Monday, December 23, 2013

Angels with Crossbows and Pillows That Hound People

{{otherwise known as Snippets of Story for December, all of which are taken from How It Began With the Rochesters, which will begin to undergo edits on January 1st.  HUZZAH.}}

“That’s so romantic,” Celia sighed, temporarily forgetting her worry.  “She thinks of the most romantic things sometimes.  Almost makes up for all the frightfully unromantic things she and George do together.  The very idea of a bride and groom making butterscotch cookies for their own wedding reception-- in t-shirts and dungarees, no less.  Where is the poetry in that?”
~chapter 22

“We’re not hitchhikers.”  Francie straightened her blouse and dabbed at her hair, just in case the driver of the approaching car-- no, actually, it was a pickup truck-- was of an attractive sort.
“Geoooooooorge is,” said Celia sweetly.
“Hey,” protested George.  “I’m merely rescuing all you helpless peasants from the dragon of spending the night on the picnic table.  Would you prefer to be the one to ride with a stranger into town?”
~chapter 20

“You could make Alice’s wedding cake, too,” Mark suggested, stealthily swiping a drip of frosting hanging off the edge of Francie’s plate.  “Only with white frosting, so they can put angels with crossbows on the top or whatever it is you put on wedding cakes."
~chapter 10

“Now, Daddy, pillows don’t hound people,” said Celia indulgently, “and besides, Alice and George’s guest room is going to be full of books because the living room is too small for a bookcase, remember?”
“Now, Celia,” Uncle Arnold mimicked, “you have never slept in your Great-Aunt Delores’ guest room and do not know the treacherous character of some cross-stitched pillows, and besides, the lack of space in Alice and George’s guest room will be of no consequence to the grammar school teachers and their kind, thoughtful gifts.  Wait and see.”
~chapter 20

“And only one limb lost to the Loch Cedar Monster,” said Mark brightly, stepping aside to reveal Timmy standing with one leg tucked up under him.  “I’d say this was a successful Fourth of July, all around.  Better than last year, anyway.”
Sylvia knew better by now than to encourage him, but she couldn’t help asking through her laughter.  “What happened last year?”
“Ah, yes, last year,” Celia chimed in, shaking her head sorrowfully.  “Poor Cornelius. It’s just not the same without him.  He was such a good, kind brother, unlike some I could mention...”
~chapter 11

"Mark, for heaven's sake wash your neck already.  You just can't look like that out in the public."
~chapter 13

“Francie already told me not to let him within fifteen feet of Alice’s dress.  How’m I supposed to know how far fifteen feet is without a tape measure?”
~chapter 22

"You cry at the end of everything. You cried at the end of Treasure Island, for heaven's sake."
~chapter 19

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas Special!

Only a Novel is on sale for Christmas (limited time only and all that jazz)!  If you purchase a copy through the CreateSpace store before January first, you'll receive 20% off the purchase price-- just enter the code 3QH797U5 at checkout.  Merry Christmas!

[Elizabeth] decided that the topic of Christmas gifts was quite safe, and so began on that.
“Mr. and Mrs. Crimp were so kind as to give me some lovely perfume and a comb set for Christmas,” she remarked to Mrs. Leopold.  Mrs. Leopold gave her a rhinoceros-like stare and nodded in an unnecessarily patient manner.  Elizabeth would not be daunted.  “We had a lovely time exchanging gifts this morning,” she continued, “and I know Isabelle was quite pleased to receive her china tea set.  I understand you helped to choose it, Mrs. Leopold?”
Mrs. Leopold chose to ignore this, and Elizabeth realized with horror that it was not proper for a governess to begin a conversation at table, let alone to address unsolicited remarks to the lady of the house.  Her ears felt as though they were being tastefully roasted over a barbecue pit, and she quickly turned to see if Isabelle needed any assistance with her dinner.
This was a merry Christmas, indeed.
She really must stop being so sarcastic, even in thought.  It was most unbecoming.

~Only a Novel, chapter 18

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Sometimes you get an idea...

... and you just have to write it and see where it takes you.  Personally I don't know where this idea is going to take me.  I'm kind of curious to know what you think, though.  What does this story opening say to you? (and the boy's name is Norman, just fyi.)


Libby saw the boy through a little gap in the bookshelves and something about his face snatched at her interest right from the start.  It wasn’t his neat brimmed cap pulled low --not too low-- over his eyes, nor was it his straw-like hair that stuck out in rather unruly bits around his eyes and forehead.  No, it was definitely his face, and though there was nothing particularly striking about this face-- it was not handsome, nor ugly, nor sporting any kind of fascinating wart-- it was a nice sort of face.  An open, honest, curious face, and it was the face that made Libby do something very brave.

She came out from behind the stacks, rounded the corner of the bookshelf and sat herself down at the boy’s table, across from him.

“Hello,” she said.

The boy did not seem in the least surprised that a skinny tall girl with bitten-off dark hair should so unceremoniously plunk herself down in front of him and say hello.  In fact, he said hello back.  And smiled, to boot.

“Who are you?” asked Libby, without further preliminaries.

“I’m a writer,” said the boy, and as he said it Libby saw that the book he held was not a storybook at all, but a notebook, and inside it (from what she could see) were a great many scribbled words.

“Well, I’m a reader,” said Libby, and folded her hands on the tabletop.

The boy smiled again.  “Then,” he said, “we ought to get on very nicely.”

Monday, December 2, 2013

That Moment...

Truman Capote once said that finishing a novel you'd been working on is like taking a favorite child out to the back yard and shooting it.  And while I wouldn't quite go that far (or that gruesome), I'll admit that the past few weeks have been a little bit numb, writing-wise, for me.

Because I finished the Rochesters' story on Tuesday, November 12th and now their first draft is complete.  (Two hundred and thirty-one pages, 83,658 words, twenty-three chapters and a doggone lot of tea... that last item being consumed by the author and not actually incorporated into the manuscript itself.)

I spent a year and a half of my life getting that first draft finished (stop looking at me like that, all you eighty-thousand-words-a-month people) and though a Matterhorn of editing looms before me, I still feel as though a part of my life has ended. An epoch, to state it Anneishly.  A bend in the road beckons.  The Rochesters still need a ton of revamping and possibly even an extra chapter (some really good suggestions from my beta-readers have convinced me that at least one plot point needs replacing, plus an epilogue may be in order), so they're definitely not done yet, but I do feel as if a part of them has been finished.

And because of that, I found it hard to get into the groove with another project during November.  My goal was to add 50,000 words to my Jennifer story, but since the Rochesters occupied the first twelve days of November, Jennifer got pushed aside more than I meant her to be.

All in all, I wrote 46,141 words during NaNoWriMo, so I didn't "win" in the end.

