Monthly Archives: September 2016

A breather between stories

It seems like I’ve been flying around dealing with stuff since Netwalking Space got finished, not all of it about the writing. Among other things, I had the day jobbe online work to keep me busy for three days this week, and then I participated in a book giveaway which ended up giving me a rather nice addition to my email list. Good stuff to do, but time-consuming.

And then there was the day lost to stomach objections. This happens once in a while, and it laid me flat for a whole day. Ugh. But the weather has turned, and I’m thinking a lot about writing stuff and art stuff as we’re getting close to bazaar season. IOW, STUFF.

On the other side of things, the Portland house is now mostly painted except for touch-up work. It’s pretty, but not as nice as the Enterprise house (IMO).

One of the things that happened last weekend was a second go-round at the Wallowa Valley Farmers Market in Joseph. I sold a couple of books and discovered in conversation that I am most likely THE science fiction and fantasy writer in Wallowa County. So, hmm. That makes for a nice piece of publicity–Wallowa County’s Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer.

And then there’s the election. Please, dear God, can it just go away? I have this dreadful feeling that 2016 is going to be too damn much like 1980 and 2000 for my liking, including the almost-20-year bit. Either that or 2016 is going to be a nasty set-up for major ugliness in 2020. Neither really works for me. Yes, I know it’s probably extinction burst of some attitudes, and we do seem to be making progress, but really. I’m fed up with the Purity Brigade on the left that whines and fusses about their presidential election choices, but doesn’t do squat in between those presidential years to organize and put together some real grass roots forces for significant change from the bottom up. I’ve spent too damn much time on Facebook griping at people who clearly haven’t spent time in the political trenches, can’t be bothered to do political organizing, but don’t like their choices.

If you don’t like your party’s choices? Then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Get involved.

But for God’s sake, with the Supreme Court at stake, don’t mouth sanctimonious platitudes about how your vote really isn’t going to get Trump elected if you decide that Jill’s your girl because HRC ain’t pure enough. For the record–you’re wrong. And don’t whine at me that you don’t like any of your choices if you haven’t spent time working for candidates at the local level and put in time organizing. Look, damn it. I worked for Jerry Brown in 1992. I tried to collaborate with people in the 90s to bring about some significant organizing change. The same people moaning about the Clintons being centrists and dragging the Democrats to the right had NO INTEREST in doing the grunt work to change things from the bottom up. The strategy of voting third party to bring about change is worthless, and only gives power to the 1%. Period.

Ah well, hopefully all will be well in November. But I’m worried. And I’m tuning out a lot of politics because I know how I’m voting, I’m not changing my vote, and there are too many people I know who seem to have lost all common sense when it comes to Trump. ARRGH.

And with that, I’m done with the political rants. Oh well, it’s helped me figure out who I don’t want to deal with on Facebook. Sigh.

We do have the prospect of a pretty hunting season ahead. I’m hoping it will be cooler and feature fewer yellow jackets, as I’d just as soon be able to sit down and eat without having to resort to the pickup cab. Or do reading or writing work in camp without having to hide in the pickup cab. Or manage deer/grouse carcasses without having to fight the yellow jackets. One sting this year is plenty.

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Netwalking Space finished!

About six weeks and right around 85k in rough draft, but it’s DONE. I’ll probably putz around a wee bit with the ending tomorrow, but…it’s done, done, DONE.

Six weeks of intensive writing, at about 2000 words a day average with some days going as high as 3000 or 35oo words. I did hit 4000 one day, but that was a rarity. While the ending took a few right hand turns, for the most part the storyline followed my original plan. I don’t know if it was the consistent writing, or what, but for once I didn’t have to stop in the middle third to rewrite the outline and whip the plan back in shape. I’m very pleased with that prospect.

There will need to be some significant rewriting before I ship it out to beta readers. I know there’s some continuity needs with earlier books, and within the story. I also have a subculture with too many A names, and I need to figure out some handwavium for the science part in order to maintain the narrative tension.

