Blathering: Halloween and Fall

This is my favorite time of the year! I love the weather – not too hot, not too cold – and I love that feeling in the air, the one that makes the wild geese take to the skies in search of new landings. The world is gearing down for the long sleep of winter, tucking itself in with blankets of fallen leaves.



I love the colors of Fall: reds and oranges and yellows and rich browns. If you see me in person, I’m likely to be wearing some variation of those colors at any given moment.

I love dressing up at Halloween parties, too. Like writing, costumes are a way to get out of “the real world” and play around in an imaginary one for awhile. Go as your favorite literary character, or just be as spooky as you want to.

Halloween is a rip-roaring farewell party for summer, and a welcome back party for Fall. Hot cider and pumpkin pie, leaf piles and trees lacing the bright blue sky with bare branches …

What’s your favorite Fall memory – or your favorite Halloween character?

Blathering: Edits

The manuscript is back from the copy editor already!


I think that’s a good thing. She said it was a good story, and this is a PhD in English, so I’m going to believe her and start working on those query letters!

A few niggles – some instances where I spelled a minor character’s name one way in one chapter, and slightly different in a later chapter, some words I hyphenated one time and didn’t hyphenate later – that sort of thing. And, of course, the inevitable missed comma errors (I tend to add too many) and misspellings that the Spell-Check doesn’t catch because they’re real words (just not the word I intended to spell).

Overall, I’m satisfied that “my baby” is ready to send out into the dangerous world of Publishing. I never had kids, so I don’t really know, but it feels less like sending a child off and more like entering a science project in a huge science fair and hoping for a prize. I did my best work – and I know that will improve as I keep practicing the craft! – and now it’s time to let the judges see what I created.

Keep your fingers crossed!

For You: Emily on Our Lads

Thought I’d amuse you and post part of a chapter from Emily’s POV. You remember I deleted those chapters because the book was getting way too long…

This is from a scene at Lick House restaurant in San Francisco (late 1800’s for those who haven’t been paying attention).


Chance and Kye met my carriage at the curb. It seemed to be the latter’s turn to play escort, as he hurried forward to take my hand and help me down. I gave each gentleman a discreet embrace, and a chaste kiss on the cheek, before taking Kye’s arm and entering the hotel. Chance tagged along behind us, the very image of a platonic comrade.

Were Michelangelo still living, he would have demanded to paint Chance Knight. It must be said that the man is well aware of his effect on the opposite sex. He keeps his curly dark hair precisely long enough to instill a nearly irresistible urge to run one’s fingers through it, although that means that he must then habitually swipe the bangs out of his eyes in order to be able to see. His manner borders on impudent at times, although I have never noticed a recipient of his admiration making any complaints. I have not yet caught the man actually admiring his own reflection, although he is most fastidious about his appearance. The slightest bit of dust or soot that dares to alight upon his person is instantly and ferociously brushed away.

Chance’s usual expression is one that could only be described as Puckish. A dimple creases his left cheek almost perpetually, as though the man finds the universe immensely amusing and is only waiting for the rest of us to catch up with the punchline. One eyebrow seems always on the verge of rising sardonically. I have seen that brow in just such a position all too frequently, as well. Chance affects no facial hair, and, in my opinion, would look most displeasing beneath a beard or mustache. His posture and carriage rather remind one of a strutting rooster, albeit perhaps a bantam.

No matter what crowd the man may find himself in, Chance Knight will certainly be the center of attention. I have often thought it surprising that he has not chosen a life on the stage, so much does he love the limelight. I have never seen the man at a loss for words, or struggling to find exactly the right sentiment for any situation.

His partner, tall and silent Kye, is nearly his opposite. Where Chance seeks out the spotlight, Kye fades into the background. Kye is a solemn man. He seems to me a bit mistrustful of other people, as though he sees danger in every corner or behind every door. He does not speak much in public, although among friends his soft voice will make itself heard. The man has a certain way with a joke or tale, surprising because one does not expect it from so quiet a fellow.

He reminds me somewhat of Mr. Hickok, whom everyone calls “Wild Bill.” Kye is a striking man, though not what everyone might call handsome. His face is dominated by a great axe of a nose, beneath which he affects a thick mustache, of a shade slightly darker than his strawberry-blonde hair. Kye prefers a short haircut, slicked back as is the fashion, but otherwise he seems to care little for the current trends. In fact, I have always had the impression that the man simply pulls open his wardrobe and dons the first garment to come to hand.

Chance is the educated one of the pair, although he once confessed to me that he had left school at an early age and completed his education by reading. The man is easily intelligent enough to perform such a task, and I felt certain that Chance’s knowledge would rival that of any college graduate, especially as I had surreptitiously grilled a few of my male relatives about their college careers and passed along a list of recommended reading to my friend. Kye, although less educated than his partner, is nonetheless more knowledgeable than he allows people to guess. He speaks habitually in an exaggerated drawl, like an ignorant cowboy fresh from a cattle drive. However, having heard the man speak in perfectly proper English in the privacy of my own home, I am forced to decry that as a facade. It strikes me as yet another example of Kye’s droll wit: it amuses him to have people think of him as an uneducated farm boy.

Blathering: Edits

Draft #2 is off to the editor for the last check-up before I start on the query letters. This is someone who’s never read anything by me before, so it should be illuminating to get her take on the book.


Getting started on Book 2 in November for NaNoWriMo. The working title is Devon Day and the Sweetwater Kid: The Hawaiian Affair. That’ll change as soon as I think of something better — it’s too much like a Sherlock Holmes title (or something from Man From U.N.C.L.E.). The lads will be involved in treaties between the U.S. and the Republic of Hawai’i … not gonna give you any more hints!

I’m spending the next 10 days doing research, then it’s 1667 words a day for the entire month. By Christmas, I’ll have half the book finished!