You are viewing charmingbillie

Previous 10

Dec. 10th, 2011

charmingbillie

I know I know...

Facebook and Twitter have killed my LJ posting (okay, actually, not posting has killed my LJ posting, but you know what I mean :).

In any case, I have a webpage!  With stuff on it and everything!

Oct. 9th, 2011

charmingbillie

A Post About Tracking That Will Turn Out To Be About Writing

Many years ago I was working on passing a TDX track with my first dog.

TDX (Tracking Dog Excellent) requirements are:

--Three to five hours old
--800 to 1,000 yards long
--4 articles
--2 crosstracks
--2 obstacles

Tracking is theoretically non-competitive. You're either perfect or you're not. You either pass or you fail. There is no time limit, as long as the dog is actively working (in the opinion of the judges). This doesn't stop people from bragging--my dog got her TD in five minutes or my dog ran his TDX in seven minutes. Because we are human and we like to compete.

Riley, my first dog, and I had been working on our TDX for awhile, had already nearly passed one hot day near Chicago but were defeated by the heat. So, now it's November and we're in a test in southern Iowa. Riley is a pretty fast tracker, though she wastes a lot of time on corners. I pick up the first article--a scarf--and she starts great. She makes the first turn on the hill and pretty much right away we find the second article--a sneaker. I have nowhere to actually put a sneaker so I stuff it down the front of my jacket.

We zip through a creek and up another hill. Riley makes another turn goes down that leg and...nothing. For twenty minutes she works and works and works the corner on the side of a hill.

...and works.

I think we should quit. I want to quit so bad I can taste it. But the judges don't whistle and Riley doesn't quit. Eventually we go on, skirt an obstacle and find the third article--a pair of socks. We go back up another hill. I become convinced that the turn is at a small cedar tree and waste ten minutes before I let her back up and pick up the track again. We make one more turn and run a nice last leg to the glove.

Total time: 54 minutes.

54 minutes!

Average time for a successful TDX track is 15 to 20 minutes. It can be done--fast--in seven minutes or so.

But here's the thing: our 54 minute track? Was the most awesome thing I have ever done in my life ever. The. Most. Awesome. Would it have been as awesome if we'd done it in five minutes or seven minutes? I don't know. It doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter.

That was sixteen years ago next month and I still remember every turn and what the articles were. Because it was that awesome.

I saw a discussion recently where someone was talking about taking just a few hours from concept to finished edited short story. Part of the discussion of this was, inevitably, how that was a sign of a professional, wicked fast and ready to send.

But here's the thing. Writing isn't actually a speed contest. When your published novel or story is sitting in someone's hands they have no idea how long it took you to write it. What they care about is whether it's good. So don’t worry about being fast or slow.

Be good.

Aug. 25th, 2011

charmingbillie

Wide Open Cover

Yes, exactly.  I am that person who hasn't posted anything in, like, forever and am about to post about my book.  But I'm doing it anyway.


I do intend to get back to somewhat more regular posting. Really.  I promise.


In the meanwhile, I have a cover :)  A really awesome cover.


For my novel WIDE OPEN, which will be coming out on March 13, 2012:



WIDE OPEN cover

Mar. 3rd, 2011

sleeping

Writing. I still do that.

After I sold WIDE OPEN, I didn't talk about it online while waiting for contracts.  As this took a bit of time,  I got out of the habit of talking about writing.  Which is why, in a roundabout way, I haven't talked all that much about book two.

But I am working on book two!  I am, specifically, working on the ending, which is tricky because there are many parts that don't really work yet, so the ending isn't going to work, but if I don't write it, it can never be fixed.

Current title of book 2 is DEEP DOWN, set in South Dakota (again!) and beginning about six weeks after the events in book 1.

Here is a small bit.  Hidden behind a cut for the snippet-phobic:

click to read...Collapse )
Tags:

Feb. 15th, 2011

super

Books!

So, awhile ago I did a thing for which I got paid in books.  BOOKS!

Today the books arrived:

P1000100

More detail (and a gratuitous dog pic) after the cutCollapse )

Also, I asked for this book but they ordered this one.  Ah well, I have books!

Feb. 12th, 2011

charmingbillie

Neighborly

Last time we had snow some guy I don't know came along and did my front sidewalk and the end of my driveway (for some weird reason if it's really windy the entire middle of my driveway blows clear--this is weird because the middle of my driveway is entirely boxed in by house/trees.  Anyway...). 

He has done my neighbor's driveway and sidewalk several times this winter.  Today, my neighbor told me that he doesn't know this guy either.  One day he stopped by and said to my neighbor (who is in his 80s), 'I see you and your wife out working on your yard all the time.  I don't want you to have to shovel your driveway all winter.  I'll do it for you.'

And he does.
Tags:

Feb. 11th, 2011

charmingbillie

For the Record....

This is what I want to be doing when I'm 92:




Except, of course, the dog would be a German Pinscher.

ETA: Apparently, he's actually 97.
Tags:

Feb. 3rd, 2011

blue

Conversations with My Dog

Blue: I am DYING!

Me: No you're not.  You're hungry.

Blue: Pretty sure you're wrong.  Pretty sure I'm DYING!

Me: [because it's supper time]  Here, eat.

Blue: I can't eat, I'm DYING!

[Later}

Blue: I think I'm going to puke

Me: No puking.

Blue: Yes because I'm DYING!

Me: Don't puke.  You're not dying.

Blue: Fine, but you'll be sorry later.

Me; Not if you don't puke.

[Morning]

Me: Here's your breakfast

Blue: I can't eat breakfast.  I'm DYING!

Me: Okay fine.

Blue: DYING!!

[Lunch time]

Blue: I'm STARVING!  Why do you never feed me!
Tags:

Jan. 30th, 2011

charmingbillie

January in Iowa

What do you do in Iowa when it's 12 degrees and gloomy? 

Go tracking!!

P1010736

Whoa!
P1010733

Moving right along:
P1010739

That field, by the way, turned out to be absolutely mashed down with footprints. It looked like maybe someone was playing football out there--not a big surprise as it's right outside a dorm). Blue did a great job.
Tags: ,

Jan. 7th, 2011

blue

Writing. Because what else would someone do on a Friday night in January.

This is my summary for Chapter 7, scene 2:
  • Hallie needs things to do
  • Life sucks without Dell or the Army
  • To the horse barn to clean tack
  • Boyd arrives
  • Good god, is he cute
Tags:

Previous 10