Yet I'm completely and totally happy, because, you guys, I finished the first version of a novel.  I've only ever done this one other time in my life, and it's a heady, spin-y, ring-out-the-bells-upon-this-day-of-days-y feeling.  My plans for the month got skewed, but who cares?  I've got my story all in one piece, and I'm really, really stoked about fixing it up and making it presentable for company.  (Also, it needs a real title.  Because The Rochesters just isn't cutting it.)  Editing, here I come!

...Along with work on the first draft on the sequel, of course.  Because there's nothing like finishing a novel to make you want to write another about the same characters.  I can't just leave them all at the end like that, now can I?  Certainly not.  The Rochesters are speeding forward to the next summer and getting set to conquer the wild West-- and I'm making another cup of tea.

P.S.  Oh, and Jennifer hasn't been forgotten, either.  I'm still plugging along with her tale in bits and pieces... the Rochesters kind of have my attention at present but Jennifer's hanging in there.  More on her in a future post, 'kay?  Thanks muchly to all of you for your sweet support and for being so patient with me as I took a month's hiatus!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

What's What in This Neck of the Woods

Mr. Thornton's Guide to Writing

The simple fact of the matter, dear lovely people, is that The Rochesters is still not done.  Blah blah blah, insert poorly written excuse here.  But hope still remains. My goal for November, as I think I may have mentioned before, is to add 50,000 words to the Jennifer story; however, this doesn't mean I can't work on anything else.  So my priority over the next week or so is to finish the doggone Rochesters and get them sent off to beta readers while still maintaining my Jennifer quota.  Since I've sworn off the Internet except for email during November, it shouldn't be quite a Herculean task.

And speaking of beta readers, that's where you folks come in.  If you have not already received an email from me requesting your help (and, of course, if you are interested) please leave a comment expressing your willingness to beta-read and providing me with your email address.  (You can put the email in a separate comment and request that I not publish it if you prefer, and I shall oblige you.)  I'm looking for four more beta readers and will accept the first four generous offers to help that come in-- and of course if four or fewer people comment, everyone will be happy.  :D

So goodbye for now, everyone! (Hound, say goodbye for now!)

“I’m not drawing a bunny,” said Timmy, with a goodly measure of disgust.  “Bunnies are for babies.  I’m drawing a rabbit.”

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Beautiful People: Mark Elijah Rochester

"The public? Ha.  The public.  You sound like a snooty princess or something.  Maybe we had better say Francie’s public, huh?  The unwashed masses, the madding crowd, the populace we scatter coins to..."
~Mark Rochester

Okay, so there's a bit of a story behind the picture of Mark up here at the top... for the longest time the ONLY image I had of Mark was this one, which I'd found on Pinterest, but there was no name with it and so I had no idea who the boy in the picture was and therefore couldn't go looking for any more images of him.  And I really did want some more pictures because a) the more, the better when you're character casting and b) Mark doesn't generally run around in a medieval tunic.  So the other day I was going by while my sister Molly was on the computer, and she was looking for character pictures for one of HER books, and long story short she demonstrated to me how you can search Google with an image by right-clicking on it.  MIND.  BLOWN.  I had no idea you could do that. Go ahead and laugh, but I've got my Mark pictures now and I know who Charlie Rowe is.  YESSSSSS. 

~What kind of music does he like?

Mark isn't especially musical, but he enjoys singing in the car with his family, generally very loudly and not exactly on-key.  Mindless repetition of "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain," each verse varying slightly in Level of Ridiculousness, is a particular favorite.

~Does he like to go outside?

Absolutely.  Mark is definitely an outdoors person.  He's also an indoors person, too, and like all his siblings has an innate love of reading.

~Is he naturally curious?

Is Sir Percy the Scarlet Pimpernel?

~Right, or left handed?


~Favorite color?

Well, his favorite shirt (the one he wears four or five days out of the week in summer until it is forcibly removed by a sister and put in the washing machine) happens to be red (or at least it used to be red) so we'll go with red.

~Where is he from?

Born and bred in Cedar Lake, Michigan and has lived there all his life.

~Any enemies?

Mark doesn't really have enemies, per se, though there are a few people he really doesn't like.  Frank Whittaker currently tops the list.

“Who wants to make a good impression on a humanoid magazine cover like that,” Mark snorted, and Sylvia choked back a snort of her own.  “I bet he spends his whole day practicing how to ask girls out in front of his bathroom mirror.  When he’s not applying an entire bottle of hair oil, that is.  I bet he wears aftershave just so he’ll smell older.”

~What are his quirks?

He's argumentative but good-natured, enjoys doing things he's been expressly told not to do (sisters aren't parents, after all, and Celia isn't the boss of him) but is generally trustworthy, has never broken a bone in any of the times he's taken a plunge off his bike and has memorized all the kings of Judah both in chronological order and in a personal list ranking them from Most Wicked to Least Wicked.

~What kinds of things get on his nerves?

People nagging him or telling him what to do, wearing a tie, wearing a suit, wearing a carnation in his buttonhole and being a groomsman.

~Is he independent, or needs others to help out?

I'm gonna let you decide that one for yourself, based on the other answers. :D

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beautiful People: Frances Katharine Rochester

"The words ‘beard’ and ‘good-looking’ should never appear in the same sentence unless there is a ‘not’ between them."
~Francie Rochester

~What is her favorite type of shoes?

Oh, high heels, most indubitably.  Preferably sophisticated black ones.

~Does she journal?

She kept one when she was about eleven for about two days.

~What’s her favorite animal?

To eat or to pet?  For the former, fish-- the latter, dogs.

~What does her average day look like?

During the school year Francie's away at nursing school but this story takes place in the summer, so her day often includes... making oatmeal for eight people unless Alice does it first, working on dress orders from her various clients, going to people's houses for fittings (she's the only dressmaker around who still makes house calls, Celia often points out), doing up the lunch dishes, playing kickball in the backyard, folding laundry, going grocery shopping if it's her week (she and Alice take turns), playing Monopoly with her younger siblings and staying up too late reading Pride and Prejudice.

~Night owl or morning person? (Optional: What time does she usually wake up? Go to bed?)

Night owl for all intents and purposes-- she can be a morning person now and then, usually around the twenty-fifth of December or thereabouts.  What time she wakes up and goes to bed is not being disclosed to the general public.

~Does she have a sweet tooth?

Is the Popemobile Catholic?  Chocolate, please.

~What colors are in her bedroom?

Off-white on the walls and pink curtains at the windows (as opposed to Celia and Patsy's--and Sylvia's--room which is pink on three walls and white on one because they ran out of pink paint).

~Can she cook?

Heh.  Heh, heh, heh.  Um... yes.  Some things, she can cook very well.  Some things, she cannot.

