Coming Home

our passive solar home with solar electric array and solar water batch heater - Bruce Witzel photo

Coming home is like eating sour candies. You know those little treats that are sugary on the outside but mouth-puckering once you really get chewing? Sleeping in my own bed is definitely the sugar. The sour part is knowing I won’t hear the morning scurry of pitter-pattering feet as one or both of my granddaughters climb in with me.

Easter facepainting - Bruce Witzel photo

Coming home is always a mix of beauty and challenge around here. The pear tree in full bloom and a few of the rhododendrons putting on their show of colour take my breath away. And I mustn’t forget the brand-new magnolia managing three huge blooms in its first year with us. Ants zipping around the kitchen as I unpack and get settled in is most certainly the challenge side of things. I find, as I get older, that I am more and more like an elderly dog circling around and around my mat before I can settle down.

Cabin rhodo - Bruce Witzel photo

Coming home with a pile of work ahead for the next six weeks is exciting. Line by line edits of Chasing Down the Night are complete. Once again my talented editor has suggested changes that have honed and polished my words to wonderful perfection. I’ll print out a hardcopy today and Bruce will start proofreading. He is good at spotting typos. I will be busy with writing the book description. The task is a daunting one. I’d rather sit down and write a one-hundred and fifty thousand word novel than try and condense a story down to a punchy and gripping two hundred word blurb. But try I must.

I will also be preparing the proofed manuscript for the e-book formatter. This involves deciding on how I want all the front and back matter, creating the hyperlinked table of contents and going over and over the document to ensure all hidden formatting has been stripped out. These are time consuming but necessary steps. Sure, the formatter would do it all but at a cost. I try to keep that cost down as much as possible by doing everything I can do myself. And having done this three times now, I have templates saved that make the tasks somewhat easier.

Meanwhile, Bruce will be working on the cover. We have some ambitious ideas and I can’t wait for cover-reveal day when I get to share the finished product on this blog.

Once the e-book is off to the formatter, I’ll start the work of preparing the manuscript for the softcover edition. In many ways, I enjoy putting on this formatting hat. The discipline and precision of it appeals to me and satisfies something that the unruly work of writing cannot.

Storyboarding - What Might Have Been

On other fronts, storyboarding has already begun for the fourth and final novel in the Crater Lake Series. I’ll keep that board in the periphery of my vision and do character sketches and take notes as I work on formatting tasks. I’ll also be checking in with Maelstrom for further rewrites. I find that switching hats now and then, from creative to editing to formatting, is as useful as going out for a brisk walk. It shakes the cobwebs out of my head – though it definitely doesn’t replace the need for that brisk walk.

A lone stellar jay is sitting in the arbour outside my window enjoying this misty morning. Colourful deep blue feathers against the darkest black and a shiny dark eye draw my gaze again and again. I can see a woodpecker through a tangle of branches start his tapping routine on one of the dead snags that stands like a bent and gnarled old man on the cliff. Creatures are stirring and it is time for me to get up out of this chair and exercise more than my fingers on the keyboard.

StellerJay - Charles Brandt photo