A Writer’s Life

Rice_SecretsofWycliffeManor600I am writing this on Sunday, August 20, for reasons, below. If you’re not interested in the fabulously glamorous life of a multi-published author, move on. Otherwise, hang around. I’d offer you a beer or glass of wine for my pity party, but it would have to be virtual…

Today, I dumped 20,000 words of Book #4 of my Gravesyde Priory Mystery series into my “Maybe Next Time,” file. Six weeks of hard work, plotting, developing characters, writing, rewriting… out the door.

Well, I never actually throw out that many words. I file them away, hoping they may bubble and ferment and take on a life some day. But I’ve been struggling with this story for weeks, and I think the yeast is dead. So they now reside in a file with a lot of other flat bread. Index

I still need to write a book. I have ideas. Never any shortage of ideas. I even have one, a better one, to fit the timeline of the series. But see above about bubbling and fermenting… this takes time. So, while the sky darkened on what ought to be a bright August day fit for wildfires here in Southern California, I sat at my desk and researched the Hundred Days War and French surnames. And brainstormed with myself. The humidity reached 100% (this is desert country—we don’t do humidity. We don’t even have air conditioning), and I had to throw a towel over the story bowl and let it rest.

PillowsWe were told a tropical storm was headed our way and to batten the hatches and stay home. So we went out and gathered all our outdoor pillows and brought them inside. Took down the wind chimes, folded up any chairs that fold, brought the ceramic planters down off the walls.

The heavy clouds broke, and the rain started. This is usually the day we go hiking on the bluff above the ocean, but there are flood warnings out. We live right at sea level, a mile from the sea, just down the road from a major flood channel. So instead of hiking, we went to Costco to get in our walk. Did you know you can walk a mile going up and down the aisles of Costco? We usually walk two miles, but I didn’t think we could afford them. Came out with all kinds of yummy frozen goodies to test in our new freezer. If the power goes out, we can test our new solar battery.

It’s still raining. Since I operate on solar power like our battery, there is very little story fermenting happening. So I read social media. Oh golly gee, there’s an earthquake in Ojai, a hundred miles from here. Hope the tropical storm doesn’t blow them off the bluff. I’m thinking all the recommendations for boarding up our windows and filling up our bathtubs may be overkill. It’s still raining, barely. But we didn’t feel any shaking, at least. More pillows

Day isn’t over and I need to feel useful. Did a first read for a fairly new author. Fell asleep by page 50. Not a good sign. Fine, then let’s hit social media. I do love my reader comments on Facebook, and the slices of life from other authors, and the chance to buy a favorite author on sale. I do not appreciate Facebook’s thug tactics of forcing me to read ads instead of posts, but I do my best to navigate around them and keep up with fellow authors. Twitter and Instagram… I have yet to see the point. And now that X has taken away my tweetdeck, I can’t find anything or anyone, so I wandered off.

Since we had some old celery and carrots and a leftover Costco chicken carcass from our prior trip, I figured a rainy day was perfect for chicken soup. I’m still trying to lose pounds from the Alaskan cruise, so I resisted baking, which Rainis what rainy days are best for.

Tried to find a movie on the umpteen streaming channels, but we don’t remember titles, and nothing looked interesting, so we switched to watching Astrid and Afterparty. I adore books and programs with autistic characters because I relate to them so well, so Astrid is a favorite. Afterparty—is just silly, but good silly. Neither of them give me ideas for resuscitating the flat pages or inflating the new ones.

I mourn the beautifully developed characters and the budding romance that may never see the light. I had mystery suspects with names beginning with X, Y, and Z even! Who could resist? Apparently, I can. That’s six weeks worth of work, buried in a Word file.

We went to bed still waiting for the winds that never arrived. Sometime during the night, one of the top-heavy scheffleras turned over, but the pot was plastic, so no harm done.

And that was our hurricane party—pretty much a normal rainy day back in Kentucky. I know Rice_TheMysteryoftheMissingHeiress_600x900elsewhere they had flash flooding and a few trees toppled here and there, but California hurricanes are petulant toddlers compared to east coast raging teenagers.

But I got a blog out of it, so there’s that. How’s the weather treating you lately? Is it as weird as it is here? Dumped any favorite projects lately?

(there should be a sample for book #2 on my website at https://patriciarice.com/books/the-mystery-of-the-missing-heiress/ )

21 thoughts on “A Writer’s Life”

  1. I’m in West LA so I witnessed the same phenomena. Fortunately for us Hurricane Hilary turned east and LA mostly got some ordinary rain for a few hours and that was that. The ground was soaked in some places, so we will likely lose some old trees (and the houses under them) soon, but that is to come. I thoroughly expected my power to go off, but it didn’t, not until a few days later. There was an earthquake in Ojai that I certainly felt, but nothing even fell over.
    So mostly I stayed in and read regencies and listened to TV and radio promising dire disasters any minute now. I guess the gods are saving those for another day – which I am sure will come, likely sooner rather than later.
    Thanks to you guys, I have a TBR pile that will last centuries, so I was fine. But I did feel a little spooky strangeness, waiting for something to happen that never really happened, even though of course I was happy that it didn’t.