Alice took a spatula and gave a dubious poke to a pan of yellow gook on the stove.  “Francie, if you don’t mind my asking, what is this supposed to be?”
“It’s not supposed to be any thing.  It is an omelet.”  Francie whisked the spatula out of Alice’s hand.  “You don’t have to eat it.”

~What is her favorite household chore?

Scrubbing the bathtub, believe it or not.  You get to run the water really loud and sing Que Sera, Sera at the top of your lungs and if other people yell at you to hush up you can blithely ignore them because of course you can't hear them over the sound of your industrious cleaning.

~Favorite kind of tea?

Earl Grey-- it's classy and kind of romantic and very English, which is just the kind of thing Francie likes.

{{I did Sylvia and Celia's Beautiful People tags quite some time ago, but neither has really changed since then so do go check them out when you get a chance.  :D Mark will be up next.}}

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beautiful People: Alice Cassandra Rochester

"Patsy, you know better than to scream in the kitchen.  If you want to scream, go down cellar where you won’t bother anyone."
~Alice Rochester

I've decided to make this week a Get to Know the Rochesters Better week, as I'm in the last throes of finishing the story (WE HOPE) and instead of apologizing and excuse-ing and going off on irrelevant tangerines that you're not interested in, I'm doing a series of Beautiful People, one each day.  We're starting with Alice and going down the line in age order.

~What is her biggest accomplishment?

Becoming a fourth-grade teacher, definitely.  And marrying her fiance would probably go on the list too, except that at the start of the story it hasn't happened yet.

~What is one of her strongest childhood memories?

Reading everything she could get her hands on and being read to by her father.  Her mother read to her, too, but she and her father had a special book routine every night before bed (a practice that's continued on with all the other kids in the family).

~What is her favorite food?

Uhhhhh... pumpkin pie.

~Does she believe in love at first sight?

Nope, she believes in being friends with someone through high school and liking them from the start and then falling in love with them a little bit more each day until one day you both realize that you were meant for each other and you get engaged and then you get married.  This is because she's had experience in that regard.

~What kind of home does she live in?

A loud, noisy, hilarious, exuberant, close-knit, old-fashioned one.

~What does she like to wear?

Alice isn't as clothes-conscious as, say, Francie is-- she likes to look nice but she's not too picky about what she has on.  A sweater (long or short-sleeved, depending on the weather) and a skirt in solid colors or maybe a flowered print is her go-to attire.

~What would she do if she discovered she was dying?

Tell her family she loved them and make out Patsy and Timmy's bath schedule for the next twenty years to avoid bickering when she's not around.

~What kind of holidays, or traditions do they celebrate?

Birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July, Father's Day, and The Day We Got Pumblechook (which is February 26th, 1950 in case anyone was wondering).

~What do your other characters have to say about them?

This is a great question. :D

“What kind of games do you play?” asked Sylvia, choosing to sedately attend to the cutlery drawer.  
“Oh, all kinds.  Sometimes board games, sometimes party games.  Mark almost always picks Monopoly and Francie picks charades. Nobody likes it when it’s Timmy’s turn because he always picks Uncle Wiggily, which gets old really fast, and Alice has a reputation for picking Find The Grammatical Error In This Sentence.”
Sylvia snorted.

“No, I’m not kidding.  We really did play that one time.  Mark and I did a pretty good job of faking snores by the fourth round.  I don’t think we fooled Daddy, but Alice gave up and chose What’s My Line instead.”

~If they could change one thing in their world, what would it be?

I'm not sure Alice would want to change anything in her world.  She likes it just the way it is.  I mean, I'm sure she'd love to see poverty and war and ungodliness eradicated from the planet, but as far as her own little domain in Cedar Lake... I think she'd tell you that it's got its own particular brand of perfection.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Let Me Explain About Jennifer

I'm an insufferable copy-cat, et cetera and so forth, so when my sister posted about her newest story The Husband Choosing using the Wolverine-and-Gladiator format (go read her post if that makes no sense to you), I thought it would be fun to give you all a little more about Jennifer in the same fashion.  Please note that I'm not currently working on Jennifer at the moment-- I'm still trying to finish up The Rochesters right now (yeah, yeah, I know-- and I really should get off Blogger and onto my document).  That said, I intend to take November as my month to really get a move on with Jennifer, and I'm hoping to kinda-sorta participate in NaNo by adding 50,000 words to Jennifer.  The Rochesters had better be done by then.  IT WILL BE.

Anyways.  On to Jennifer.  Here's the scoop (and if you didn't read my sister's post, go do so or this one won't make sense).  Oh, and please note that I haven't necessarily seen all the movies these characters come from, nor do I endorse them, blah blah blah, nor do the pictures necessarily match the characters I reference, et cetera. ("What is this et cetera?"  "It means 'and so forth and all the rest,' your Majesty.")

Katniss Everdeen's parents die in a car accident soon after her nineteenth birthday, and she is left to take care of her almost-three-year-old brother Oscar (that child genius who has an IQ of 160 or whatever it was and who isn't actually a fictional character).  

This idea is not met with favor from Katniss' grandmother Margaret Thatcher, who thinks that Katniss and Oscar should move down to Florida to be with their grandparents, that Katniss should get her degree and Oscar should go to day care.  

Katniss, of course, is not going to let this happen, and after some legal negotiation which I still have to research 'cause I'm hazy on the subject, she's allowed to be her brother's guardian (not without disapproval from the Iron Lady).

Determined to settle for nothing less get started on her own, therefore, Katniss gets herself an apartment from a less than desirable landlady and starts attending a new church with Oscar, where she meets Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley, who turn out to be the kindred spirits she needed.

Meanwhile, she's enjoying the rigors of raising a two-year-old on her own, attempting to find a job, and putting up with criticism from her grandmother.  Also trying to deal with the fact that Enjolras, the chap she had a bit of a fancy for in tenth grade, just happens to be attending this church as well, which means she sees him every Sunday, and oh look, the fancy (on her part) might just be back.

Um, I can't think why.

If that weren't enough, she gets rather pushily befriended by Rose Tyler, a well-meaning young mom from her church who is the ultimate Perfect Mother and makes all her pureed organic baby food from scratch while teaching her two-year-old classical Hebrew.

While trying to get involved more with church activities so the ladies of her church will look on her a little more favorably (Oscar is her BROTHER, people-- maybe she should wear a sign informing the world of this fact), Katniss decides to participate in an older-women-mentoring-younger-women program and begins regularly visiting Mrs. Forrester as an enthusiastic Ministry Project.

Because, you know, there's totally no such thing as getting burnt out.

Also there's a stray cat in the mix.  Who hasn't been cast yet.  

