Update from the writing mines, my lovelies.

I’ve been home a whole week and am getting ready to leave again tomorrow. I’ve managed to make good use of my in-between-travel time by revising a short story, breaking a novel, and beginning revisions to said novel. I’ve actually been really struggling with the changes to the short story. I drafted it during the writing retreat I attended in Philadelphia last month and I’ve been tinkering with it ever since, trying to layer in nuance and still keep it under 5k (it keeps wanting to get unwieldy). I think it’s almost there, except I’m not loving the opening two pages. So, on the side it goes for a time out.

My big plan for this month is to get Project Awesome revised so I can send it to Beta readers before I leave for Norway in August. I think it’s a doable plan. There’s mainly editing needed in the first half, some new pieces to lay in the middle and final third, and a new ending to write. We shall see. I’ve got it all mapped out, so it’s really just a matter of finding time to get fingers on the keyboard. There’s today, some time on the plane tomorrow, a few days while in Seattle next week and then then about 2 1/2 weeks back in NYC at the beginning of August.

So, there’s no time to waste, is there?


Homeward bound

Today (assuming Delta and the weather cooperate), I’ll be winging my way home to NYC. Goodbye, Missouri!

It’s been a trip with a lot of highs and lows. Spending time with my friend Bill and his wife Mary over the last two weeks has been awesome. I even got to see my good writer friend, Brent, who lives here in the KC area. Missouri is quite beautiful right now, all verdant and lush, and KC has a plethora of yummy restaurants. So, those aspects of the trip were great.

Don’t get me wrong, the dig had its highs too, but there were some lows, my friends. Indeed, there were. The work was challenging physically, and it was quite hot, quite buggy, and quite hard not to be able to go home (or even inside) when we were done for the day. Camping sounded like it would be fun (and sometimes, when the fireflies were out and it cooled down, it was), but mostly it just made things more difficult. And we didn’t find very much. The Steed-Kisker house we’d hoped to excavate appeared to have already been destroyed by modern farming activities. So that was a bummer.

But! I have new muscles and am rocking a farmer’s tan. And I’m excited to be heading home. I miss my husband and my cat and my friends and my apartment and…well, you get the idea.

So, today I’m NYC-bound and looking forward to getting in some writing time on the plane. Bon voyage!

Just a quick note to let you know that I’ve got a guest post up at FictionVale this month. It’s all about writing groups — the good, the bad, and the ugly. Check it out!

She Lives

Well, it’s been two weeks, hasn’t it? Perhaps the time has flown by for you, but I’ve felt every second of it. Being an archaeologist, after all, is sometimes very hard work.

To wit: I’ve spent the last 14 days troweling through soil that was either a muddy, clay-like soup or sun-baked cement, depending on the weather. In a very cruel and unobliging turn, that soil flatly refused to yield up anything of interest or cultural value (save a handful of pot sherds, a few stone tools, and a very sad remnant of a post hole). Sometimes that’s just how the cookie crumbles. And it wasn’t a total waste. I have muscles now. Also, I’ve been introduced to a staggering variety of ticks, spiders, beetles, and ants. Perhaps the real win, though, was the company we kept. From the volunteers who joined us ad hoc to the Army Corps folks we worked with day in and day out, we came up aces. And good company makes up for a lot.

One of the (many) nice things about being finished with our excavations is that I can get back to writing again. There was only energy enough for my body or my brain to be working out in that hot sun, so I didn’t accomplish much on the creativity front. Now, though, I’m ready to dive into revising Project Awesome before sending it to Beta readers. I’ve also got a short story ready for revisions.

First, though, I’ve still got a few days left in Kansas City. We may not have found much, but we do have to wash, process, and analyze the artifacts we turned up. There’s also a report to be written for the Army Corps. So, there’s that to be done. Soon, though, its home to Brooklyn, back to my husband and my cat and the start of a proper summer.

In the meantime, here are some photos from the dig to give you an idea of what archaeology in Missouri in June looks like ;)




Come Monday morning, I’ll be putting on my archaeology hat (and, no, it isn’t an Indiana Jones fedora but a very sensible ball cap) and heading out into the wilds of Missouri on a hunt for prehistory!

I’ve posted about this upcoming project on my archaeology blog, but in brief I’ll be excavating a small native American homestead located along the margins of the Plains Village and Mississippian worlds and dating roughly AD 950-1400.

Most of my work up until now (save some stints working in New Mexico and Washington) has been in Latin America, and specifically Honduras. So this is a pretty major change of pace. No big buildings, no stone architecture, no temples, and so on. Also no cushy house with electricity and running (albeit cold) water. We’ll be camping at the site for several weeks, making friends with all the local ticks and chiggers. Yay!

There is a nearby RV park, so we’re hoping to be able to keep our mobile devices charged up and ready to go and thus provide amusing updates from the field. So, stay tuned for that ;)

Anyway, long story short…I’m off! Bum babumbum, bum, babum! Bum babumbum, bumbabumbumbum! (well, you know how it goes).

Since returning from my writing retreat in Philadelphia last weekend I have been on freaking fire. Not literally, of course, but you know!

While at the retreat I drafted a new short story that I’m kind of totally enamored with. Since getting back, I’ve revised it, written a new piece of flash fiction, reworked an older short that needed some love, and FINALLY finished the editing pass I was slogging through on one of my novels. All in one week! (and believe me, there was plenty of loafing around and watching crap on Hulu and such mixed in there for good measure). I’m feeling mighty.

It’s always stimulating to produce new work, and I really think getting the fresh material flowing provided a necessary break from editing and revising, enabling me to to return to that reinvigorated. Productive Writer is productive!

Plus, in a week I’m leaving town for two and a half weeks to camp and excavate at an archaeological site in Missouri, during which (let’s be honest) not a lick of writing is getting done. So, nice to be killing it now.

So, back to work!

Over and out.

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