forward.

Yeah, yeah, vagueblogging. I’m tired, I’m toying with ideas, and this is supposed to be a writing process blog, not blathering about the book itself. But that’s another reason why I am settling in for some serious prewriting and blocking of this book. This damn world gets away from me, more than any other I’ve been playing in so far. I can’t say that Seeking Shelter, Pledges of Honor, or Alien Savvy have demonstrated the ability that the books in this world consistently do in twisting out of loose pantser plotting and creating more complexity which requires elaborate rewrites. I’ve spent too damn many hours going back and doggedly revising because I didn’t think through what the probable answer to a single scribbled sentence would be before I had to write it. Part of that is because I was already detailing lesson plans, IEPs, evaluation plans, etc, etc, etc. But I can’t count on snow days any more to deal with midbook vagueplotting issues.

Well, no more. I’m a working writer, not a teacher-writer, and I have to get into the groove of turning out a good, consistent book on a predictable cycle. I know I do better with a framework–it works for my short stories when I have to purge too many Big Ideas. With this many threads that I want to maintain, I need the help of the structure.

Additionally, this book is going to be written and revised during a moving process. I can’t count on having time to dig continuity out of my brain. I also have a personal hard deadline as I want it out by Worldcon. So…to the grindstone I go.

My hope is that having the reference structure will allow the words to flow, because I also want good words. I really want that good language to dance and sing.

Yeah. Process. Fun.

Seriously, I am enjoying it. Really. It’s nice to be possessed by a story again.

Comments Off on Netwalk’s Children…and so it begins.

Filed under Netwalk's Children

Valentine Disruptions now live


It’s also free through the 18th, 99 cents after that, at Amazon.

Blurbage: Between work, family, and national security obligations, it’s been years since Diana and Will Landreth have been able to plan a romantic getaway. Now they’re finally escaping…but the Disruption Machine crosses their path. Will they be able to capture the Machine and still have a romantic moment?

There’s a few landmarks in this story. While Diana and Will are the main characters, I’m also showing you a little bit about Sarah Stephens as well.

Valentine Disruptions is part of a new series of short stories, “The Disruption Chronicles,” about the effects of the Disruption Machine and its pursuit/capture on my characters and the world around them. When any place on Earth can be subjected to an unexpected, devastating, attack from a war machine with abilities above any known technologies, including the ability to deliver mutated quick-acting viruses, nerve gases, and radiological poisons, what does that do to attitudes, economies, and governments? I’m rather reluctant to dive full bore into writing a single book about it because every time I think about the idea, I bounce back. It’s a big concept, obviously. But it’s something I need to wrap my brain around because it’s foundational for the Netwalk Sequence books I still have planned–because the Gizmo is the Disruption Machine, captured, and the capture of Gizmo plus subsequent fallout is what broke Sarah, not to be repaired until after her death and Netwalk resurrection.

I first started poking at this idea in a Netwalk Foundations piece, Lucifer Has Fallen. That will come out in a revised version sometime this spring. I also plan to address the creation of the Corporate Courts, the alienation of Diana and Sarah, the death of Anne Whitman, and some other things in these shorts. I just can’t do them as a book. It’s too big, and…too many short arcs. They won’t come out in chronological order, either. However, I do plan to put them together in an omnibus and at that point they’ll be in chronological order.

Oh, and I finally figured out how one goes about creating a plain background in Gimp. This will speed up cover production mightily, especially for these short pieces where I don’t have much of a picture selection to use for the cover. I need to play with graphics more, but where the time will come for that…who knows?

Time to head out for the day. Have fun, folks.

Oh, and I’m beginning the serious outline blocking for Netwalk’s Children today. The Disruption Chronicles are crucial for my understanding of Children, helping me understand why I’ve been blocked for so long on that story. Now…it’s time to write it.

Comments Off on Valentine Disruptions now live

Filed under Netwalk Sequence

Valentine Disruptions finished

Title says it all, came in at over 10,000 words. Of course when I start writing a romance, there ends up being bangety-bangs, pew pew, and lots o’ angst and family drama. Isn’t that the best type?

A wee snippet:

“What do you want, Francis?” Diana asked, hoping to draw attention away from her mother if Sarah was actually carrying a weapon in her gloves. She could be. God, she hoped Sarah carried a weapon up her sleeve.

“The Machine.”

“No!” Will and Sarah said together.

“Then you’ll die,” Francis said. “Starting with Diana and Sarah.” One of his skimmer gun turrets began to whine open.

“You ever think about who and what restrains me from doing my worst?” Will’s voice was dead and cold, reminding Diana of how his father spoke when issuing deadly threats.

“You dance to the Third Force’s tune.” The skimmer gun turret door stopped, half-open. “You got rid of your father’s weaponry. You’re still under indictment because they don’t trust you.” Was that a trace of uncertainty she heard in Francis’s voice?

