A Fitting Procrastination

A belated Happy New Year to Everyone!

Last October I finished writing the first draft of a Women’s Fiction novel which I affectionally refer to as the Rock & Heartbreak book. It was my plan to put the book away for a month and then dive into it in December.

For November I thought I would go back and do few edits on my last book, the mystery novel about Witchy Women. After a few notes from agents who requested the full manuscript convinced me to restructure the beginning of the book (again). But November sped by, during which I enjoyed the company of my family on our first trip back to California since our move and then a full, extended table of friends on Thanksgiving. During these events people expressed interest in reading my Witchy book, to which I promised to send off to them before the New Year, once I completed my planned edits.

I don’t think I touched the Witchy book until a week into December.

I found myself wondering if it was worth it to dive in and edit again. Since editing it last year and querying I made some major changes after no one was requesting more pages. Listening to and reading different things about novel writing made me realize my beginning wasn’t where it should be. The things my beta readers had suggested echoed through my brain, some people enjoyed the first beginning with my character arriving to her new home but the action wasn’t there. So I chopped off the first 3,000 words and wrote a new beginning with a character another Beta Reader had expressed curiosity in. Then I moved up the introduction of what seems to be most people’s favorite character, Nina.

Once I made those changes I received six requests… which all led to eventual rejections. I listened and reviewed more feedback and decided to change Chapter Two, which gives the book a different tone. I then went through the rest of the book, making changes to reflect the events of Chapter Two. I was able to successfully get the edited version off to those friends who requested it by my deadline, but just barely. Whew!

But now my Rock & Heartbreak novel is tapping its fingers at me. I look at it sitting there on my desktop, waiting for its first read. It seems so daunting to start poking at a new book, considering a year and a half later I am still poking at the last one. How long will I be editing this one? The tone and characters are so different from the first I worry about the books bleeding together if I end up reediting the first.

I wonder how the Rock & Heartbreak story will change through edits. How will my beta-readers feel with these kinds of characters? I am trying different genres to see what I am good at, also my brain really likes to plot while I sleep and apparently it likes all genres.

When I began the Rock & Heartbreak book it was hard starting over again with a blank page after sorting through the 100k words of the last one. It felt like being plopped in a desert after making my way through the Amazon. But one day at time (okay maybe sometimes just once a week) the forest started surrounding me again. Now I have to get the machete and make my way through it.

This week I spontaneously opened up a puzzle I got for Christmas while I waited for the kettle to boil. Puzzles are a big time-sucker for me because I have a seriously hard time walking away from them unless they are complete. I had things I planned to do, but I found them loose their priority as I constructed the edges. Two day later I finished it.IMG_2088.jpg

It was very satisfying to put in the last few pieces and somewhat comforting to know they would all fit. I don’t know about you, but I don’t get that feeling when I write a book.

After I finished and admired the puzzle for about 30 seconds, I walked away from it with a less clouded perspective on the Rock & Heartbreak book. I am going read it and take a crazy amount of notes. Then I will pour myself a big cup of coffee and slash, rip, yank, and pull it apart until it fits.


Two Little Happy Stories

Today I figure most of you will be reading about the horrible things that happened almost a decade and a half ago.  Hopefully you will also read about the acts of heroism and humanity that followed what happened.  I have decided to write not about that day but rather about a couple little times where strangers went out of their way to be nice.

This is a story from my first birthday in our new city.  I pulled it for privacy, but I think it is an appropriate story to share now.

I was under strict instructions to have fun to day and enjoy myself, so I went to Dean & DeLuca to get a naughty coffee.  I was thrilled to see my favorite Barista was there and a to make matters better a divine smell filled the whole place.  I asked what it was and she said it was bacon, you think I would have known but really it smelled even better than bacon.  It wasn’t the fatty greasy bacon smell-it was just the good bacon smell.  At first I got a decadent Iced Mocha with whipped cream and decided to pass on breakfast.  As per usual it was wonderful, but as I sat drinking my dessert of a coffee, the bacon smell bewitched me to go up to the counter and order a breakfast sandwich.  The same Barista greeted me with a warm smile and took my order.  There was a gentlemen behind me in line that heard me tell her that the bacon smell had done it’s job and I wanted to order breakfast, he chimed in that he was trying to get out before he ordered a sandwich too.  I explained I don’t normally get the breakfast items there, but it was my birthday so I thought I would treat myself a little bit.

