Sunday, October 7, 2012

Am I running out of plots?

Not to fear. I have a few more to go.

But I've lately started to wonder if I have it in me to keep writing mysteries. At some point, it's all been written, hasn't it?

No, it hasn't. Whenever I think that, I think of the unique characters out there, waiting to be penned. I think of the odd circumstances. I think of Alice in Wonderland (my next base for a book), I think of misdirecting the readers with red herrings, and setting up worlds in which I can create my own laws and philosophies, of dreaming up places where I would like to go.

All I have to do is close my eyes, let my mind wander, and I realize ...

I have a lot of words left in me.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Let's do the Time Warp ...


It's been 3 months since I posted here? Really?

I have a few excuses, of course: travel to a conference in June. Travel to see family in July. Travel for business in July. Two different sets of house guests in August. Family reunion. Class reunion (planning). And the Paycheck Job.

Yes, the Paycheck Job. Normally this is a ho-hum, I can do this with my eyes closed sort of thing. But in June I was tossed a new project. Then I was tossed another one. Then the deadlines changed from next year to this year to September.


For anyone who works in the software industry, that shift in deadlines is a snort-worthy moment. Go ahead and change the deadlines, but that means you need to gut the project of features. It's a perpetual tug of war between Suits in Tieland and Grunts in Cubes. Back and forth, back and forth -- this feature is in, this one is out, yes it works that way, no it doesn't.

This is the first time in about 2 years that I've been involved in New Product Development and it's exhausting. Fun, but tiring. So that truly has sucked the life out of me this summer.

Then ... the lawsuit. Yes, she sued us over alleged problems in the house we sold her. I won't go into details here, but that is like a black cloud, hanging over us. Can't spend any money because we may need it to pay her off. Can't move on with our lives because our past is dragging us down.

So I haven't really felt like writing. I'm slowly getting back into it. I'm on chapter 8 of my WIP and my goal is to be done by the end of September. 8 chapters in a month. It's doable but it means I have to get back into my Good Writing Habits and let the bad habits go (no, you can't watch TV now. You haven't written today).

I'll report back in here in a month, if not sooner. And I hope I report that the WIP is DONE, the most recent book is OUT, and a new book is STARTED.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, June 11, 2012

The Book List

I am too busy to read for enjoyment any more.

There. I've said it. I'm an author who doesn't read fiction. Truth be told, a lot of the enjoyment has gone out of fiction reading because I find myself critiquing the book, or I skim it to see where the plot is going, or I wonder how the hell that author managed to sell the book and hit a best-seller list (grr).

So I've been keeping a list of books to read when I quit writing. Yes, I assume that day will come, when I lay down my pen and say "that's it." I used to feel bad about how BIG that list has become (it's long, people. Really long). I always had a vague feeling that I should be making an attempt to read those books and stay current.

Then I had an epiphany. Seriously.

I remember when my mother was in her final years, a lot of activity had been removed from her because of physical problems. All that really remained was reading and television.

VOILA! I will have a never-ending list of books to read when that time comes, when I can no longer golf or go for long walks or type or whatever.

RELIEF. Seriously, RELIEF.

Now my only question: do I buy the books now (so I have them on hand) or do I hope they'll still be available either digitally or print when that time comes, 20 or so years from now (I hope!)


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Nature Girl versus the Spider King

From time to time, I've written stories about Nature Girl (my alias). I wrote this one years ago, but in honor of the gynormous spider I stomped today, I bring you this blast from the past ....


As all who know her know, Nature Girl has a Universal CARP: a Capture And Release Program. All creatures, great and small, are not killed, but are, rather, scooped up and relocated from the house (or wherever they are causing the annoyance) and deposited elsewhere.

All creatures, that is, who are not huge, menacing, and of the arachnid family. 

Arachnids from Hell are killed.

Early one morning, Nature Girl got up at her usual (godawful) hour, the moonlight streaming in her windows. She tucked her feet into her Genuine Maxine Bunny Slippers with floppy ears, dragged on the worn and ratty bathrobe (worn and ratty because the cats sleep on it and pound it into oblivion with sharp claws) over the old T-shirt she habitually wears to bed, and stumbled about the house doing Morning Ablutions. The Spousal Unit slept on, blissfully undisturbed. Keep in mind that the time is, approximately, 4:10 a.m. and because it is the Great Frozen Northland, it's chilly  because the furnace has just kicked back on after a night at rest.  It doesn't matter that it is the end of April; there is snow on the ground. And more snow in the forecast.

The cats, as was their wont, gently herded Nature Girl to the kitchen, but no Good Food (a.k.a., that enjoyed by felines) was to be had. So they herded her to the basement laundry room, home of Good Food, home of food such as Tuna Treat, and Turkey Kibble, and Seafood Feast. NG stumbled across the laundry room, scooped up two big kibble scoops from the kibble bin, turned, and saw

    The Spider King

(a switch in POV here. Sorry)

In the middle of the small throw rug (made by my own hands, I might add). I must have stepped over it (blessedly) on my bleary way to the kibble cache. There it sat. Or, rather, there it crouched. Menacing. Waving arms at me (multiple arms). Black. Large. Hairy (ok, maybe not hairy, but BIG). No exaggeration BIG. With the legs, at least 4" big. Noticeably BIG on an attractive pastel rug, crocheted by my own hands. Hell, it made the rug look small.