“For a good fucking reason,” Will whispered, the ice in his voice sending chills down Diana’s spine and making the back of her neck prickle. “And if you think it’s the Third Force that’s tamed me, that kept me from turning into my father, you’re wrong. There are three reasons I submit and you’ve just threatened all three of them.” Light flared behind them, tracing over their heads, arcing toward Francis’s skimmer…

The skimmer exploded faint moments before the light completed its arc. Light flashed back to the Machine. Diana whirled and raced toward Will and the X-57. A second, smaller blast detonated over the Machine, overloading her sensors after the previous explosion so that the world went black. This one was close enough to shake through her body.

But the X-57 links held. So it still existed.

Will? The X-57 would protect him, wouldn’t it?

“Text links dead,” Will rasped, his voice still carrying that cold overlay. “Brenda, tear that skimmer wreckage apart for any traces of a body. Diana–” The coldness dominated Will’s voice but she heard the faint thread of pain. “I–” he gasped.

Will held himself upright as she joined him, studiously not leaning on the X-57 except for one hand locked around a grip the war machine had made. Diana groaned as she saw the crack in his face shield, a gash in the suit. Blood trickled from both nostrils and his entire body quivered.

“The X-57’s shielding me as long as I hold this grip,” Will said, his voice cold and far away, the tone she recognized now as Will the weapons designer keeping a hard lock on his own body’s weaknesses in the face of a life-threatening situation. The hard lock that had kept him alive during weeks of torture in the Petroleum Autonomous Zone.

She opened a thigh pocket. “I can do quick repair, that’ll keep you safe for a while, long enough to take care–”

“No, not the first thing.” Will swallowed. He pointed toward the Disruption Machine with his free hand. She saw the bright orange ball of what looked like plasma bouncing against the shielding. “You’re going to need to catch that before you do anything with me.”

Comments Off on Valentine Disruptions finished

Filed under Netwalk Sequence

Painting, painting, and more painting

Painting, wind, and wildlife was the theme of this last Farpoint run. When we headed up to Enterprise last Thursday, we got hit by heavy rain and wind in the nastiest spot for it, a stretch of tight and narrow curves on I 84 between Dodson and Hood River. I swear the eastbound route is worse than the westbound…and without studless snows, the Dakota doesn’t quite ford massive freeway puddles as well as the Subie. Nonetheless, we trucked on and made it into drier and at the time less windier climes.

We arrived to discover shower in the bathroom. It had been a tough choice to tear out the old iron bathtub, but it was just too tall and too deep for us to get in and out of safely, plus it just dominated the whole damn bathroom. The contractor not only replaced it with a lovely angled shower which gives us room for a storage space (plus space within the bathroom), but he found someone to take the big ol’ non-clawfooted tub for a planter.

Cool with us.


It was mildly windy Thursday evening but NBD. We started to hang curtains and I found that I needed to rehem the office and kitchen curtains because they were too long. Better than too short. Tired from the drive and all, we crashed early. I slept fitfully and was awakened in the early morning first by a “thud” (later discovered to be a shingle that had hit the Dakota), and then the loud roaring of a freight train. My first thought was that the basement furnace was unusually loud, then “train,” then “no, this is Wallowa County not Portland–WIND.” Got up to see the pine tree’s branches dancing wildly, went back to bed…and then the lights went out. Tried calling Pacific Power, but discovered that power was going down over much of Eastern Oregon due to strong winds.  The lights came back on within half an hour, so we went back to sleep, flashlights by the bed.

Next morning, we had power, several shingles from the neighbor’s house in the yard, and stronger wind. Our tree danced and writhed gracefully, giving rather than resisting. I eyeballed our roof and we had solid shingles. Never did lose any, in part thanks to hubby getting up on the roof last fall to nail down some loose ones. The wind continued with some mighty gusts. We ate, then started painting. I made a quick run down to the Dollar Stretcher for supplies we had forgotten to pick up at Safeway the night before, and was astounded by the number of uprooted trees and broken limbs already strewing the town. But it wasn’t until I got out of the truck that I realized we were experiencing strong Gorge-level winds. I kind of muttered “this isn’t Crown Point, is it?” to myself before going inside the store…where I heard that the town of Joseph was still without power and had been hit pretty hard by the high winds.

Going back, I saw wind ripping metal roofing off of houses, but thankfully no trees falling or branches coming down right that moment. Little Farpoint seemed to hunker right down into the hillside and so we painted, painted, painted. I’d look up from primering in the living room and watch the stop sign and school warning sign get hammered by the wind in the next block down. The wind twisted the stop sign all the way around so that we could see the front of it instead of our usual view of the back, and it bent the school zone sign into a 45 degree angle. About that time I also noticed that Pacific Power had replaced our old power pole sometime in the last month, for which I was quite grateful–after watching it dance in a milder windstorm last fall, I think this one would have taken it.

