A vacation from my vacation

Holy cow, I’ve never worked so hard in . . . well . . . okay.  Maybe I’ve worked that hard, but dude, I worked hard this last week while on “vacation.”  It was Thing Two’s spring break, so we took a week to muck the leaves out of the SC house.  The one in the woods?  Yeah.  There were a lot of leaves, and thanks to a bit of work that cropped up Friday afternoon that had to be done now, I lost two days in the yard.  (three 10 hour days at the keyboard gave me four days in the yard, but one of the days in the office was rainy, and one was in the car, so I only really lost one yard day.  At least, that’s how I’m justifying it.  Sigh)

But now, the ms is shipped off and the yard is beautiful–and I am again amazed at the state of spring in comparing there and here.  No leaves here, the trilliums and crocus and daffs just came up.  There are new leaves there, with trilliums in bloom, crocus and daffs done, and red buds just ending.  Amazing what 800 miles will do to a season.  While working, I saw deer, a black spotted salamander, anoles, blue-lined skinks, assorted birds, and two green tree frogs.  Oh!  And fireflies.  In April?!  Guy saw six young Copperheads.  (Go figure. I’m the one playing in the leaves, and he spends three minutes in the woods planting a tree, and he finds a nest of Copperheads.)

So Guy and I did the 12 hr stint in the car back in 11.5 hours by cutting out one of our usual breaks, and we got home in daylight, which was good.  We had our droopy ceiling fixed while we were out, and took a secondary door out of the master bedroom while we were at it.   (The house had been used as an apartment, and we are still taking out the remuddling to put it back to a single-family home.)  They cleaned up a lot of the drywall dust, but I still had to spend about an hour cleaning my work space and a few key places so I could get up and function without battling the dust this morning.  The work looks great, though, and I’m glad I wasn’t here to see it.  From the inside, you’d never know there was once a door.  Next step–take off the tiny porch and put a new one in where it belongs.

But today is not for remodeling or mucking out leaves.  Today I feel like it’s the first day of summer vacation, with months and months of glorious time spreading out before me waiting for me to fill it with a lovely pattern of rewrite and rough draft.  I love rewrites, where the story is already in place and it’s time to see what happens if you missed the bus and met a different person that day.  Mmmmmm, I’m really looking forward to it.  This is why I got into writing.  I love the PR stuff and I wouldn’t miss it for anything.  I adore seeing new opportunities evolve and the chance for me to take part in my publisher’s marketing that forces me out of my comfort zone and into the spotlight where I’ve learned to flirt and be charming.  (snerk)  But I started writing to write, to see words and characters evolve, to see a plan come together, to immerse myself in the “what if.”  And when I’ve got a chunk of time to devote to it, it’s like vacation.  It’s what I like to do.  Really really.  So . . . on to it!  I’ve got so much to do until I can call this done and hit my easy button.  It’s going to be a whole new story when I’m done with it.  🙂


Filed under Drama Box

52 responses to “A vacation from my vacation

  1. Pingback: Book Review: Pale Demon « Absurdly Nerdly

  2. mudepoz

    I sort of wondered why you had Trillium already. SC makes more sense. I envy your morel! We went from 40’s to near ninety on the weekend. I managed to get my fruit trees in and run a dog in agility. The falcon cam is on at the university, there are eggs on the nest. Not nearly as high tech as the Eagle cam, but our budget isn’t real high! Welcome back to your blog 🙂

    • Hi Mud! It feels good to be back. It was interesting watching my numbers fluctuate this week, then bounce back. You guys are great.

      Yup, that is a SC Trillium, but they are starting to come up here in MI, too. Sounds like you felt good getting outside! I know I did. 😉

  3. That sounds like way too much hard work. Do you hunt for morel/sponge mushrooms as far south as the Carolinas? I’m expecting to find some any day now. I did drive across the state to what’s left of the family farm today and picked up a lot of downed limbs (including one that poked a 4″ hole in the carport), then stopped at the Indy airport on the way back to buy some Euros so I could pay a bill since my Irish bank account is currently in limbo. The latest Archaeology (May/June) has my article on the Irish royal sites, which turned out okay.

