My to do list needs a to do list and making five minutes work

Noticed I didn’t blog yet this week? There are reasons for that. There’s this book that must get out the door. There’s this kid who has the same flu the other kid had last week. There’s this house that elves do not come to clean in the night. Ditto laundry. And parents are coming to visit, so I need to finish setting things up for that. (I mean, I could hand my mom clean sheets on arrival, but she’d probably rather I made the bed in advance)

My sprouts are starting to sprout, but the garden plot isn’t tilled yet. I have some dahlias to put in the flower beds, and the sprawling compost spot at the end of the lot needs to be turned into an organized compost pile plus a butterfly/hummingbird garden.

Plus there’s this new book by Patricia Briggs (Silver Borne) hitting shelves that I need to hunt down, and I still haven’t managed to snag the latest book by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer (Wild Ride). My to do list might need a to do list, but reading can always be fit into corners and crevices of time.

This is actually true of everything; I stole 5 minutes to put up this blog post. I can revise at least a couple of pages in 5 minutes. (I read fast). I can write up to a page in 5 minutes. I can jot down scene notes or character or plot arc notes. I have my dahlias by the door with my trowel, so I can grab five minutes to plant them while the sick child sits on a blanket in the sun.

Five minutes can do a lot for you if you put them to work, even if you just spend that time writing down your to do list and figuring out what you can do the next time you have five minutes.

Future Plans

I’ve been getting questions about what I’m going to do with Wishmasters, and the answer is, I’m not sure yet. I got so much feedback about the Take Me Lover series that were basically “I wanted these to be full length novels, not novellas” that I’m seriously considering doing Wishmasters as a series of 3 books instead of a 3-novella anthology with an over-arching plotline. When your readers (and your editors) tell you that they want to spend more time with your characters and in your world, that’s something to listen to. A novel gives me a lot more space to take things deeper, add more complications, tell a story more thoroughly. There are things you just can’t do in the space of a novella. This is not to say the Take Me Lover stories aren’t complete in themselves. They are; they’re just not novels. And what I’m hearing is that readers want more novels from me.

I had my reasons for doing Take Me as a novella series in the first place, and if I had it to do again, I probably would do the same thing. But I have the opportunity to re-tool Wishmasters before I send it out again, and writing them as a 3 book series would definitely let me do a lot more with the plot and the world and the characters. But then I’d have to find a taker for a novel trilogy, because there is an over-arching plotline and I’d want to contract all 3 together to make sure I could complete the story. And then I have to consider the Shadow Guardians and how many books I can write in a year. And there are also other projects I’d like to do.

So many books, so little time. I’d better live forever. Anyway, Wishmasters fans, I am giving serious thought to how best to pursue this project to everybody’s satisfaction and finding it a home.

5 AFK things

It’s good to do things Away From the Keyboard. I’ve been making a real attempt to get back to having hobbies and a social life after being 100% immersed in writing books and raising kids for the past few years. Not that kids don’t still need raising, but when they both hit school age, there’s a significant change in how much of my time they need. They can get their own juice boxes, zip their own coats, fasten their own shoes. And books still need written, but working every waking minute is really not an optimal way to work or live. So here are some AFK things I’m getting back to:

1. Gardening. Massive garden plans are underway. Including (hopefully) getting a hoop house constructed at the end of the season for growing greens in the winter. I will even undertake some basic freezing and canning so we can have garden veggies out of season. This is part of our shift to eating fresh/organic/local.

2. Row, row, row your boat. Since we live by a lake, it makes sense to use it for fun and fitness. Used rowboats are not expensive, and rowing is a surprisingly good workout for your whole body. Unexpected bonus: the zip-up life jacket “hugs” the ASD kid and she loves that.

3. Giddyup. I haven’t been on a horse in years, but horses are easily rented by the hour and even leased by the month here, and if we want to go nuts and buy one, we know where we can board it inexpensively. We’re signing the whole family up for riding lessons, because the adults need a serious refresher course and the kids are total beginners. (If you have been longing to ride a horse and thought it was too expensive, you might be pleasantly surprised when you investigate the local options.)