But with every pause to watch the dance of the signs, I could see more shingles gone from houses in the neighborhood. I never actually saw those shingles go but every time I looked, several houses had shingles gone. We later heard from our contractor (who spent most of Friday and Saturday repairing roofs in Joseph) that the wind had taken out a lot of trees in Joseph, and ripped off at least one roof down to sheeting and fascia. I guess up there it was 60 mph sustained winds with gusts to 90+ mph. We came through it okay, and the friends we met up with on Friday did as well.

As far as painting was concerned, we now have the entire living room and kitchen primered and ready for final coats, including all the cupboards in the kitchen. Yay. The rest of it should be much simpler as we have only one more set of cupboards in the utility hallway and that will probably just be next winter’s project. Freshly painted kitchen cupboards are a bigger deal.

And wildlife…Thursday night, while talking to a neighbor, I spotted a bird that landed in a big neighborhood tree. Good-sized bird, but it was dusk and not the usual time for a bird that big to be passing through–and then I noticed the shape, upright posture, and tell-tale tufts of feathers poking up. Great Horned Owl. Pointed it out to hubby and neighbor, and we admired it. The next day, our friend who used to work for Fish and Wildlife told us it was most probably one of the birds associated with a nest down near the Fish Hatchery road. Then, Sunday morning, I discovered a big owl casting in the yard. Looks like owl is finding food in the ‘hood.

We also have a herd of about ten mule deer lurking around. Thursday night we saw six of them, does and fawns, wandering down the hill through our yard and into the neighbor’s yard. We spotted them again on Friday evening sampling branches from a fallen tree in the bed and breakfast yard. Then, Sunday afternoon, they came pouring off the hill at a determined and skittery trot, all ten of them including at least one spike-antlered buck. They crossed the street, held in that yard for a moment, then high-tailed it off across the next street and down, pretty much in a straight line, never breaking into the big high hops but at a good ground-covering trot.

IOW, yet another productive and yet fun time at Farpoint. Soon we’ll be able to do more than luxury camping there–there’s still more remodeling which has to be done, but we’re reaching the downhill stretch. Yay.

(and yes, writing happened as well. I’m hoping to have Valentine Disruptions done and up by Valentine’s Day, but damnit, Sarah and Diana don’t want to cooperate. Not so much pew-pew but definitely boom today. Will post snippet later. More boom today!)

Comments Off on Painting, painting, and more painting

Filed under Farpoint

Mocha’s thundering again

I’m thinking that I’m getting my old horse back. While I still feel tightness in Mocha’s right shoulder, and her hips lock up a little bit, she’s also getting to be fifteen this year. Not going to get the strong young mare she was a few years ago as she finally seems to be getting over the white line, the muscle soreness, the…whatever.

But as far as she’s concerned, it’s time to get back to some real work–real in Mocha definition meaning something other than working on the rail. Even when doing all three gaits on the rail, she’s looking to start doing patterns. Problem is, between the resection over her toe (while less extreme than her original resection, still needs to avoid too much pressure and torquing from sharp turns and such) and rehabbing whatever it was she initially did to her shoulder and chest, rail work is still the best. However, girl gets grumpy if all she does is rail work, even if it’s at all three gaits. So…figuring out a balance requires thought. Especially on a day like today where she started out tense and tight to the right, but started getting fretty and fussing about extra laps at the jog. Girl was on the muscle and wanted to go. I wanted her to be a little more warmed up with that tightness I felt. We finally came to an agreement, but I knew she needed a bit more intense of a workout.

Fortunately, there’s some options. I tested her on rollbacks a few days ago, especially trotting into them and loping out. That was popular. Now I’m careful to do them in the deeper end of the arena, and today she started jumping around in anticipation on her first right to left rollback. One of her bad habits, fueled in part by eagerness and in part by too much pressure on that right shoulder/fore so that she doesn’t get set up right to push off with her right fore. So we continued on around the arena, and trotted into the rollback, me being firm about whoa, dwell, kiss, turn.

Loping three quarters of the arena, slowing down to a trot, then whoa, pause, kiss, turn, worked. It’s a slow rollback without the push of loping into the rollback, and it made her happy. We did about four of those, then moved on to other work. Small walk circles. Trotting diagonal lines across the arena, then either doing haunches or forehand turns to face another direction and diagonal. Then loping the same type of diagonal pattern, wrapping up with a big three loop serpentine at jog and then lope, two in each direction.

By this time she was well warmed up, keyed up, and ready to go when I gave her free rein for her closing hand gallop. For the first time in ages, it really was a solid hand gallop, what we call a Mocha thunder, in both directions (we do this to shake out the tension from more collected work at the end of the ride). Then we were set up so that I asked her to roar down the diagonal after we made the far turn of the arena. It’s her favorite hard run and stop line–and she eagerly went for it. She’s not done that for over a year.

Let’s just say she was a happy horse at the end of this ride. She lined out nicely on our cool out hack along the road, swinging big through her back with an even reach through her shoulders.

My horsey girl thunders again. Yay!

Comments Off on Mocha’s thundering again

Filed under horse training journal