He exclaimed,”Happy Birthday!” and then looked at the Barista and said he was buying my breakfast.  I thanked him, but told him that wasn’t necessary.  He told me it was my own fault for mentioning it and said that was the end of it (with a smile of course).  I looked at the Barista for help but she just smiled at me too and took his card.  I thanked him again and sat down at my table.  I was seriously almost moved to tears.  The man who bought my breakfast came by before he left and we chatted for a few minutes about birthdays, what we did for a living, and our families.  He  kept himself at an angle that communicated he was not expecting to be asked to sit down.  Before he left I shook his hand thanked him again, he wished me a very happy birthday and left.

The Barista came by with my breakfast and said, “Sorry, I had to let him do it.”  I told her it was sweet and that people are so nice here.  She agreed and told me how just last week she had run out of gas on the way home and had to walk to a gas station.  She only had $5 on here so she couldn’t get the fancy reusable gas container but a man behind her in line heard this and bought it for her and added $20 to her gas tank.  He said the only condition was that she had to keep the container in her car and pass along the goodness when she could.  Can you imagine?

Before I left I asked the Barista her name and told her what I had been telling Honey for months, which was she was my favorite Barista ever (and I even lived with one for a time).  I told her that when I walk in and see her behind the counter it makes me so happy because I know I am going to get an incredible drink and wonderful service and I thanked her for it.   She told me I made her week.

I also called her manager later that day and told her the same thing, hopefully that will help make her month or maybe even help her get a raise-she deserves it!


Another time, during Firefly’s first visit out here; her, Honey, and I went out to dinner.   It was the dinner rush and parking was sparse, so Honey parked a few lots over in the shopping center from the restaurant. There was no sign of rain as we entered the restaurant, but like some Summer Southern storms do, one came out of nowhere… as we were walking out. We didn’t have jackets or umbrellas.  It was pouring, so much that it looked like it would never leave.

Honey, being the gentleman that he was, went off to get the car while Firefly and I waited under the valance.  After a few minutes, with the rain still beating down a car pulled up from the curb and a little old lady got out of the passenger side.  She had an umbrella over her head and the driver went off to find parking.

She looked at us, gave a little smile a slowly walked over to us, and asked”Do you have an umbrella in your car?”  I was confused by the question, but rep lie, “Yes, ironic right?”

She said,” You can use my umbrella to get to your car.”  Such kindness in one of the worse storms I had seen (at that point), seemed so alien back then.  I explained my husband was getting the car, but thanked her for the offer.  A few minutes later Honey’s car pulled up and we scrambled to get inside without getting as soaked as my husband looked at that moment.

He told me the strangest thing had happened.  As he was crossing the street a Jeep stopped next him, rolled down window, and a nice man offered to drive him to his car.  Honey decline he didn’t want to ruin this man’s upholstery because at that moment his car was only a few hundred feet away.    But he was also blown away at the kindness of someone who just wanted to help.

So there are two little stories of people being nice just to be nice.  Giving us, at the time, a feeling of welcome in our strange new land.

Fortuitous Technical Difficulties

All kinds of new stuff has been going on this week.  I am currently curled up on the couch with a head cold (which I blame on the Santa Ana’s and five year old dust from my parent’s house) but it gives me the time to sit and blog.  So first things first. Big announcements for people that I love.

Over a week ago I met with The Ladies, Octana in person, and Red via Skype for Kauwfee Talk.  We planned to all “meet” at our usual Starbuck’s, but due technical difficulties we had to go to Octana’s house to access Skype.  It was an unexpected blessing because Red had some new for us, and if I had heard it in public I might have burst with excitement and made a public ass of myself (instead of just a private ass).  She is pregnant! I can write that because she announced publicly later that evening.  But Octana and I feel special because we got the news “face to face”, to be honest I am so relieved that we got news like that somewhere private.  Red and her husband will be fabulous parents, they were always on my list of “People That Should Have Kids”.  Odd list title, but sometimes I just meet people that I think would be good people to raise good kids.

I am a little bummed I won’t get to see the little one grow up face to face, but I can only imagine how cute and intelligent this kid will be with the parents that it has.  Uh, I hate saying “it” when referring to a baby.  I’ll try and say “little one”. But, I am totally going to make predication here.  I am saying it is going to be a boy.  There, you heard it here first.  More reason for me to get a passport sooner, rather than later.

Speaking of predictions, I had this weird feeling about an hour before the chat.  First off, she had suggested the Skype Date after she had be laying kinda low for the last couple of months.  And then I got this weird feeling as I got in the car to go meet Octana, it was a weird anxious but relieved feeling-like something was going to happen soon (I always drive extra careful when I get those moments).  Also sometimes I can just read people’s behavior, not saying I’m psychic-just overly observant.  Like how I knew Octana’s random party a few years ago was something big between her and her other, turns out it was their wedding reception. I thought they might have an announcement about moving in or being engaged or “something”, since I noticed her drinking alcohol at a friends party a month before her “party”, I knew it was not the “something”.  So I asked and she let me in on the “secret” about getting married a few hours before the party.  I felt special.