4. Sew what? I’m serious about the Project Linus thing. We have a local chapter, I’m joining it, and I figure I can do one blanket a month. I can also make things for my own kids. I haven’t had time or space to sew since, oh, my twenties. I’m ridiculously excited about this.

5. Stargazing. I love backyard astronomy but most evenings I’ve been either working or unconscious and not outside looking up at the sky. We have a small home telescope and we live away from city lights, so there out to be some excellent star viewing opportunities.

Are there any hobbies or passions you used to pursue that you haven’t had time for lately? Are there any you have plans to re-introduce?

Shoot to Thrill snippet

Since you can buy the Mammoth Book of Special Ops Romance now, I thought I’d better post a snippet. From Shoot to Thrill:

Miranda rolled onto her back and flopped like a fish, too spent to care what was on the ground with her. Besides, if it wasn’t safe, Gabriel wouldn’t have let them stop here. So she let herself rest despite the adrenaline that urged her exhausted form to keep going.

She’d sprinted before. She’d just never tried to sprint for more than a mile before, and sustaining that impossible pace far beyond her limits probably meant her body was going to present her with one hell of a bill in the morning.

But one group of lunatics wouldn’t cause swaths of humanity to die in a particularly horrible way now, and that was something. Although most of the band of radicals who’d held her hadn’t been in the building that just burned down. Which meant she was going to have to get up again.

“How much of a head start do we have on them?” Miranda managed to ask.

“Not enough.” Gabriel finished his study of their surroundings, slid something back into what she thought of as his bat belt and reached down to take her hand. It closed around hers, warm and strong and comforting, despite the fact that it was there to get her back up on her cramping legs. “The plan was to light up the target from a nice, safe distance. Since we jumped the gun, we’ll have to evade pursuit while we get to the extraction point and wait for pickup.”

“Right.” Miranda let him pull her to her feet. That put her standing closer to him than the usual rules of personal space dictated. Not that she minded. He was bigger, faster and stronger than she was, and he was keeping her safe from bad guys. She had to fight the impulse to move even closer, as if that would make her safer. “Do you do this sort of thing often?”

“It’s not just a job. It’s an adventure.”

He delivered the military recruiting line deadpan. The unexpected humor startled a laugh from her. It sounded a little dry and rusty, but she hadn’t had much to laugh about lately. It felt surprisingly good. “Thanks.”

“For helping you commit arson?”

“That, too. But I meant, thanks for the laugh. It’s been a while.” She realized her hand was still in his and belatedly tugged it free. “And thanks for getting me out of there. I didn’t expect to be rescued.”

“You can thank me for that when you’re safely on your way home,” Gabriel said. “Right now we’re in the middle of nowhere being chased by armed and angry men. This is a rescue in progress.”

Little things

Sometimes the world shouts so loudly about big things that we forget life is made of little things. Big things are outside our control, but little things, those we can do something about. And those little things make a huge difference in daily life.

Yesterday, smallest child started to feel not so good, and what she wanted was for mommy to sit with her. Just sit with her. A small thing, but it made her feel better and kept her calm. Now we’re waiting for her favorite jammies and blankie to come out of the dryer so she can have them back, and those little things will be enormously comforting to her. Those little things make her world right.

I learned about
Project Linus
for the first time this week, thanks to
PBW’s post
on National Quilting Day. I want to contribute to that, because while I can’t make sure every kid in the world is safe and warm and cared for, I can make sure some kid other than mine has a blankie when they need it.

Little things enrich our days; a favorite coffee cup, favorite cozy sweater, the smell of baking bread, the first spring blossom sighted, a song heard on the way to work, a hug. No matter what big things might be out there, those little things comfort and sustain and encourage and delight. In life, in fiction, never underestimate the value of little things.