Casting Key
Katniss Everdeen - Jennifer Farnham
Oscar Wrigley - Ethan Farnham
Margaret Thatcher - Gloria Young (Nana)
Mary Crawley - Mallory Kent
Matthew Crawley - Noah Kent
Enjolras - Anthony [last name to be determined]
Rose Tyler - Grace Dockery
Mrs. Forrester - Edna Baker

Anthony regarded the cat and the cat regarded Anthony.  “I’m not too good with pets, to be honest.  I had a gerbil when I was little but it died alarmingly quickly.  My dad maintains that I killed it.”

Ethan beamed.  “Anfee kill gerbil,” he informed me.

“No, he did not,” I spluttered.  “I’m sorry, Anthony, he just gets these ideas into his--”

Ethan gazed adoringly at Anthony.  “Now you kill annovver gerbil.”

Anthony gazed back, not exactly adoringly.  “Um, no.”

“Anfee kill gerbil,” said Ethan decidedly.  “Want see Anfee kill gerbil.”

“Ethan!”  I scooped him up and held him on my hip.  “There’s not going to be any gerbil killing, okay?  Anthony, I’m sorry-- he’s not usually so bloodthirsty--”


A scarf-draped, middle-aged woman walking an expensive dog minced by on high heels (the stabby kind).  Hearing Ethan’s plea for the death of some helpless rodent, her freeze-dried face contorted into a mask of horror.  Shooting a look at me that would have done Cruella de Vil proud, she scooped up her yapping bundle of fur and scurried far, far away from the heartless young woman and her murderous child.

~the Jennifer story

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Staten Island is *in* New York!": The Status on The Rochesters

Uncle Arnold patted Alice on the back.  “Yes, yes, I’m well aware of the fact.  The bit about being splendid, I mean.  And I’ll put in a call to your suitor while you get our bags ready.  If you do it, we’ll be late for our train.  Sylvia, it is best for you to learn early in life that when the time comes for you to have a Young Man of your own, you may pose quite an inconvenience to your Nearest and Dearest by monopolizing the telephone line at all hours of the day or night.”
Sylvia giggled.  “I don’t really like talking on the telephone, Uncle Arnold.”
Uncle Arnold nodded solemnly, with only the tiniest hint of a twinkle.  “An aversion which time will cure all too soon.  Hang onto your innocence, Sylvia, and do not let my daughters lead you astray.” 
~chapter fifteen 

September is over, in case you hadn't noticed.

And the little word counter for The Rochesters on the right-hand sidebar of my blog isn't at 100%, in case you hadn't noticed that either.  

Yep, I didn't finish.  And I am okay with that. 

This post is sounding oddly reminiscent of this one from last November when I didn't quite finish Half NaNo.  I think it's just that I've gotten so used to not meeting deadlines that it hardly bothers me anymore.  This is not a good thing.  I must learn to weep and wail when I don't meet a deadline.  I should enlist Anne-girl to whap me over the head or something when I fall short... pain association and all that.  Or perhaps she could give me chocolate nuts when I DO meet my deadlines.  (That's the way they train animals.) This would be agreeable.  Take notes, Anne-girl.

At any rate, I've currently clocked in at 56,367 words, which is just a tiny bit over 80% of the goal.  I don't know if the manuscript actually WILL get to 70,000, of course.  I intend to write until the story is finished, whatever the final word count may be, and as yet I'm not there.  (Obviously.)  I have twenty-two chapters outlined but only seventeen chapters' worth of material written (not seventeen complete chapters, you understand) so it could quite possibly end up going over 70,000.

And as I said, the fact that I didn't finish in September doesn't bother me.  I'm deep enough in the story now that there's no danger of my setting it down and saying "I'll finish it later" and then never getting to it.  (Well... okay, there's a lot LESS danger.)  The Rochesters have taken me by the collar and pulled me into their world, and it's really kind of delightful to see the family that I dreamed up one summer day living and breathing and chattering and having splash fights in my mind.  

Celia and Francie have really endeared themselves to me over this last week-and-a-half of crazy writing-- they were more or less my two favorite characters to begin with, but now they're definitely my favorites.  Well, but Mark is too.  And Alice.  And Sylvia.  And Uncle Arnold.  And Patsy and Timmy and George and even Pumblechook (though in real life I tend to be repulsed by big slobbery dogs).   Cheesy though it may sound, this crazy family has been writing me in the process of my writing them, and I'm eternally grateful to them.  They've taught me not to shy away from being embarrassed by little things, to embrace spontaneous silliness (um... only to a certain extent... as my siblings will, I am sure, concur), to laugh at those I love and at myself, that you can be furious with someone and still like them tremendously deep down underneath, to stop and smell the burning toast along with the roses (because face it, some days have more burnt toast than roses to offer), that anything hilarious your siblings might say is fair game for novel material if your sister doesn't grab it first, and that any family that agrees perfectly on how song lyrics go is not the kind of family that sings together frequently.  

 Sylvia, sandwiched between Francie and George in the front seat, bravely struck up a tune of her own.  “This land is your land, this land is my land...”
Celia and Alice joined in.  “From California to Staten Island...”
“It’s the New York Island, not Staten Island,” sang Mark. 
Celia rolled her eyes.  “Staten Island is in New York.”  
It really was the New York Island, but Sylvia was willing to let it slide.  “Come on, don’t mess up the meter.  From the redwood forest, to the something wa-aters...”

Timmy chimed in with Sylvia, but Patsy was squirming in her seat.  “I have to go the bathroom,” she announced, cutting the warblers short.  
~chapter nineteen

I'm not ashamed to admit that I've poured a lot of myself into this novel, and when it's done I think I'm going to be pretty doggone proud.  (Yes, this is a sappy feel-good post.  Deal with it.)  It's become a part of me, and though I'm a little scared at the idea of showing it in its entirety to Other People, I feel like the Rochesters have the potential to go out in the world and make something of themselves.

Which means, y'know, cover letters and agents and all that classical stuff (it's like jazz, but better).  I shall keep you peeps updated.  

In the meantime, I'm off to write some more on my beloveds and hope to get their story finished... soon.  You'll know when I'm done, I promise.  There will be much huzzah-ing and throwing of hats and handing imaginary chocolate all around.  (And then I'll be looking for beta readers.  So stay tuned.)

“Don’t feel bad,” Francie added hastily.  “You did better today than I used to when I first started sewing.  The first doll dress I made was constructed along the general figure lines of a potato.  And I didn’t have any potato-shaped dolls.  Well, there was one I named Antoinette who kind of looked like a rutabaga, but that’s another story for another time.”
~chapter ten

Saturday, September 21, 2013

That Really Long and Very Overdue Post About the Rochesters

“Hold up, everyone.” Alice’s hands tensed on the wheel.  
“How come?” demanded Patsy, injured.  “I’m TALKING to SYLVIA.”
“I have to back up.  Shhhh.”
Miraculously, the station wagon fell silent as Alice backed up.  But as soon as it was safely rolling forward again, the talking broke out with renewed vigor.  “You children really ought to be quiet when someone is trying to do something difficult,” Francie scolded.  
Celia waved her hands to shush her siblings.  “Quiet, everyone, quiet.  Francie is trying to think.” 