    • Hi Ronald. I don’t hunt for morells, no, but I know the when I see them thanks to my mom. It really surprised me to find one in SC, but it’s the third one, so I guess they are around. OMGosh, it sounds like you had some wind! Hope everything works out.

  4. Stephenie

    That’s so exciting! We’re glad you’re back! I’ve missed having places to ramble. I spent the whole weekend cleaning the backyard and it is now beautiful! It was a lot of fun too! The only makeover we did was for my hair though. I am no longer a flaming red head 😦 My hair is now almost black but still manages to be red at the same time. I’m quite happy with it. I’m glad you guys got so much done and you got to spend time with Thing Two. It’s so hard to see your parents in college, especially with gas prices. Blegh!

    In exciting writing news! I was accepted into the University of Iowa’s Creative Writing Program!! I got my email on Thursday and I start in the fall, so this summer will be full of writing creepy short stories! 😀

    • Hi Stephenie. Ooooh, nice color! Black is one color I can’t do.

      Congratulations on getting into the creative writing program! That is fabulous! Good for you!

  5. So happy that your vacation fueled your energy, Kim. Keep that “easy” button in reach because I know you’re going to meet your goals.

    As for those snakes, what is it with our men and their uncanny ability to find these creatures? My hubby hates them (sort of like Indiana Jones) yet he’s the one who comes across them in the yard and I end up having to move them. Sheesh!

  6. Theresa

    OMGosh that is sooooo cool! I’ve never seen fireflies before! Do they look as cool as they sound? And copper heads! If I found a nest of snakes I would totally be running flapping my arms and screaming my way out of there! Your so brave for not shrieking like a little girl and running. Also did Thing Two help with the leaf cleaning? If not then shame for not helping his poor mom. I hope you enjoyed your spring break! I can’t wait for book 10 =) .
    Sincerely, Theresa

    • Hi Theresa. Yup, Thing two helped one day with the leaves. He’s a good kid. And fireflies? They are cool. You can catch them and put them in a jar for a couple of hours, then let them go. Hold them in your hand, and watch them lift off. If a person grows up with them, he or she will have memories of them. They are just that kind of a thing.

  7. jkh

    I wouldn’t exactly call it “restful” if you all were battling leaves and weeds and SNAKES (eek!) but I was wondering about the ceiling repair and when/how that would happen. Just as nice to be out of the way for that. Are you planning to keep the SC house, and sort of migrate between the two places? Now I understand about the deer in the trees, but please tell me about that fascinating fungus(?) thingy growing beside the bricks.

    To me, also, I’m hearing that a good rewrite happened, and you’re happy with it. And so now: On to new story lines!

    • Hi JKH. I find myself in the lovely position of being able to swing two houses, yes, which is wonderful and a delight. I have my finished woods house for a retreat, and my city house which needs work/love, which is near my mom and dad. I like to create even in my down time, and I can do that her in MI.

      That is a morel mushroom, one of the few mushrooms that I can identify correctly. They make good eating. (grin) But I usually just take pictures.

  8. Hiya Kim!!
    It sounds like a busy vacation – with a lovely payout in the end. I’m glad spring has sprung for you. 🙂 You can feel all your positive energy just radiating through your blog. 🙂

    I’ve emailed guy about my cup order…. I figured that was the logical thing to do… and also, the link you were going to post (or tried to post) on facebook about the shorts only being available (some, anyway) in the mass market editions… didn’t come through…. and third, and arguably the most important part of my question here…. is… Do you have a coffee grinder? 😉 Something is afoot out here, can you tell?? Time is growing short!


  9. Sian

    That’s funny! As me and my mom are both Writer’s, and the worst part of Writing for her is the editing and the rewrite. I don’t really do a rewrite, if i write my story in a notebook then i type it up, it kind of gets rewritten while i type. Not sure about if it’s just typed, I’m sure it does. But, i have more grammar and tense issues then actual rewriting issues.
    Question: How is your grammar, and writing? Or do you have terrible or bad grammar like me and have to go back after your done to fix it all?

