Archive for February, 2010|Monthly archive page

About the Novella (in case anyone was wondering)

Finding the Briar Rose wasn’t chosen for the anthology; it was, however, forwarded to the lovely and talented Lindsey Faber (my regular editor at Samhain) for consideration as part of the regular list.

Only I could screw up a rejection, LOL.

So here’s my dilemma…should I tell the lovely and talented Lindsey that I have ideas for two more futuristic fairy tales so that the three could be packaged as a novel-length work? After all, the second and third are not written; they’re still…percolating, so to speak. Decisions, decisions. Perhaps I will e-mail her and ask if she wants to know.

Back to the work in progress…I cross the halfway mark of The Valois Contingency’s first draft tonight (that’s getting through the first 45,000 words). And, oddly enough, I cross the halfway mark of my radiation treatment tomorrow. Boo-Yah on both counts.

Why Calendula?

This is just an idle question…the hospital gave me a tube of calendula gel to be applied 2 to 3 times per day during radiation treatment. Why calendula?

I would have expected aloe, given its history and association with burn treatment. But, no, it says calendula on the label. It also says homeopathic on the label, but I swear the radiation techs handed me the stuff right before I met with the internist. I always thought the point of homeopathic medicine was to dilute something until it was practically not there, but this is 7% calendula officinalis.

Who knew radiologic oncologists (or oncological radiologists) were into alternative medicine? And if it works, so much the better. Grin.

The Difference Between Love Scenes and Sex Scenes

Right now I’m fighting with the first love scene of The Valois Contingency, because it’s not doing what it needs to be doing—and I’ve rewritten it twice (so it’s actually been written three times). Yes, this post is procrastination. It’s also venting a little steam, and not the good kind.

Sex, for anyone who has been married for a while, is pretty simple. A little foreplay, insert tab A into slot B and repeat, fireworks, then peace with a bit of a warm glow. If you’re not one of the people doing it, well, it’s not that interesting; granted, it’s still interesting to a certain extent, or the pornography industry wouldn’t thrive in any economy.

A love scene, however, has to do more than describe two people having sex, and the first love scene has even more responsibility; it has to describe the change in relationship between the two people, focusing on how it increases conflict (we’re talking about a romance novel, so the relationship is central to the conflict one way or another, otherwise it would be some other kind of novel “with romantic elements”).

Unfortunately, the first love scene in VC doesn’t do that. If anything, it decreases conflict between the two main characters. It’s the scene after the first love scene that really ratchets up external conflict—space zombies make their first appearance on stage (Yes, space zombies!), and information from analyzing their remains ratchets up the internal conflict.

Maybe that’s just how these characters roll. Sigh. It’s supposed to be a sign of a well-developed character when he or she refuses to do something just because you (the writer) wants it done, so I must have well-developed characters. I don’t mind admitting they can be a pain in the…neck sometimes.

Something Finished, Something Started

Last week I started radiation treatment. Every day at 1:15, I clock out from work, drive to the nearest hospital, strip from the waist up and don a hospital gown that I’m not allowed to close, then get my left breast bathed in x-rays for 30 seconds or so from each side (right, then left). Then I dress, drive back to work and finish the day. It seems like something as serious as “cancer treatment” should take longer and be more trouble.

In the waiting room, I see people who are much, much sicker than I am. A lady who miraculously survived stage 4 (the next stage is terminal) lung-to-brain cancer nearly four years ago, who now has a new tumor in her other lung–this one is small and was caught early, but still, she has to do it again. A retired naval veteran with a brain tumor right behind the middle of his forehead. A man from my mother’s very small home town who received his very first colon cancer treatment today; he’s about the right age to have gone to school with mom. Warm, wonderful people who have only this one thing in common, really–we’re all being treated with radiation, for cancer.

I feel like I’m a poser, even though this was my second cancer diagnosis of 2009 (the first was a funny wart on the end of my nose last spring that turned out to be squamous cell carcinoma; it was removed under local anesthesia in June). All I can say is, get checked–early and often. The key to kicking cancer is finding it before it gets more than a toehold. Then you can be a cancer poser, because it beats being one of the miracle people.

Okay, I’m done being maudlin. Moving on.

I finished a futuristic retelling of Sleeping Beauty and submitted it for the Samhain Hot Fairy Tale anthology. This is the first fiction I’ve finished in over a year. But it’s just the first one–the two novels I’ve been fighting with–I’ve rewritten the first hundred pages of both of them at least once–are next. And then…well, why stop with retelling one fairy tale as a space opera? I’m getting my non-fiction obligations out of the way early (two new newsletter articles and a new workshop), so I can focus on the problem children.


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