I am so happy for Red and her hubby, they will be excellent parents; and I’m happy they are closer to their families during this time, so they can share in the experience.  This does not mean I am not insanely jealous that I can’t be there 😉

Love and hugs to you Red & Mr. “Red” & Little One aka Mini Red/ Red Jr.(?)

Where Did My “Monday” Go?

On Monday I woke up to what was shaping up to be a semi-yucky day at school.  The previous Wednesday I had taken a test in my Early Western Civ class and I was expected to get the grade back that morning.  This was the first test I had taken in years that did not require a full bladder.  My Modern History teacher had gotten pissed at part of the class for talking through his notes and assigned about 200 pages of our history book to read and possibly be tested on the following class period.  I had gotten through about 120 pages.

To top it all off, I had rolled my ankle the week before after running in my total body fitness class.  That was humiliating to say the least, I tripped at the last ten feet of the track in front of the whole class.  It still hurt- I can walk, but I had ditched my step class and the total body fitness class to help it mend.  Monday would be my first day back to the PE classes.  It was going to be a long day.

When I went to school I found an empty parking space almost immediately and relatively close to the school (less limping around).  When  I got to my Western Civ class I found out not only had I gotten an A on the test, but some extra projects I had done gave me a 100% on the test and six extra points that I can apply to my final grade.  It put me in a much better mood for my possible failure at my next class.  I got to that class and the teacher made no mention of the reading he had assigned (he will probably bring it up today).  Yay!  After class I went home and enjoyed the leftovers of my pasta bake and elevated my ankle again.

Later on I went back to school for my PE classes.  Let me just add here that my Step Class instructor had been MIA since before Labor Day.  It turns out I did not ditch her class, because she was not there again.  There was a teacher there this time-a sub.  She was very muscular looking.  My buddy in that class, Brittany remarked how we were in trouble with this one.  It turns out she teaches the Boot Camp Exercise class.  Great…two weeks without the step class, a gimpy ankle, and being taught by a drill instructor.  How is this going to end?

It actually ended well.  I took it easy on my ankle but I got a great work out (to be honest much better than our normal teacher).  I got all pink in the face and it was wonderful!  My endorphin rush pacified me into my next class where I told my instructor that I was still hurting from the week before.  She didn’t remember me rolling my ankle right in front of her (probably because I kept on participating in class).  I told her I was going to go easy this week and she told me just to walk when everyone’s jogging.  She didn’t even ask for a doctor’s note.

To top it all off I got a message from a friend asking me to join her on a possible trip.  So I might get to go on a little road trip soon without me having to pay for any of the transportation costs.  Yippie!  Nothing set in stone so I am not going into details.

So I began what I perceived to be a crappy day and it ended up having some really great moments.  It continued into Tuesday where I got some yard work done, fixed up the house, and turned in my paper. I suggested a random Kauwffe Twalk with my husband last night and it was a blast. I have probably just jinxed myself, but oh well Great Monday + Great Tuesday > Weak Wednesday.


On Friday I went towards the coast and got my hair cut at my old stomping grounds, I got about five inches taken off so now my hair stops right at my chin, perfect for the summer. When we headed off to the Zoo yesterday I had to remind myself to put sunblock on the back of my neck because now it’s exposed.  But getting past my hair (which truly, I could devote a whole blog entry to) I had a rare opportunity to lolly-gag around the beach Friday afternoon.  When I drive that far I try to fit in as many social visits as possible, so I had lunch with John, got my hair cut, and then had coffee with The Ladies.  Between the haircut and coffee I had two hours to kill.  I did’t feel like calling up my parents and almost everyone I knew was working so I went to the beaches that I spent countless hours at as a child.

There has been a few changes to the shores of one the beaches since I was knocked around in its waves 20 years ago.  First off they removed the obstacle of rocks that separated the sandy beach form the water.  In the picture you can see light soft sand right past the black top roads, this is where the moms would set up their watch posts when I was a kid.  Armed with a large towel for them to bask upon, a straw beach bag of towels-for the soon to be freezing children, a book (hopefully not of the romance novel nature), a cooler with Sunkist drinks-that always were warm by the time you drank them, cut up oranges that burned your sand shredded skin, and of course a sticky bottle of sunblock.  From this location they would watch their children be beat up by nature’s strictest baby-sitter (and loving ever minute of it).  Right after this haven of hot sand there was a 10-15′ wide belt of gray “smooth” rocks that extended through the shore of the beach, so there was no walking around it you had cross.  It was like a payment in pain you had to pay the ocean gods to induldge in their waves.  Though the rocks were smooth, my small kid feet would always slide in the crevices between them.  No matter how carefully and deliberately you placed your feet, the rocks would either part from your step temporarily and come crashing back, engulfing your foot;  or you would step, slightly loose your balance, your ankle would turn, and the side of your foot would dive into the sand laced rocks emerging with red thread-sized lines of blood across the sides of your feet.  These small cuts made the first moments of walking in the ocean water particularly intense.  But  I loved it, I would stay out in the water for hours because there in the water, I felt best-I never wanted to leave.