    • jkh

      Dear heart, if you really want to be a published writer puh-leeze learn when and where to put apostrophes. And when and why to capitalize. I myself thought I was pretty good at the mechanics of writing until I took an obligatory (for my AA degree) Basic English review course. It included spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as well as how to build a strong paragraph; I benefited so much from that one class!

    • Autumn

      I’m really glad I didn’t have to take that class to get my AA…
      I’m majoring in English and I’m quite good, usually, at grammar. However, I can never explain why the comma goes where it does. It just sounds right in my head. Try explaining that on a test! -Shudder-

    • Hi Sian.

      I love to rewrite. I have to spend a lot of time on something before it gets tired for me. The Hollows was supposed to be a short story, and I’m just now feeling the urge to write something new.

      I am a bit dyslexic, (A lot of writers are) and so my spelling is usually questionable, and I hate it when it shows. I work very hard at it, though sometimes it looks as if I couldn’t care less. Presentation is probably one of the first things that will get your manuscript thrown out. It’s like wearing tatty tennis shoes to an interview. You have 30 seconds to impress an agent or editor. Polish your prose. It makes a huge difference.

  10. Joelle

    Glad things are shaping up at the house and with book 10. 🙂 When I was a kid we’d take trips back to CT from OH. I learned how to navigate by map from those adventures. Never could get the maps folded the right way again. Fireflies already? That’s kinda cool.

    • (grin) I love maps. Don’t use them much anymore since Guy does most of the driving. The fireflies really surprised me. There were three of them, so it wasn’t a fluke.

  11. Antonio

    Well, I hope you had time to visit w/friends while you were down there as well.

    On the rewrites–1)Do you read the rough draft before you start editing/rewriting? 2)Do you create new folders for each chapter you rewrite, or do you just change/rewrite in the folder/file that your current rough draft resides(I’m wondering if some people print out rough draft chapters and create totally new files)?


    • Hi Antonio. I did take the afternoon off and had “coffee,” yes. It was wonderful. That is one of the things I miss the most.

      You had some questions.
      1. I usually do the editorial rewrite on the second or third draft, so I very rarely, if ever, go back to the rough draft, no. What usually happens is that I get back the copy I sent to my editor. She’s made notes on it, so I will go through it carefully, page by page as I transfer her marks to my new version of the manuscript. I will also start to make major shifts in the text at this point, but I will also probably do a lot of backtracking.
      2. When I submit, it’s all one big file, but I work best with a file for each chapter, so I will take about an hour before I start and break my electronic copy that I submitted back into chapters. It goes a long way in me remembering the pacing of the story.
      3. I number my versions both with the date, and A, B, C, creating new versions (and file folders) every time I make a revision, so for Pale Demon, I have PDRD (PALE DEMON, rough draft) PD102909A, PD120109B, PD031010C and a folder with chapters that I threw out. Four versions is about average for me. My editor usually sees the last two. More than you wanted to know, eh? (grin)

  12. jeff salas

    i got a what if for you what if rachel said yes to being ivy’s sion …….

    • That’s cool, Jeff, but I’m never going to write that. Rachel would have to give up control, and that is too hard for her. But very cool that you’re thinking about the “what if?” 🙂

  13. -grin- and where are the pictures of you mucking in the yard? -grin-

    Oh and Guy, what? no pictures of copperheads? 🙂


    • No, no! I want to retain the illusion that I always look like the back of the book. -laugh- Not in a pair of tatty shoes, sun burnt, and squinting from the sun, my hair in disarray and dirty knees. Ahhhh, I miss it already.

  14. Kim Howell

    I’m currently in Tennessee, and our daffodils bloomed in FEBRUARY! It’s still odd to me because I’m originally from Michigan.

    Hey Kim!! I curious about the 2 family to single family conversion of your home. My husband and I are looking at buying a home that is a former 2 family and someone else started to reno to make it a single family. Is it horrible?

