Mid-January Progress

New Book is at 170 manuscript pages, 34, 280 words, and the plot is thickening.   I’m limited in time for it right now, as the legally required reports must be done by their deadlines, but the book needs a daily or almost daily infusion of time and thought and energy…so while it’s not moving *fast* right now, it’s staying alive and making it clear that it IS a book, however it sometimes seems to a writer who’s feeling her way back to competence.  When I give it more time, it picks up the pace.

I’m sure a psychiatrist would have things to say about my insistence that stories/books have a “life” of their own, and exhibit some kind of will, or agency, or desire to be, or not be, written.  But how many of them have ever written fiction?   I’m a firm believer that writers know more about the writing process than the theorists who’ve never actually produced a creative work.  Sheila Finch (excellent writer, if you haven’t read her) told me about being in a seminar in which she, the writer, was told she was utterly wrong about what she said, and the non-writer explaining creativity was the one who really understood the process.  We both agreed he was an arrogant bundle of [redacted.]

So what IS going on?  It’s still acting like a cross between a family saga sort of thing and a mystery sort of thing, with political and military flavors wandering through.  We have the Vatta family on Slotter Key, the main bunch–Stella, Ky, and Helen (Stella’s mother and the youngest daughter of the Stamarkos family…a very poisonous bunch, so far.)  Rafe’s there.  So are some of the survivors from  Miksland.  And the young twins, Shar and Justin, who are now about 12.   These two are now more differentiated, as you’d expect, but still very close.   Some of the differentiation goes back to the day they were attacked (about age 4) .  Justin’s pony was shot, and he fell off; he saw and heard his pony squeal, and then die.   Shar, carried a hundred or so meters down the pasture when her pony bolted, fell off when it bucked; Grace Vatta got to her, but then Grace was shot, her arm almost severed, and Mac cut the bit of skin holding it on.  Shar witnessed that.  Two traumatic events, and each child had a different first-hand memory.   Helen thought the twins were so young these memories would fade on their own–and for reasons out of her own past, did not seek cousnseling; therapy for them.  Now, eight years later, it’s clear those memories are still strong and affecting the twins, influencing attitudes and motivations.  And being with Ky,  the lightning rod of the family currently, they’re experiencing more excitement than Helen allowed them for eight years.

Snippet:  Ky talking to an Admiral she knows in Slotter Key’s “Sea Force,” and asks why she left the Academy Graduation in a hurry and missed most of her Retirement Reception.

“A family matter,” Ky said.  “My two young cousins went AWOL from their guardian to come to graduation–they had invitations, but their grandmother hadn’t wanted them to come.  I spotted them in the audience, and knew an explosion would result, so I wanted to get to their guardian before things got out of hand.”

“How’d they get in?”

“Innate sneakiness and collusion with a couple of senior NCOs,” Ky said.  “Apparently the NCOs thought it was sweet of them–they didn’t know them yet–and helped the plot come off.”


Only part of that is true.    But the twins did circumvent their grandmother’s and aunt’s decision that they should not attend.  I may revise it so that the statement is wholly true.  We’ll see.


10 thoughts on “Mid-January Progress

  1. I’ve just started reading Admiral McRaven’s Sea Stories. Coincidentally, the first two stories epitomized youthful “innate sneakiness” in a military family.

  2. Just found what I was looking for – the one mention I remember of the Stamarkos bunch, during Ky’s childhood: the boys in particular (Stella’s cousins), and a house on the mainland just an orchard away from Stella’s (Stavros and Helen’s). ENGAGING THE ENEMY pp277-279 (UK edition). Nothing about those boys’ parents (or grandparents?) Sounds like meeting them will be fun. Sort of.

    1. Aha! I needed that. It’s the house just south of the Vatta country house. I had totally forgotten it was ever the Stamarkos house…so that needs to be…um…tweaked in the current book. THANK YOU! Given the Stamarkos character, as it’s shown up in this book (to explain Helen’s behavior and attitudes) I think it may have been either paid for in part by Stavros (their name on the mortgage but he paid all or part) or leased from him. The orchard is now a field (a tree disease killed the trees…I wonder if I can lay that to the Stamarkos vindictiveness…), which is handy, because part of it will be needed shortly for something else.

  3. Competency? Sometimes the muse is sneaky and reluctant. It is no reflection on the writer or artist of any medium. From the readers perspective, competence is not anissue 🙂
    All of your books have a life of their own and it shows.

    Some Books under a directorial tyrany, formula, and grocery list of events and elements that cater to a populare “this is what sells today” construct that can be farmed out toiterally anyone, are mere manquins.

    But, Your characters,and stories live like old friends lingering and often brought to minds and hearts of your readers.
    I am glad you are writing more Vatta. I like this family.
    Thank you, also, for all extra Paks world in recent years.
    Rear and listened tp them often.

    ….something MUST be done the about Angela Dawe’s ridiculouse and horrible audiobook rending… Yes rend not render. It “a great book ruines by a bad reader. ”
    That is,the consostant review on Audible.com
    Your book deserves better

    Thanks for your hard qork… Oh and for Deedsof Honor….I DO hope,you find you notes!

    1. Thank you! Alas, I don’t always have a choice of narrators. When I do I try to choose carefully, but it’s the audiobook company that has the final say.

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