Notes from the Airport Food Court

It’s a gloomy morning in Texas, the air thick and cool, heavy with the thunderstorms that will line my trip home today. A handful of Italian men with good shoes and sport coats, one even with a ponytail and a ragged bit of black whiskers on his cheeks, hang by the coffee stand, chattering among themselves which is how I know they are Italian. It makes me think of Amara, who is three and speaks robot mostly, but also languages of her own creation, and we spoke them back and forth all weekend, making up rivers of sound that sometimes sounded French or Korean or Vulcan-ish according to the moment. She adorned her body with stickers from head to toe, then laughingly screamed as I pulled each one off. She rolled all over me, kissed me a hundred times. We planted two flower boxes with coreopsis and petunias, flowers that won’t mind if she picks from them every day.

I’ve been on the road a lot this month, and wrote a bazillion words, and before that, I was sort of in that lost land of recovery, so I’m really looking forward to the upcoming days when I can plant my own garden, and putter, and read a lot to refill the well.

Amara and her wonderful parents will come to visit in July–there’s a wedding, and a notable birthday–and in the meantime, I have a book to work on at a different sort of pace. Peaches and the mountains and a certain golden light. I’ll be sending Jess and Mercedes, Tyler and Kaleb, off to you soon.

Now I’ll amble down to the gate, resisting the siren smell of Sbarro pizza. What are you up to this ordinary Monday?

Saying Farewell to Characters

I am in the very last week of writing the very last book of the Going the Distance series.  I’ve been immersed in

intense_240 the lives and dramas of these characters for nearly two years, since that fateful morning in Breckenridge when Jess woke me up at 4:30 am to tell me she had a story for me.

Wow, did she ever.

Writers always get attached to their characters, but this is especially bittersweet. I don’t usually spend two years and more than 300,000 words on one group of stories.  Yesterday morning, I was feeling so emotional and weepy that I realized I needed to write Jess a thank you letter. I thanked her for showing up, for connecting me with a new world, for showing me how much I would love writing this particular kind of story, which has been more fun than anything I’ve done in a long time.

It is like sending the whole gang off to college, leaving me with an entirely empty house. So, yeah, I’m feeling a little mournful.

I have about two scenes left to write, then a whole lot of polishing.  There will be a big Facebook party either on May 28, or the Saturday after that so more people can come. If you want a reminder that Intense is out, sign up for the newsletter here.  (You can also read a sneak peek and pre-order at iBooks. It will be out everywhere else May 28, no worries.)

Of course there are other projects in the works. A Feast of Peaches is the new Barbara O’Neal, and it’s in motion, but I don’t yet have a release date. I’ll keep you posted.

I’m also going to start a second New Adult series in the fall, with appearances and eventually books for a couple of the characters from Going the Distance. Stay tuned for that, as well.

The blogging once a week thing hasn’t been going as well as expected, but I’m trying. I suspect, too, you’d rather have more books, right?

Have you ever missed a character from a book–either one you read or one you wrote? 

Conference Worksheets

If you are looking for the worksheets from the Cornerstones of Excellence class at PPWC, they are here:

http://www.awriterafoot.com/2014/08/19/post-wd-novel-workshop-handouts/

Curing the Crankies

I am a grouch this morning. There’s no other word for it. I didn’t sleep well because my knee was hurting and I have this restless leg thing happening after the surgery that’s quite annoying, and I don’t FEEL like doing my work, but there’s a lot piling up and it needs to be tackled.

Also, there are about 27 jillion errands that must be run. My mail has gone missing in this weird little Twilight IMG_7361Zone transfer of addresses and I can’t seem to get it straightened out, so my poor daughter in law has to keep forwarding it to me. Then it gets sent back to her. Rinse and repeat. There’s a box with books for my eldest son that’s been sitting here since Christmas. I spent the weekend running around doing fun things, but then I got super tired and haven’t recovered. Yesterday I forced myself to go swim because I need to get my aerobic capacity back after six months of doing almost nothing to take care of that. (Also, my core strength is not what I’d like and that needs work, too.)

I’m still healing from getting my legs chopped in half then put back together again, and it’s a long road. It’s a good road, but like any long journey, there are times you stop, weary of the same landscape, wish for rescue by helicopter. There’s no helicopter here. Just me and my precious body, on the road toward feeling better.

This morning, I should be writing, but I can tell you right now that’s probably not going to happen. I’m tired and resentful of life roaring back at me so hard, and I’m not quite ready to leap in with such intensity. Because I am a writer and I set my own hours, I do have a certain amount of freedom to step back.

Instead of coming into my office to write, as I planned, I moved things around. The new bottle of gesso I bought last Friday found its way into my hand and I found a brush in the other and I glossed some paper with it, just to play. Some little something started to breathe in the midst of all that irritability. As the paper dries, I pull out a photo of a tomato that I want to paint, and look for the right paper, the right size and weight, and I’m starting to draw. Later, I’ll add a little bit to the small journal of watercolor pages that seems to be a long, long love letter to my darling girl. I miss her terribly, and this is helping. Last week, we had a long, rambling, cheerful chat via Facetime, the first time she’s been really engaged, and she didn’t want me to “leave her house,” and showed me thing and blew raspberries and laughed when I kissed her. At one point, she said, “Nana’s stuck inside the iPad,” which has been haunting me slightly ever since.

All of this inner drama is why I haven’t been writing blogs as I promised. This morning I realized that is dishonest. I’m not always cheerful—far from it, actually. My life doesn’t always flow smoothly, and things show up in clusters—the urgent need to replace my knees, my parents’ ill health the past year, my beloved granddaughter and her wonderful parents moving 800 miles away—and I struggle to keep an upbeat attitude.

I have no wisdom today except that I’m going to take some pleasure in this little cabinet I bought to keep art supplies more orderly:

I’m 1454626_819401144817143_7649465128040458001_ngoing to paint and write something on those gessoed pages. I’m going to listen to music and see if it will speak to me about this book, and I will take a long nap. I am tired. I am healing. I am human. That is what I need today.

What do you do to cure the grouchies? 

Love,
Barbara