But it’s pretty much a wrap for this last book of the Netwalk Sequence.

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Busy times, and a Netwalking Space snippet

Between school starting back up and trying to get the novel finished and preserving the fall harvest, it’s been a busy time. But I’m getting close to finishing the book–probably 85k-90k since I’m now at 80k and we’re at the climax. 5k to play that out, 5 more k to resolve. Cool.

So here’s some of what I’m working on today:


A prickling sensation like that of a swarm of insects with clawed feet scrabbled from her elbows down to her hands. Bess forced herself to relax as Alex/Sarah took over her hands, pushing past the springy resistance with three practiced twists. Stock and firing chamber were together.

The crawling feel reversed itself, climbing from fingertips to hands to wrists to elbows.

<Whew. That felt weird,> Sarah/Alex speeched.

<I’ll say so. Will you need to do the same thing with the barrel?> Bess balanced the half-assembled rifle in her left hand, working her right hand open, closed, open, closed until she could feel herself in it again. Then she shifted the rifle to her right hand and repeated with her left.

<No, the programming’s focused in those two pieces. Placement is more important.> More Alex than Sarah this time.

Light flashed at them. Bess ducked, careful to keep the rifle steady.

“I thought you two would try something sneaky like this,” a woman’s voice said over their radios. “Put that rifle down and raise your hands. I’m on the next ridge behind you.”

“Who the hell are you?” Alex demanded, stepping to shield Bess. He reached behind with his good hand and took the half-assembled rifle from her. He pressed several buttons.

Laughter. “I’m the ticket to your new forever.”

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I’ve taken up a new transitional ritual every time we return to the Enterprise house. After we’ve unloaded, done our evening stuff, and had dinner, I go into the bathroom, pull out the jar of Fango facial mud, and give myself a facial. During this hot, muggy summer it’s felt like purging the grime and stress of the big city and beginning a lovely period back up in the mountains with clean air and fewer people. I don’t know that it makes that much difference in my skin but it definitely helps me relax back into the pace and rhythms of Enterprise as opposed to Portland.

But transitions are happening everywhere. It’s the season for wrapping up summer chores and finalizing winter food prep for humans and creatures alike. The wheat threshers work long hours harvesting fields while those of us who can and freeze are busy. Most of the most recent cutting of hay is already put up, but those ranchers who haven’t finished with the hay are hustling. This week alone, while juggling novel, back-to-school prep, and other stuff, I put up zucchini relish and a lot more applesauce than what I want to think about. Between canned applesauce and frozen applesauce we’re in good shape–the trees were quite productive. We’ll be going back to Portland and Clatskanie and I’m already planning what to do with cabbage, corn, and zucchini (relish and pickling ahead). This was my first canning in Enterprise, and the kitchen passed the canning test with flying colors, even with adjusting for altitude.

Just through this week I’ve noticed the arrival of fall. The angle of the sun. A damp coolness in the air. A late summer thunderstorm briefly grumbled over us last night, processing from Ruby Peak over town and continuing northeast toward Idaho. The leaves on the burning bush add a little bit more red every day.

Today Mocha and I jumped up a whitetail buck by the road. As he bounded away, I noticed that his antlers were the bright white of freshly sharpened horn. Hunting season has opened for archery and gun season is a month off. No more bucks in velvet, I guess. Our late afternoon ride was cool, and I realized that this might well be the last shirtsleeve ride of the year, if not one of the lasts. Mocha’s been hairing up the past couple of weeks, winter coat starting to come in. One doe I saw today already had a winter coat coming in.

We also marked yet another transition today as the last construction project on the house wrapped up. Today the contractor put the last touches on the front porch. For the first time since March, 2014, we no longer have construction projects pending on this house. We do have some plans for future things to be doing, but nothing as big as what we’ve already had done or are doing.

More warm days may return…but autumn is here. High autumn, with the hopeful promise of early winter and a good snowpack.

I think I’m ready for it.

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Filed under Mountain life