Deadlines…They Come And Go…

I really thought I would have this book done by now.

The problem is, I went into it half-blind. Usually, I don’t even start typing notes unless I know two things: how a book starts and where it ends. No matter how clear the middle bits appear to me, if I don’t have that first and last chapter solidly in mind, I don’t get involved. But this book…ugh. I needed something hard and fast for the table at the RT Convention that we never actually got, so I broke my rule and started before I had an ending. How fortunate it is that we never got that stupid table, because my quick and easy 45k word novella has climbed to 117k and I ain’t there yet. I honestly don’t know where it’s going, even though I know I’m in the last chapter. I can feel the end, but I can’t see it, like a tornado right before the funnel drops.

Other than that, I’ve been very productive. Moving is never quick or fun, but it’s going along. Today, I got most of my skulls unpacked and assembled one of those cubby shelf thingies for my massive hat collection. I also assembled the last of six bookshelves for our library and got 14 boxes of books unpacked and in an approximation of order. Still don’t have A/C in my room, because the idiots who owned the house before us disconnected the air ducts on this end of the house and ran cable wires through them. Why? I have no idea. Neither does the duct guy, who says it’s the dumbest thing he’s ever seen in all his years. Especially since the cable wires aren’t connected to anything either. They’re just sitting there, disconnected at both ends and snaking through a third of the house, which is now at a balmy 92 degrees and humid as Swamp Thing’s jockstrap after a particularly aggressive football game.

Assembling and unpacking things has been my daily routine for a month now and that stack of boxes in the basement doesn’t appear to be getting any smaller, like the ending of my book, which I type on every day and yet gets no nearer. Yet, I keep grinding away at it. Here’s a little snippet from the scene I wrote today (subject to changes during the inevitable editing phase), just so you know I really am doing something out here:

* * *

Ahead of them, the road had been blocked with a tall wall, long since knocked in. At regular intervals, signs had been posted, most of them too faded and riddled with bullets to be legible. The rest said things like ROAD CLOSED AHEAD and CONTAMINATED AREA BEYOND THIS POINT, along with pictures of skulls and swooning stickmen and other ominous symbols whose exact meanings were now lost but which still conveyed an undeniable sense of threat. Over the years, graffiti had covered over most of these notices in layer upon layer of apocalyptic murals depicting Azrael and Eaters and demons riding skeletal horses; quasi-religious gibberish spewing angry and fearful rhetoric about broken seals and eating the body of Christ; social commentary that was either meant to be ironic or was just badly spelled, like U can sleep when your DEAD or The End is Nigel. Crowning these madhouse musings, in thick black letters stretching across the full width of the road—all six lanes—someone had written, WHAT HAPPENED. Someone else had painted a T over the W, which Lan thought so perfect an answer that it was a very long time before she noticed Aristides had stopped the van to confer with Serafina.

* * *

The Land of the Beautiful Dead, coming soon, I swear to God.

 

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8 responses to “Deadlines…They Come And Go…

  1. I’m not a fan of moving so I feel for you. You will have to use the; “… which is now at a balmy 92 degrees and humid as Swamp Thing’s jockstrap after a particularly aggressive football game.” in one of your books. Very descriptive. I for one will be happy not to read a novella, even an R Lee novella which is a book compared to other authors. However, an R Lee full length book is a story that will absorb me for days, take me away from the here and now. Thanks for the snippet and looking forward to a late summer / fall treat.

  2. “…which is now at a balmy 92 degrees and humid as Swamp Thing’s jockstrap after a particularly aggressive football game.”
    Haha! I have missed your posts and sense of humor! Glad you still have it after the move. That is usually the first thing you lose during the fruit basket turnover of transferring your life from one location to another. Here’s hoping your A/C issue is resolved quickly. As someone from the South, I don’t think the guy who invented air conditioning got NEARLY enough credit for the gift he gave us. Thanks for the excerpt. Looking forward to more…no pressure though.

  3. Hey, welcome back to the land of the internet. Your basement sounds like mine. We had the “great flood of ’13” in my basement at Thanksgiving. We got it cleaned up, sort of and I put off the real cleaning until summer. Now it looks like we spent the last 14 years throwing things down the basement stairs. It is daunting. I feel your pain. Try using audio books while you’re cleaning. It helps the work be less painful. I recommend “A Walk in the Woods” or “In a Sunburnt Country” both by Bill Bryson. (Non-fiction)

  4. It’s probably best not to question what the previous owners of the house did in your current residence. There were chicken feet hanging on the back porch of my house when we moved in over 25 years ago. I think it was because I chose not to question why that I have not seen any reanimated corpses walking the halls in all these years. 🙂 Thanks for the snippet!

  5. Moving sucks big time. I feel your pain. We moved 7 times in 7 years and now we’ve finally bought a house and stayed still for awhile. It’s so nice to settle in.

    Great excerpt! Thanks for sharing! Looking forward to the book but no pressure! I’ll be ready to read it whenever it comes out 🙂

  6. Maybe they were trying to assemble a hillbilly version of a home stereo system with speakers in every room? Just throwing out a guess. Thanks for the snippet, or more like, torturous teaser! Now I’m longing for more. I can’t wait!

  7. Cannot wait for your new book as I was only shown your novels for the first time last week by Jill’s enticing reviews. I look forward to many more of your books to come.

  8. Hey R Lee, so nice to know you are somewhat settled. Moving is not fun. I think I still have stuff from the 80’s in a box hanging around. Love the snippet. I am glad you’re stuck as I think expansion of your book is always a good thing! I must admit I am having withdrawals so it’s comforting knowing I’ll get my fix soon! Did you a title change? 😉

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