For those of you who are Hobbit fans, it was the Shelob of spiders, but unlike Bilbo, I didn't have a sword named Sting to help me (hell, I didn't even have a skinny white rock star named Sting to help me). No, all I had was a 3 oz. can of Fancy Feast, a broken iron, and bunny slippers. Soft bunny slppers. This thing looked like it had a carapace. Maybe if I had a 3-iron, a titanium 3-wood, or a bazooka, I might approach closer, but bunny slippers? No way.

As I stared in horror at the monstrosity, Scooter, the smallest (and the sweetest) of the cats, approached, yawning. Oh, look, she seemed to say. A large menacing thing on the rug, waving multiple arms and making Angry Fists. Obviously put there so I can prove my worth as a mighty hunter. I will stalk.  I will wiggle my butt. I will attack. I will feed because my human is standing there, clutching two full kibble scoops to her bosom, terrified and frozen in place and obviously incapable of providing food this morning.

The body of the spider was bigger than her paw. Images of a fast visit to the veterinary emergency room flashed through my brain; images of Scooter, choking on spider poison, flashed through my brain; images of a huge Visa bill flashed through my brain. That was all it took. I was galvanized into action.

Grabbing a handy empty fish bucket (actually, it began life as a 40-lb kitty litter container, but then graduated to fish bucketness), I advanced on the Creature, saying to Scooter in a shrill yet strangely calm voice, "Get out of here, Scoots!" The cat, startled by this sign of life from me so early in the morning, oddly obeyed.

I slammed the bucket down on the spider, open side up, and heard a slight <oof> as I bolted past the thing, leaping once into the air as I thought I felt the sly touch of a black ?paw? ?leg? feeler?. I felt a brief tug of despair at the thought of the (quite probably) ruined throw rug, but, heck, I never liked that crochet pattern anyway, and I was woman enough to let the feeling go. I was also scared enough.

Then I filled the bucket with anything that came to hand. I wanted to fill it with water, but I wasn't going to drag the bucket/spider combo over to the sink and let it get close to me. So I stood a few feet away and tossed items into the bucket: a cordless power drill, a can of room deodorizer, a plastic container of Cheer, a small ceramic flower pot, and, to top it off, once I was sure it was safe, I balanced the used kitty litter container on top, with three days worth of kitty output from three kitties. Even so, I could swear I saw the bucket move as the Thing tried to throw off its oppressor.  Then I did what any self-respecting arachniphobic would do.

I left a message for the Spousal Unit and told him to clean up the body.

I knew his scientific curiosity would be aroused anyway, and he *might* notice the bucket full of power tools and oddments in the basement, topped by the used kitty litter, so I thought I should warn him.  Keep in mind, this is the guy who tenderly saved the World's Biggest Wasp Nest for dissection (after the wasps were gone, of course). A Spider as Big As the Ritz would be right up his alley. A slightly flattened Spider as Big as the Ritz, that is.

Advice to all: after tussling with the World's Biggest Spider, plan on feeling nervous. Sit down.  Relax.  Allow your blood pressure to return to normal. And don't leap back in surprise when you think you see something in your shower.

You will fall down and bruise yourself.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

It's Alive....!

I'm an App!

Yes, I've done it. I have an App on the iTunes store and on Android. Do a search for J L Wilson, and I'm there -- and I'm free!

I didn't do the work, of course. Someone else did the work behind the scenes, but I designed my little logo, I uploaded the content (yikes! I've got a lot of books!).

Check it out -- and for God's sake, if you find a typo, tell me!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I think I'm good to go ...

... so to speak.

I heard back from the lawyer I consulted regarding the Oz book. If you'll recall, I was worried that I might be violating some obscure copyright provision or something. I also wanted feedback on my plans to do more books based on Peter Pan, Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, etc.

Turns out that Pooh is out. Disney owns Pooh, lock, stock & barrel. I'm not going to tangle with Disney. So Woulds is going to be re-tasked as a non-Pooh tale. Ditto Lassie. I'm not going to tangle with the studio who owns the rights to the TV show. It's too hard to distinguish between the book (which will enter Public Domain status this year) and the show. So Dogged will be retasked as a non-Lassie book.

That leaves me Little Women, Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland. I think I can find some characters from those books to use. Pan is tentatively titled Flyer, and it's about an ad executive. I think. Stay tuned. You'll hear more about it as I write it.

So for now, I'm going back to Woulds and am re-doing it. Then I'll return to the Endless American Dream series (I'm on Book 2: yay! One more book to go in Volume 1. Three volumes total.).

After that I'll do Dogged.

After that I might take a break ....

Monday, March 26, 2012

New life for this blog

I decided to retire my old blog and will use this one going forward.

So welcome, if you're coming here from my old blog. I decided to consolidate and simplify my life. So now I just have, hmm, let's see: 5 blogs to update? Plus a mobile app?

Thank goodness I only have 3 or 4 releases a year!