So it took me long enough to get this post moving, but we'll pretend I'm writing it in a timely fashion and just get down to business.  Thank you all so very, very much for the questions you asked about The Rochesters!  I intend to answer them all here and stick in a bunch of snippets at haphazard intervals (because snippets are fun) so this may end up being a long post.  We Shall See.

Miss Jane Bennet asked...
~How many Rochesters are there, and what are their names?

There are six Rochesters of the child sort, and one of the fatherly type, and one mother who is deceased and departed, so there are seven (living) altogether.  (I am a brilliant mathematician.)  Their names, ages, faces and the actors-who-picture-them are listed below.  (I know you didn't ask for ages and faces and celebrity doppelgangers, but I believe in giving bonuses every once in a while.  I also believe in multitasking, because Molly asked for their age order, so I'm killing one bird with two stones.  And hey, look, I'm also quoting this guy.  This is definitely a good day.)

"We don’t actually have a television, in case you didn’t notice-- Daddy says it sucks brain cells.  But sometimes we watch it at other people’s houses.  Daddy doesn’t mind a little once in a while.  He says growing children can afford to lose a few brain cells but adults have to make do with what they’ve got, because a lot of them haven’t got very many to begin with."
~Celia, chapter nine

Arnold Gregory is forty-something.  :P  His prototype is Gregory Peck, and yes, the character is partially named for the actor. I just couldn't help it.

Sylvia tried not to look shocked. “Okay… uh, does something happen to the laundry around here?”
“No, no, it’s just Alice these days.”  
“Alice?” Sylvia sat down on the edge of her bed. 
“Oh, believe me, she’s gone batty.  More than she usually is, you know.”  Celia wormed under her bed and reappeared with a hairbrush in her hand.  “It’s because of George, of course.  She acts so cool and calm most of the time, but you should see her on the phone with him.  It’s disgusting, really it is.  And she gets so distracted after she’s talked with him.  Awful.  Absolutely awful.  But funny.  The reason I mentioned the clothes is that last week—you’re not going to believe this—she folded a whole basket of wet laundry.”
~chapter two

Alice Cassandra is twenty-two.  She's "played" by Claire Foy and she's engaged to George Rawlins (Richard Beymer's face, FYI).

“Don’t be ridiculous.”  Francie tipped Celia’s chin back and looked into her eyes. “Your pupils are perfectly normal.  There’s no concussion.  And it’s only a little bump.  If you’d ever seen the kind of injuries that come in the emergency room at Walden Memorial you wouldn’t make such a fuss over a bruise.  Come on, we’ll take another block and if we don’t recognize any of our surroundings we’ll ask for directions.”
“That’s the trouble with a sister who’s training to be a nurse.”  Celia linked her arm through Sylvia’s.  “No sympathy, not a bit.  I’d have to be spouting blood into the middle of the street in order for her to find me a Band-Aid.  And now she won’t even trust me to tell her which way to go.”
~chapter eight

Frances (Francie) Katharine is nineteen.  That's Elinor Donahue in the picture and though the smile is just exactly right, Francie never looks that glamorous.  Her siblings will tell you that without hesitation.

Francie giggled as the screen door banged shut.  “She’s always making promises about being responsible when she’s left at home to be the oldest, and then we come home to find the laundry not done and the dishes sprouting vegetation in the sink.”
~chapter seven

Celia Jane is fourteen-almost-fifteen.  She kinda-sorta shares a face with Emma Watson-- that is, Emma Watson comes closest to my mental image of Celia, but she's not absolutely perfect.  Celia has a more mischievous look about her.

It was Mark’s job to fetch the mail every day and he did it without being reminded, which was what made the mail fetching such a unique kind of task, or at least that was what Celia had said.  Bills, RSVP’s for Alice about the wedding, correspondence from Uncle Arnold’s editor at the publishing house, letters for Celia from her pen pal in California, catalogs from various companies that nobody had asked for and only Patsy found interesting—all were treated with the same mix of reverence and important responsibility.  Mark made a ritual each day of spreading the mail out just so on the kitchen counter (sometimes prompting indignant remarks from whichever sister was currently preparing some sort of edible thereupon) and painstakingly sorting through it all, with loud announcements of what was for whom. 
~chapter seven

Mark Elijah is twelve.  I have searched in vain for an actor whose face fits my mental image of Mark, and this random boy in medieval clothes (you can't see the clothes because I cropped them out) is the best I can do.  If anyone knows who he is or whence he came or what his name might be, do enlighten me, because I'd like to find more pictures if I can.

Celia sighed.  “There will be silence in the courtroom.”
Francie opened her mouth with a warning look, but Timmy cut her off gleefully with, “The judge wants to spit!”
“Timmy.”  Francie looked pained.  “What’s Sylvia going to think of you?”
“Aw, Sylvia knows me by now,” said Timmy, unconcerned.  
~chapter five

Timothy (Timmy) William is seven.  Ron Howard serves as his prototype, and yes, the character is shamelessly based off of Opie Taylor. Also my own brother, who used to be seven.

She had barely time to widen her crinkled eyelids before a small, moppety head popped up from the adjoining bed and shrieked, “Good MORNING, Sylvia!”
“Hi, Patsy,” Sylvia mumbled, trying to twist her head around and get a look at the clock without having to move more than was strictly necessary.  The clock, however, was not in the spot on the dresser where it had been the night before.
“Celia took the clock and hid it under her bed.”  Patsy wormed the covers back, hopped out of bed and padded over to put her face very close to Sylvia’s.  “She didn’t want me to set the alarm, but I know how.  Francie taught me.”
~chapter three

Patricia (Patsy) Marie is four-almost-five.  (She's closer to five than Celia is to fifteen.)  She is not half as annoyingly cute as Shirley Temple, nor does she pout as frequently as the picture might suggest, but she isn't always a Merry Sunshine and the picture made me giggle.

“And the overenthusiastic canine you see before you is Pumblechook.  DOWN, SIR,” said Uncle Arnold, the latter remark not being directed at Sylvia.
~chapter two

The Honorable Pumblechook is eight.  Yes, he's intentionally named after the pompous uncle in Great Expectations.  Yes, that was the Rochesters' idea and not just the narrator's.

(And then there's the protagonist, Sylvia Lemmins, who isn't technically a Rochester, and you can go here to read more about her.)