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  2. I’d offer you sympathy for the humidity but it’s hard. Here on the opposite coast, this summer has been nothing BUT humidity.
    I do sympathize with the “Maybe next time” file. So help me, for each book I write I have an “outtakes” folder as long as the finished manuscript. I know far more than anyone could want to know about the timber market in the early 1800s, but that turned out to be a dead end. Sigh.
    However, I am looking forward The Secrets of Wycliffe Manor. The description is pushing all my right buttons.

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  3. It is a strange feeling, isn’t it? We used to have a setup of chairs and books and lanterns in our unfinished basement for days when tornadoes were predicted back East. Waiting for disaster… Maybe we need to feel as if we survived to make our days more interesting?

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  4. I loved both the Wycliffe Manor books that I read. I hope that eventually we will be able to read the one that got away.
    We are too far inland for normal hurricanes to leave any lasting damage for us. The heat we are getting and have been for many days is beating the heck out of any possible rain we might get. And we need the rain so very badly.
    Thanks for the post. And I am glad you did not have any damage. Stay safe no matter what kind of weather approaches.

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  5. I do so understand about prepping for the potential disasters & then nothing happening, & I usually don’t get hurricanes. Did get one–way back in 2008, Hurricane Ike stomped on Texas then headed NNE. That’s normal but Sunday, about mid-day, they started warning about high winds & potential problems. As Ike was passing overhead, something caused him to share his winds on ground level instead of way up there like normal!
    When someone’s inflatable wading pool nearly caused an accident on the road & then came into the yard, I caught it, put it in the garage over the car & let it deflate. I already had my windchimes & birdfeeders inside. Quit having outside pillows–local cats love them & leave the fleas behind. Fighting that battle is not fun–esp. inside! I don’t understand why no one else seems to have that problem. How do you keep the locals off? Anyway, power went off about 4 PM, stayed off until about 8 PM Thursday. People lost lots of trees–happily, I didn’t. But I did have to dump the fridge & freezer contents. Oh so glad when that power came back on! By then, I was tired of reading (hard to believe), esp. by lamp light!

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  6. I’m in Florida, so I know hurricanes. There’s one nearby right now, as a matter of fact. Yesterday it was only a storm. Barely worth our attention. This morning they said it will increase to a Cat 3. Oh well. Btw…why did you have to throw away all those words. Admittedly, I’m a very new writer, but I can’t conceive if dumping so many words at I once. Here and there. Yes. Even whole chapters. I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one who has a document with all the “deleted” passages….lol. And I love rainy days! They are the best for reading and writing. I’m hoping we’ll get some rain out of this storm coming near us. The humidity here is insane. Yesterday I went outside and I swear I could almost feel like I was underwater and had trouble breathing. At least we don’t get earthquakes

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  7. yeah, the heat isn’t anything you can avoid, is it? And the drought. Let’s hope you don’t get inundated after the drought the way we were!
    I’m thinking you’ll eventually see the one that got away. He just needs time to percolate.

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  8. it’s really really hard to prepare for storms, especially if they’re unexpected! And I hear ya about the freezer–one of the reasons we just installed that solar battery. All that work in the garden can’t go to waste!
    The story behind our flealess pillows is a sad one–coyotes eat any cat left to roam. Very few kitties are outside cats here.

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  9. I have a brother in Florida so I’m keeping an eye on your storm! At least you know how to handle it. Here in CA, they haven’t a clue.
    Welcome to the writing world! I just decided the time in the series timeline wasn’t working with this particular story. And the hero just hadn’t developed enough story to make him interesting. So he’s sitting in the sidelines while I work around Waterloo. 😉

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  10. Thank you, Pat, for sharing a fabulously glamorous day in your life! I am glad that the hurricane was unexciting for you even if it did seem anticlimactic. (or would that be anticlimatic in this case?!)
    And drats on having to abandon a chunk of your writing. I hope it will get to shine in a future work at which point you can celebrate having a 20,000 word head start.

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  11. It’s the little things – “We usually walk two miles, but I didn’t think we could afford them.” – that brighten my day.
    Thanks.

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  12. Here in Ireland, August is officially Autumn but we usually class it as Summer. However this year it’s nearly Winter. The weather has been awful and terribly depressing. Looking out at fog and rain day after day is really starting to get to me. I haven’t felt this low in a long time. I’m even struggling to read, which is almost unheard of!!!
    I love the gorgeous covers you have for these books. Definitely ones that would jump off the shelves at me in a bookstore.

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  13. Hugs and much sympathy on the weather! It’s been the same here in what used to be sunny southern California. Foggy and cool the whole blamed summer. But we finally got a break and are seeing real August weather. Maybe you will too. SAD is terribly depressing. I’ve had one of those UV phototherapy lamps for years. You may need to look into them.
    And thank you on the covers! I keep telling my designer she’s a genius.

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  14. Fresno actually got wind & rain from Hilary which is unheard of here at this time of year. It didn’t disrupt our lifestyle at all but made a mess for our gardener to clean up.
    I hope you’re not abandoning the Gravesyde Priory storyline. I love them & the covers.

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  15. I’m glad you’re enjoying them! I’m definitely not abandoning the series. I just need this particular story to gel a little more, and I think the hero is the problem. So… thinking.

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  16. oh, well, not the way I’d prefer to keep the cats off the cushions. We do have coyotes here; sometimes I hear a pack during the night. I used to think nothing of taking the trash out for pickup during the night or getting the mail, but not anymore. Ah well, part of the joy of nature.

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