Mice, explosions and a big bear — plus Sundae Sundries: links for writers, Napoleonistas & Sun King fans

Mice, explosions and a big bear — plus Sundae Sundries: links for writers, Napoleonistas & Sun King fans

We had little more excitement this week than we cared for!

{A cloudy NY offered wonderful photo opportunities. I especially enjoyed catching the suggestive night window dressing moment on the Highline.}

After a wonderful trip to NY to see our son, we arrived home in good time on Tuesday, only to be overwhelmed by the sickening smell of dead mouse wafting throughout the house. We quickly threw down our suitcases, opened all windows and doors and set five fans blowing.

Shortly after, the power went out (but not because of the fans), and shortly after that there was a terrifying series of extremely loud explosions. I found out what I do in such a case: I run in and out of the house trembling. (Handy to know: there’s an explosion in my next YA about Hortense.) We thought it must have been the meter, triggered somehow by our new electrical furnace.

It was 6:00 by this time. We were afraid to use our generator under the circumstances, so we set out all the candles and flashlights, the land-line telephone, and closed the windows and doors since we wouldn’t have heat for the night. By then we’d thought better of staying. Instead, we’d have a quick dinner while there was still light, then pack up and move to our cabin on a lake. It was in a state of disruption due to work being done on it, but at least it had electricity, toilets and a Net connection. Who knew how long we would be without power at the house? In the morning we would contact the furnace and electrical companies.

The next morning, the furnace turned out not to be the villain, but the dead mouse was found. (Yes!) Then the electricity crew came out. A transformer on the telephone pole 100 ft. from our house had exploded. Why, we don’t know. It had been a calm, cloudless day.

The power was going to be out at the house for some time, so we packed up more gear and returned to the cabin, where—groan—we discovered that the power had gone out due to a problem in a village some distance from us.

So: back to the house, having since learned that we could safely use the generator.

We returned to a house littered with open suitcases, dirty dishes, candles and fans—but blessedly odour-free.

That evening, however, a friend encountered a very large bear at the top of our driveway. I was waiting for her not 25 feet away.

TMI? I just had to share.

It’s a pleasure to get back to what might be considered Normal Life. However, there are two things I should put on my To Do List every day, for inevitably they have to be dealt with:

  • 1 hour: puzzle out why Net/computer/software isn’t working.
  • ½ hour: search for something I’ve misplaced.

Here was my To Do List for today:

  • 1 hr. exercise
  • 2 hrs. puzzle out plot
  • 1 hr. Skype French lesson
  • chat with our son & daughter
  • ½ hour weeding
  • 1 hr. taxes
  • ½ hr. watercolour painting
  • blog post

I am down to the last one: this blog post. It helps to wake at 4:00 with a compelling idea on how to tackle the plot revision. (More on that later.)

My Sundry Sundae delectable links for this week:


Links for writers …

3 Simple Prewriting Strategies.

The Units of Story: The Sequence. There is a lot to learn in this series from StoryGrid.com.

Links for Napoleonistas people with a sick sense of humour …

• Okay, this is a little sick: Napoleonistas as well as parents will be understandably offended by this account of how Napoleon died, as told by stinking drunk kids. (The Drunk History series is rather amusing.)

Links for Sun King enthusiasts …

• There has been quite a bit again this week on the Sun King because September 1st was the 300th anniversary of his death. Here is a big treat for you all: The King Who Invented Ballet, a wonderful BBC documentary on how Louis XIV invented ballet. At the end of the video is the ballet. Heavenly! (Note: if for some reason you can’t watch this video here, you can watch it on YouTube.)

• Accompany this with a Forbes article: How Ballet Can Make You A Better Leader.

Have a great week!

Despair & elation in the Creative Cauldron  — plus Sundae Sundries: links for writers & Sun King enthusiasts

Despair & elation in the Creative Cauldron — plus Sundae Sundries: links for writers & Sun King enthusiasts

Another whirlwind week. Is there any other kind? We’re leaving for NY today—a five-day visit with our son.

I’d told my editor and agent that I would have the revised first section of the WIP to them before I left, and I’ve been working toward that deadline.

Meeting a deadline—a commitment to send out—invariably entails many sleepless nights, which creates a certain frenetic heat. The creative cauldron, I think of it. 

At the beginning of this period, I had lost faith the work and, worse, lost faith in my ability to write at all. Despair! As I worked on the MS, I was also composing, at the same time, a draft of a resignation letter.

In the heat of the cauldron, however, I began making big changes, revising the pages over and over again. By D-Day, the day to send—which was only the day before yesterday—I was, miraculously, actually pleased with the work.

And off it went, without that letter of resignation. I had gone from despair to elation in a matter of days.

Now: time for a holiday!

This week’s delicious Sundae Sundries


Links for writers & other creatives …

Nine Secrets to Successfully Completing that Elusive First Draft. Or that elusive fifth draft, for that matter. :-( This is a very good article.

• The most popular article in my Flipboard magazine this week, not surprisingly, was: Rude awakening: three essential rules for writing good sex. This is a helpful article.

• This is funny: Free Blurbs for Your Book!

• I love this: How Reading (and Writing) Obituaries Can Improve Your Fiction.

9 Creativity Tips You Can Learn from Geniuses. Many good suggestions!

Links for Sun King enthusiastists …

There is quite a bit on the Net right now on the Sun King because of the 300th anniversary of his death on September 1. Here are a few I like:

• Louis XIV: The Sun King & the Arts.

• How Ballet Can Make You A Better Leader.

Louis XIV: What France’s Sun King did for art. 

This post launches a wonderful Wallace Collection series on the Sun King.

One thing I always think about with respect to the Sun King’s death is how his wife, Madame Maintenon, left at the very end; she wasn’t by his side when he passed. This has been interpreted by some as heartlessness, but my feeling—entirely subjective—is that we don’t understand life without pain killers. The presence of loved ones can make it harder for the dying to “let go.” Leaving would be considered a mercy.


On that somber note: have a great week!