Monday, September 25, 2006

Waiting for Melody's return

I'm sitting here waiting for Melody (and Tim) to get back.

I got another rejection from an agent today--not what she was looking for, but at least the rejection was professional.

I also got a letter today that began, "Dear Rebecca Jones, It's hard to think about, even harder to talk about, but...How would yoru family get by if they didn't have your salary?" I wanted to laugh. The other piece of junk mail said that I won the jackpot (it's a car ad), but, try as I might, I couldn't find any mention anywhere on the ad of what the jackpot IS. Just the cryptic line "Must be present to claim prize." Probably a low interest rate on a car loan? Great mail.

For weeks I have had severe writer's block on both novels I'm working on--I'd write and delete about 2000 words on each every couple of days (that's about 10 pages). Couldn't get it right. So I moved backward and started doing character development on Maggie, my ex-spy housewife. Mom suggested that Maggie had to have some demon she was fighting, so I went there. And suddenly I had lots to write--flashbacks that I will insert throughout the novel of what happened in her past that made her quit her job and makes her reluctant now to get involved. The key, it turns out, was that her husband has to not know she was a "real" spy--he thinks she had a desk job at the CIA and quit because she got pregnant and wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. To find out what really prompted her to quit, you'll have to read the book...... Anyway, it's suddenly fun to write that one again, and the pieces are falling into place properly now. Writing is supposed to be a delightful journey, not a chore, so this is a relief.

So I went back to the drawing board with the second book in the Bookstore series, too, and realized I don't even know what the bad guy looks like, and Kate has to be attracted to him. So that was a problem. Then I started doing research on Western lore and the conventions of Western Lit and Film, and I have been having SO much fun. It's the same research I would do for a college course on the subject, but with a much more fun result. Instead of a research paper, I get to mine the data for cool character ideas, concepts, motifs, and legends that I get to incorporate into Kate's experiences in the Wild Wild West. So the story has taken on a few subplots, the biggest of which is the Legend of the Lost Dutchman, which I heard in Arizona. Now one of the male leads is the son of the Lost Dutchman's murdered partner, and he's come from Germany to find out what happened to his father, and maybe get to the goldmine his family technically owns half of. It's a lost goldmine on Apache sacred ground, and the other male lead has actually found it and is trying to get the Apaches to let him mine it. And I get to incorporate the tradition that people who go looking for the mine get beheaded, and a crazy prospector who actually lived there in the 1870s, and there's now gonna be a jailbreak, and a bank robbery (pulled off by Kate, of all people!), and a rattlesnake cave (have you heard that legend?). And, of course, buried treasure, crumbling saddlebags full of gold, shootouts on the main street of town, and white slavery. And Kate gets to face off the entire US Army to save the Apaches at the end. Very exciting stuff. So I'm excited to work on that one, too. You'll have to read it when it's done.

I suppose I should pick just one project to finish it. Arizona in the 1870s is pretty different from Las Vegas nowadays, and shootouts at the saloon are a far cry from superspies with their special equipment. I don't want to get it all too mixed up.