My Novels

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Work, work and MORE work!

We're still in the thick of our remodeling project. DH is out there working on replacing a huge chunk of the foundation that had almost crumbled. Originally this old house had NO underpining; it was supported ONLY by brick columns. Eventually they got huge rocks out of the nearby creek, and used mortar to cement them together for underpining/foundation. Over the years, there's been other owners who put in concrete pillar supports -- in the cellar and underneath the front part of the house. This has stablized it a great deal, but the old mortar/rocks are still here in about two sections lining the cellar. So DH is replacing those with cement blocks, and adding a window that will allow sunlight/fresh air into the cellar -- which is necessary to correct the musty smell.

Some time ago, we also created a screened, but open area at the top of the cellar steps, which comes out underneath the recently-built backporch; we keep a fan sitting at the foot of the steps to circulate air, ventilate it. Our central h/a unit is down there, though the ductwork/vents are in the attic. But we noticed a very musty smell coming from the air conditioning vents; I did some research, and learned that we HAD to have ventilation down there, as well as keeping it dry as much as possible so that the musty smell would be eliminated -- or at least kept under control. So far the remedies I've just mentioned seem to be working.DH also put some lime on the cellar floor, and that helped with moisture control and improved scent.

Saw the Vice-presidential debate last night, and though it wasn't nearly as unmatched in I.Q. factor as Kerry/Bush, it was still interesting. I think it was a draw, that both men presented an excellent debate. However, I DID agree with just about everything Edwards stated, regarding the Iraq war (a mess) and the economy and health care. I've read about Kerry/Edwards health care plans on their website, and I think it WILL be a vast improvement over "more of the same" by Bush & Company. Ditto on the Iraq war and economy.

If you want to find out what is REALLY going on in Iraq, here's a link to read some of the letters Michael Moore got from our soldiers over there:

Letters From Iraq to Michael Moore

Now I'll close with some excerpts by writers on our craft, and a quote:

Judith Guest, Author of "Ordinary People"

Judith Guest, 68, started writing when she was 10 "just to amuse myself" and never took any writing courses when she attended the University of Michigan.

After doing the crossword puzzle and drinking "about 10 cups of coffee," Guest spends her mornings writing in the front room of the 1913 brick-and-stucco house she shares in Minnesota with her husband, Larry, dog and cat.

The Guests and their three sons had just moved to the Minneapolis suburb of Edina in 1975 when she got a Mailgram from Viking accepting "Ordinary People" for publication.

"I didn't even have anybody to tell," Guest recalls. "I did go to my next-door neighbor, and she was ecstatic and she was wonderful, and she got a bottle of champagne and came over and we've been big buddies ever since."

Since publication, "Ordinary People"' has sold close to 90,000 hardcover copies and more than half a million paperback copies.

--Exclusive Authorlink Interview With Rachel Cline, author of What to Keep (Random House, April 2004)

AUTHORLINK: How does it feel to be a newly-published novelist?

CLINE: It's a great experience. I got what I always wanted. How many people can say that? What I hadn't expected, and what I am coming to terms with, is how hard it is to get read. There are so many novels on the market. I grew up in a world where novelists had the celebrity status of today's rock stars. Now, it's a different world.

—AUTHORLINK: Can you offer any advice to new writers trying to break into publishing?

CLINE: Try to find a way to be your own best friend! I have the best editor and agent anywhere, but I'm the one who has to keep me going, the one who has to do the work.

AUTHORLINK: How do you keep up your spirits?

CLINE: I try not to beat myself up when things don't go well. I remind myself that I'm not Proust. It's only as good as I can make it, and that's still pretty good. And I always try to have more than one project going—so if one thing is going badly I can work on the other thing.

AUTHORLINK: What are your writing habits?

CLINE: My routine varies. If I'm generating new material, I write for about 3 hours in the morning. I try to get a thousand words a day of new stuff, but sometimes its only five or six hundred. I usually do revisions and promotional stuff, answering e-mail, and other non-generative work, in the afternoons.

When I was a young boy they called me a liar. Now that I'm all grown up, they call me a writer. --Isaac Singer

Outta here for today!

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