~When is The Rochesters set?

Summer of 1956, from June to August.

(Jane had another question regarding the Rochesters as well but I'm saving it for a post of its own.  :D)

Alicia asked...
~How does Sylvia come to be orphaned? Is this discussed?

Sylvia's parents died when she was a baby, but the how and why is never discussed.  It's not really important-- she only mentions near the beginning of the story that her parents died when she was tiny, and she doesn't remember them at all.

~Do you have a favorite character?

Ha.  Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha.  You WOULD ask me THAT.  Ummm... I'd say maybe Francie or Celia.  Possibly Mark.  I mean, I like Sylvia quite well, but she's not as hilarious as the other three.

Alice rapped Francie’s knuckles with her own toast.  “Stop it.  I have excellent taste.  First-class.  The best in the world.  Ask George.  Yes, Timmy, you may be excused.  Put your plate in the sink, Patsy.”

“He’s biased.”  Francie ostentatiously wiped the butter from Alice’s toast off her hand as the younger children dumped their dishes in the sink and galloped off to the living room  “Love may be blind, but the sisters ain’t.  You can’t tell a really truly good dress from a second-rate one.”

“They’re teasing,” said Celia, for Sylvia’s benefit.  (Sylvia appreciated this, though she thought she could have figured this out for herself.)  “And since Francie doesn’t seem inclined to actually answer your question, I take it upon myself to inform you that what she believes to be her correct size and what Macy’s believes to be her size are two very different things, and the long and the short of it is, the dress she bought is kind of a little bit too snug and she won’t give in and just let the seams out.  Ergo, diet.”
~chapter eight

~Who is the most mischievous character in the family?

That would definitely be Mark.

“Too bad,” Mark chirped, smiling brightly at Frank.  “What a pity.  Hope you have fun anyway.  Bye.”
Celia reached around and surreptitiously pinched the back of Mark’s arm.  “However, I’d love to go swimming some other time, maybe a little later in the summer.”
“Sure.”  Frank nodded.  “There’ll be lots of other times.  Say, we could go on a bike ride out to China Hills next week.  Some of the fellows were talking about that this morning, too.”
“A bike ride sounds lovely,” said Celia, expertly ducking away from Mark’s returning pinch.  “Just let me know when it’s going to happen and I’ll be happy to come along.”
“And we’d be delighted to accompany her,” said Mark, casually dipping his bucket into the garbage can.  “Can’t have our dear sister traipsing about unchaperoned with a--”
“Isn’t he cute,” said Celia, forcing a laugh.  “I’ll be there next week, Frank.”
~chapter seven

~This book reminds me of something like Elizabeth Enright and Jeanne Birdsall -- is it, do you think?

This is a flattering question because Elizabeth Enright and Jeanne Birdsall are two of my biggest influences in the writing of this book (Carol Ryrie Brink being a third major inspiration).  I'd like to think the book resembles The Melendy Quartet and the Penderwicks series in some ways, though of course I want it to be unique and have a little flavor all its own.  Both E.E. and J.B.'s books operate on a strong family theme, and the main characters are all siblings.  There are precious few books out there these days that focus on good, humorous brother-sister (and cousin!) relationships, and I want The Rochesters to be one of the few.

~Are there any characters in the story that sort of resemble any members of your family?

Well, each character has a few attributes from various members of my family, but I don't know if any of them could really be compared closely with my siblings.  Timmy probably most resembles my eight-year-old brother Robbie, and a lot of his phrases and mannerisms are taken from casual observation of my brother.  Though as I said before, a lot of Timmy's inspiration comes from The Andy Griffith Show.

“Timmy?  Gingersnap or chocolate chip?”
“I can’t deciiiiiiide.”  Timmy’s brow furrowed.  “I need some time.”
“Time is exactly what we don’t have.”  Alice rattled the cookie box.  “Come on, Patsy, what would you like?”
Patsy took the last chocolate chip cookie, which provoked a howl from Timmy.  “That was the one I wanted!”
Alice looked at him.  “I thought you said you couldn’t decide.”  
“Well, I couldn’t, but then I saw what she had and I knew.”
~chapter eleven

Eowyn asked...
~Where do you get inspired for the Rochesters' quotes?

From my family.  I have a really hilarious family.  A lot of the dialogue comes verbatim from our dinner table (see the Timmy snippet above) and some of it is just inspired by something a brother or sister says in passing.  I like rewriting conversations in my head ("ooh, this would have been so much funnier if he had said THIS instead of THAT, and if she had responded with such-and-such") and writing a story like this is the perfect opportunity to do so.   That's probably why The Rochesters is so dialogue-heavy. They're a family that loves to talk, and I'm finding it's easiest to express their personalities through what they do best: talking.  Talking at breakfast and lunch and dinner, talking in the car, talking during Sunday School (ahem), talking over each other and contradicting and interrupting and teasing and mimicking.

Celia paused a moment for dramatic emphasis.  “What… would you call a book about a gypsy fortune-teller who didn’t believe in rushing into romance?”
Francie looked at her.
Sylvia crinkled her nose.  “Say that again?”
“What would you call a book about a gypsy fortune-teller who didn’t believe in rushed romance?”
“That was the whole book right there in the riddle,” said George, tossing Mark a napkin.  “Did no one ever tell you that short and sweet go together?”
“Come on, somebody, answer it,” said Celia.
“I have no idea,” said Timmy, with an exaggerated sigh.
“Does everyone give up?”
“Yes,” said Alice.  “We gave up around the fifth paragraph of the question.”
~chapter nineteen

Aaaaand that's all for today, folks.  Regarding questions, that is.  I have to get back to my scribbling, because I've vowed a vow to finish the first draft of The Rochesters by October first, come hell or high water.  I know I promised a month ago that I'd get it done by the end of August, and that didn't happen and I feel rather guilty, but life goes on and things will be okay.  Though thirty-one days of August are gone, tomorrow is a bright new day.  And I have approximately 25,000 words to write in nine days (while simultaneously hosting a blog party over here, because I'm insane), so if you'll excuse me, I'm off to type.

"This house," [said Uncle Arnold], "is one of the strangest ever constructed.  The downstairs floor plan doesn’t match the upstairs, a discrepancy which is compensated by the placement of strategic closets filled with useless things that came from who-knows-where.”
“We don’t have that much stuff, Daddy,” Francie protested.
“All I know,” said Uncle Arnold, finishing his baked potato, “is that if we ever have a Useless Junk sale I intend to become a millionaire.”
“How can it be useless junk if it’s worth a million dollars?” Timmy inquired.
“Eat your supper,” said Uncle Arnold.
~chapter two

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

We Had a Gowdfish Dat Died

Tremendous thanks to all those who submitted questions in the Ask Jeeves post! I'll be answering those delightful inquiries quite soon, I hope, but I leave tomorrow for some time at the beach (YESSSSS) and shall be away for the rest of the week.  So, to tide you over until I'm gone, I present Summer Snippets.