Now it is a piece of cake to get the water, no payments of pain required, no sizzling rocks to walk across.  Just soft sand (which I heard was brought in from Arizona) and water.  On Friday I walked down to the shore took pictures, stood in the tide, and let my white skirt get caked with sand.  I didn’t care, sand is forgiving and lets go after a little while.  I use to find sand everywhere when I was a kid, in my bed, in my clothes, in my dresser, and in Barbie’s hair (who never went to the beach, oddly enough). The tide came in and out, sometimes drenching my skirt and sometimes only tickling my toes.  I’m sure the locals thought I was nuts hanging out in the water with a long white skirt-oh well, fuck ’em. 🙂

After a short while I thought it was the time to go, so walked up the hill that now, even in adulthood seems steep.  Imagine walking up this hill after three hours of being thrown around in the ocean.  You’re cold, your skin stinging from the sand rips that met with the immediate greeting from the ocean water, boogie board drapped over your shoulder, clinging to a towel that keeps on falling of your straight hips, and flip flops sliding off your damp feet and down the walkway.  No wonder I never wanted to get out of the water, I was greeted with how mean the land world could be as soon as I exited.

When I got back to my car I realized only about twenty minutes had passed, so I went to the other beach of my late childhood, about 15 minutes south of where I was.  I say it is the beach of my late childhood because this is where I went in high school.  The beach that I laid on getting tans with girlfriends, the one I ran on for Water Polo practice, the one boys use to take me to so they could kiss me, you know-that one.  I sat and read my book for a while watching the locals walk pass, I forget how different the lingo is out there.  There is nothing like seeing a business-looking guy say “Dude-yeah!” into his iPhone with a surfboard under his arm.

I sat on the beach and read, popping up my head every so often to look at the ocean or get lost in thought or memories.  But this beach had not changed, the shore was still the same place, there was a good ratio of rock to sand placement.  It was comforting and I decided I will go to the beach this summer, I might be wearing a million layers, but I will go.  Since high school I have been in the ocean swimming, a total of two times.  I’m not quite sure what keeps me away, I use to be a fish.  Ocean, pool, hot tub-if it was on the schedule you could expect me to be in the water from the moment we arrived and be the last one out.  I have walked on the beach quite a few times, played in the surf with John but I haven’t been submerged in the water since the days of hanging out with Mr. Big.  I use to say it was the years of Marine Biology that ruined it for me, but I still swam in pools.  Now I don’t even swim in pools.  Swimming use to be my thing, I wasn’t very good at it, but I loved it and want to try it again.  I also don’t go to the beach much considering how close we live to it, but I think it about so much and imagine it so much it feels like I am there all the time.  Once a fish, always a fish?

Right now my car has sand sprinkled around its interior, it is so familiar that it almost seems wrong to vacuum it up.  I will though, but maybe not until later next week. 😉

Pinky out and make the ‘clinky’ sound

Tomorrow is Kauwffe Talk (say out loud with a Linda Richman accent) .

This a ritual that has happened (almost) weekly for about a year.  Two fabulous women and I meet for coffee and talk about our week and other entertaining  tidbits of life.  It began accidentally as just a one time thing, just an excuse to catch up with one another.  We drank our coffee (and tea), did the usual banter, and then started talking some more.  It was really lovely, and then as we parted ways someone suggested (probably Red) that we should do it again the next week.  So we did, and then we met the week after that, and after that, and so on.   It became something I really looked forward to, and in some cases got me through the week.

I have enjoyed the company of these two women, who are wonderful in their unique and talented ways.  I respect their opinion so much that when I second-guessed myself over the decision that I made, their encouragement pushed me that extra inch.  Seeing one even write “I am so proud of you” brought me to tears.  While the other made me laugh with a silly, but appropriate joke. Clinky-clinky.

This will be my last regular meeting with them.  I will try and come up as often as my gas budget will allow, but it will be different.  Life evolves, all three of us are in different places than we were last year.  Who knows where we will be next year…  Perhaps enjoying ourselves in a café in the South of  France.  Or maybe we’ll start a Skype version of Kauwffe talk.   Or maybe I will have to finally get a passport just to have an international Kauwffe in Canada.  =) Whatever happens I hope we keep on tawkin’.