    • HI Kim. Yup, mine were done in SC months ago, too. Mmmm, very cool on the possible house purchase! If you’ve never done renovations before, it will be something you really love, or really hate. I honestly would recommend you start with something smaller to find out if you like it. It’s hard to live in the mess, especially if you don’t have the funds set aside to do it quickly and with professional help. Always double the estimation. Seriously. Double it. There is nothing more satisfying than making your home exactly the way you want it. I love it. But as you might notice, I was not in the house when they tore it apart this time. A good show to watch is “Income Potential” on the Home and Garden Network. Many of the Do it Yourself programs are a lot of show and invented drama, but that one gives a good balance of reality. Let me know what you decide. I love seeing my home become beautiful, but the mess is aggravating.

  15. Your lovely pic makes me feel like spring all over. That and the fact that it’s going to be in the upper 70s today. Yippee! Hope everyone can feel spring springing!

  16. Cathy

    MUSIC TO MY EARS! Type away…

  17. RichardE

    Kim, the only way one should ever deliver a book is if you the writer are 100% happy with it. Sounds like you rethought some things and got a smile on your face as you found a better key to unlock the door.

  18. Melissa

    It’s good to know you’ll still visit us here in SC! 🙂 It is going to be 88 here today & back to 72 tomorrow. My azaleas are in full bloom along with a few lilies. I ran over a snake in the road on Friday & I hate snakes but I still felt bad. The birds are so loud in the morning sleeping late is impossible, they are very happy birds. The pollen here is ridiculous! My car looks like a peep. See what you have to look forward to when spring catches up! I hope you have a great week!

  19. Oh, Kim – So glad Guy wasn’t bitten by the copperheads. The babies have just as much poison as the biggies. I had to take care of a patient i the ICU who almost died from a baby copperhead striking him.

    Loved “Pale Demon”, of course. Can you write faster? Sorry! I’ll just keep re-reading the series again and again.

    Your fan!

  20. damniela

    Good luck with your writing! I can so understand how you’d miss it! Take care, and have a great day!

  21. Maryellen

    Welcome back, Miss Kim! You sure were missed! 🙂

    I love the “What If” game too! My family complains that I live in my head, but that’s when the best ideas pop up and say howdy. Have fun with your writing and have a nice day!

  22. Judi in NJ

    Welcome back! Wow!! What a busy bee you were…er..are!

    http://www.ustream.tv/decoraheagles I dont know if you or you guys out there have heard about this website, but I’m obsessed! It’s a live stream of the nest of eagles. The 3rd egg hatched last week and it is simply an amazing look at one of the most majestic animals on earth. I canNOT look away! When momma eagle so gently feeds her eaglets & then tucks them back under her….ah! It’s a thing of beauty and wonder. I so wanted to post the sight to you last week so you could see the 3rd hatching and the days leading up to it, but there are beautiful YouTubes of the big event. I thought this would be right up your alley. Enjoy, all! We are but a speck.

  23. AKR (Trinidad)

    YAYY you’re back … 🙂
    Ohhh and with changes ….
    I welcome anything that makes it better and closer to completion …

    I missed peeking in here on mornings, in between my early browsing ..
    *sigh* … it’s an addiction I tell ya ..!!!
    LOL 🙂

    AKR (Trinidad)

  24. Donna Bailey

    EVIL author.. lol.. torturing us with suggestions of new stories. Oh its easter season and i’ve got this itch to buy one of the stuffed bunnies and stick it in a camp fire and take pictures for you for the “burning bunnies” theme.. lol.. but i’d have to take a road trip to somewhere i could DO it… I used to live in an area where there were lots of places that you could (was up in northern NH where its mostly woods and itty bitty towns of only a couple thousand people), but now I’m living in a small city and no yard and dont know any places i could set it up…

  25. Wow! Lots to digest! Good to see you back, Kim! 12 hours in a car, yeesh! When we travel to Myrtle Beach, that is 8 hours on a good day, but with DC area traffic, on bad days with the stop and go it can add an additional 2 miserable hours easily, especially between DC and Richmond. Sooo miserable.

    Book 10 is shaping up to be pretty exciting!