“Don’t dogs usually just shake themselves dry?” Sylvia mumbled from behind her pile of towels.

“Indeed they do.  Which is why we have to dry Pumblechook because we never know where he’ll decide to shake himself.  One time he got inside the house somehow and did his drying in the living room.  Daddy’s editor was coming over that afternoon and Daddy hit the ceiling.”  Celia giggled.  “After that the absolute rule was that Pumblechook HAD to be bathed in the backyard and dried there.  We’ve all gotten really good at it-- in fact, a few summers ago Alice and Francie started a dog-washing business.  It didn’t get very many customers, but maybe that was because Francie had insisted on naming it the Toodle-Pip Poodle Dip because she thought that was cute.”

~The Rochesters

“Mark, for goodness’ sakes get down from there,” Francie shouted.  “If you fall and break your neck I’ll have to call an ambulance, and you know how I hate talking to strangers on the phone.”

~The Rochesters

Ethan has an incredible talent for waking up with a dirty face.  I’m not sure what causes it.  I mean, I do clean him before I put him to bed.  After every meal, too.  But all the same, he manages to present his bright eyed, bushy tailed self to me every morning with peanut butter or regular butter or toothpaste or who knows what smeared across his nose or forehead or even dabbed around his mouth.  Which is, of course, the area that I clean most thoroughly.  It’s infuriating and also a bit unsettling, because it makes me wonder if maybe he knows how to get out of the pack n’ play and go wandering around the flat to find himself a snack in the middle of the night.  (Hence the mess in the morning.)

I really hope not.  I was thinking I wouldn’t have to deal with random acts of eating at strange hours until he was at least thirteen or so.


“Oh, I hate pencils.”  The lady cheerfully arranged her handbag just so on her lap and beamed at Sylvia.  “Nasty little wooden things.  I’m quite sure you could get a splinter if you hold one the wrong way.  And with my rheumatism I’m always holding things the wrong way.  Besides which, the tips break too easily.  No, give me a good old-fashioned pen any day. Not that I blame you for using a pencil of course, dear.  Young folks will have their fun.”

~The Rochesters

“We had a gowdfish dat died,” said a little girl behind Derek, taking no notice of Mrs. Hennessey.

“Miss Darlene, I have a goldfish!”  Fiona cried.

“We flushed owah gowdfish down dah potty,” continued the little girl behind Derek, inexorably.

“My grammy flushes spiders down the potty,” offered a sober-faced little girl beside Fiona.

“So does my mommy!” shouted a little boy in the back.

“Use your library voice, Brandon." Mrs. Hennessey flipped pages loudly. "Let’s read our story, okay?”


Francie giggled as the screen door banged shut.  “She’s always making promises about being responsible when she’s left at home to be the oldest, and then we come home to find the laundry not done and the dishes sprouting vegetation in the sink.”

“I’m not sure who’s talking about dishes sprouting vegetation in the sink,” said Alice ominously, applying a washcloth with great gusto to certain portions of Timmy’s face.

~The Rochesters

Sylvia regarded the picture.  “Where’s the bear catcher?”

“He’ll be along in the next one.  We’re working on that.  You go ahead and write what they’re saying.”

“The bear, too?”

“Of course the bear, too.  That’ll be easy because you just have to write RAWR.”

Sylvia thought about this.  “How do you spell RAWR?”

Mark laid down his pencil, propped his chin on his hand and regarded Sylvia. “What kind of a school do you go to?”

~The Rochesters

Friday, August 9, 2013

Ask Jeeves

Patsy flew to the phone, delighted that no one older was available to take the privilege.   “Hello, Rochester resident?  Hi, George!  It’s Patsy!”  She always forgot that people on the other end of the phone couldn’t see you waving.  “Alice can’t talk right now, her mouth’s full, but mine isn’t.  What do you want to talk about?”
~The Rochesters

It's kinda-sorta awkward getting back into writing-blogging, you know.  I want to talk about all my projects right now but I hardly know where to begin. So... could you help me?  If I provide you with some general information about the stories I'm working on, could you be a little family of ducks and ask some questions to get me started?

Because, you know, it's so much easier to answer questions than it is to start from pure scratch and try to figure out on one's own what people want to know.  (I borrowed this idea from Jenny Freitag, by the way, and she's had great success with it so I thought why not try it myself.)  But to give you a little bit of Gen. Inf...

First of all there's The Rochesters.  This has been my mere working title for a long time now, but I'm seriously considering making it the for-reals title.  Because titles should tell readers what the story's about, and this particular story is about the Rochesters-- a big, noisy family that names pets after Dickens characters and plans birthday parties in the midst of wedding preparations and goes on picnic breakfasts without a Word of Warning and takes in an orphaned cousin for the summer.  I'm not at all sure that this title is eye-catching enough, but until/unless I can come up with a better one, it's doing very nicely.

Anyway, my goal is to finish TR's first draft by the end of August.  I'm hereby asking you all to hold me to that.   Currently it stands at about 35,500 words but I'm making some rather drastic changes to the beginning and of course intend to add quite a bit to the end as I'm not even halfway through the story.  Heehee.  I anticipate the final draft being some 85,000.  Ish.

I've blogged a good deal about the Rochesters and their quirks already, so you can check out their tag if you want a bit more to go on.  (Do ask questions, though.  Please.  It's the point of this post.  I should hate for the poor thing to go to waste.  Blog posts are people too, you know.)

Then there's the Jennifer story, so named because the main character's name is Jennifer.  I know.  I'm so original.  But hey, Jane Austen named one of her best books Emma, so I'm in good company.  (No, I am mistaken.  That is not good company; that is the best.)  This is one of my first forays into the world of contemporary stories, and I'm feeling quite liberated as I piddle with it.  No need for historical research or attempts at accuracy in the dialogue... nope, these characters live and work and recreate (that's the verb form of recreation, right?  Right?) much as I do.  Except that my main character's circumstances are quite different from mine.

In brief, Jennifer Farnham's parents were tragically killed in a car accident when she was nineteen (my MC's seem to have a running theme of dead parents... I hope that doesn't indicate something bad about me) and she was left with the responsibility of caring for her three-year-old brother Ethan.  Foregoing college plans and balancing a part-time job, keeping the rent paid at a tiny apartment and potty training a precocious toddler would keep her busy enough, but on top of it all she has to deal with her worldly and unsympathetic grandmother, who would like nothing more than to take over Jennifer's life and be in charge of both her and Ethan.   Yay, I have now succeeded in sounding exactly like the back of a cheesy Hallmark DVD.  Score.

Oh, and then we throw in a young married couple who take Jennifer and Ethan under their wings, so to speak, and the guy Jennifer had a crush on in tenth grade who is suddenly back in her life again, and an elderly lady from church with a tongue like a metal spatula (it's like a knife, only not quite as sharp, and it often accompanies cake) and you have a story that I'm having way too much fun with.  In my head, that is.  The amount that I actually have written is sad and pathetic and humiliating.  I'm working on that.  And my plans for August pretty much solely revolve around TR anyway, so I doubt I'll do much work on Jennifer and her crowd, but she's always at the back of my mind and will be waiting for me come September.  So ask questions about her, too.

And of course anything else you might like to know.
Help me?
You're the bestest.
Thank you.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Where do we go from here?

*resists breaking into You Must Love Me*

I rather feel as if I'm beginning a whole new blogging journey today... it's been so long since I've been on here that it's almost like a brand-new blog.  You can just picture me being Chauvelin in a long beard saying that I have no memory of this place.

Guilt is the main reason I haven't been on here.  It doesn't stem from my lack of blogging--though if I had more of a conscience in that respect, it would--but from my lack of writing in general.  Reading others' writing blogs has only served to increase the feeling of shame.  I'd been about ready to trash all my documents and go hide under my bed until any and all writerly feelings had passed me by.

That is, if my bed were high enough off the ground to actually hide under.  Which it isn't.  I can fit shirt boxes under there and that's about it.

I think every writer struggles with self-doubt from time to time.  You can't cure it by grinning cheesily at yourself in the mirror and telling yourself to hold your chin up and just keep swimming.  I know, because I've tried that.  You can't cure it by reading other people's writing blogs or manuscripts and hoping you'll absorb some of their inspiration by osmosis.  Trust me on that one, too.  That one in particular will only make your symptoms worse.

So what's the cure for that feeling of inadequacy where writing is concerned?

To be honest, I don't think there really is one.  I don't think any writer will ever arrive at the place where he or she can sit back and say, "Yes, good, I am now the best writer I could ever be and I will never doubt myself or lose inspiration or be unable to think of anything to say ever again--goodness, look at the time, I better go feed my unicorn."  I mean, that would be a ridiculous thing to say.  Unicorns don't even exist.

But though you may never conquer writer's block, there comes a time when you realize you simply can't give up.  Or at least, that's how it was for me.

I kinda wanted to give up.  A part of me wanted to say, "You know what, I'm no good at this balderdash and I'm going to push it away for good and find a new hobby.  Besides, I don't really have time to write anyway."   And yet a bigger part of me wouldn't let myself do that.  Because like it or not, words are in my blood.  (Or in my brain, anyway.  That sounds less weird.)  I can't escape from writing.  Every thought, every emotion has to be formed into a sentence before I can let it go.  Sheesh, I narrate my own actions in my head.  In third person, no less.  Everything I do and see and feel and hear points back to writing somehow-- whether it's giving me an idea for a character or providing a snippet of dialogue or posing a plot question or just making me want to put it into words for no reason at all.

I can't escape writing.
I don't want to.

I can't rid myself of the dragons that say You'll Never Be One Of Them.  ("Them," of course, refers to the literary giants such as Jane Austen and her ilk.)  But I don't have to listen to them.  At least not all the time.  I can't always write what I want to write.  I can't always move past guilt and writer's block and lack of inspiration.  But I can be a writer.  I can put words on a page.  Those words can stink, but they're still words, and each one that I type brings me a little closer to a finished book.

So here I am, back again, taking on the world with my laptop keyboard.  I feel pretty invincible right now.  It all seems new again... and I have plots and peoples calling my name.  

I don't know how I possibly managed to desert them for so long.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Random Snippets from Who Knows When

I haven't done Snippets of a Story since... erm... November.  Cough.  And the fact is embarrassing me just a little. So we won't call these snippets after any particular month--we'll just pretend there are more of them all around, because more snippets would mean I'd been writing more, which would be a nice thing if it were true.

Oh, and everything's from The Rochesters.  Pet project, you know.

“Silence, minions!” Mark shrieked.  “The almighty, the immortal, the legendary crooner Mighty Lord Bing of the Crosby has deigned to grace our humble radio with his illustrious presence.  Fall on your kneeeeeees and hear the angel voice--”
Francie threw an afghan over his head.  “Will you just be quiet and let us listen?”

“Thursday night is game night if everyone’s not busy, usually.”  Celia jammed a large pot into a small one, attempted to shut the cabinet door and, failing, resorted to leaning on it.  “We draw straws to see who gets to pick the games.”
“What kind of games do you play?” asked Sylvia, who was sedately attending to the cutlery drawer.  
“Oh, all kinds.  Sometimes board games, sometimes party games.  Mark almost always picks Monopoly and Francie picks charades. Nobody likes it when it’s Timmy’s turn because he always picks Uncle Wiggily, which gets old really fast, and Alice has a reputation for picking Find The Grammatical Error In This Sentence.”
Sylvia snorted.
“No, I’m not kidding.  We really did play that one time.  Mark and I did a pretty good job of faking snores by the fourth round.  I don’t think we fooled Daddy, but Alice gave up and chose What’s My Line instead.”

Francie put a bowl of egg salad on the table and stared at Celia’s eyebrows.  “What, may I ask, has happened to your face, my dear?”
“She was born that way,” said Mark.  “You’ll get used to it in time.”
Alice put her hands on her hips.  “Celia, wipe off that eyebrow pencil.  I said a little bit.  You look like Groucho Marx.”
“I was practicing my make-up for the wedding,” said Celia, aggrieved.  She put a tentative finger on one eyebrow and brought it down again smudged with black.  “And I do not either look like Groucho Marx.”

“Someone very wise once said that it is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt,” said George.  “I don’t know who originated the remark, but it must have been someone wise, because nobody quotes stupid people.”

“Don’t be so reasonable,” growled Celia.  “Of course I don’t expect them to come.  I simply intend to have the party without them.”
“How are you going to have a party without any guests?”
“There’s still us.  We make up a pretty large party ourselves.  We’ll have our party, and we’ll have fun.” The murderous look on Celia’s face indicated that fun would be had or consequences would be suffered.

[Sylvia] had tried her hardest not to cry when she first saw her reflection in the mirror—it was as if part of her head had been removed.  All of a sudden her neck seemed much longer and thinner, making her short-haired head appear as if it were sitting atop her shoulders like a giraffe’s noggin.  Added to which, Alice had twisted back some pieces on either side of her head and fastened them with barrettes in what was evidently supposed to be an attempt at softening the blow but really succeeded only in making it look as if Sylvia had giraffe horns.