September #WIP Marathon Check-in (I miss summer already).

Coastguard Beach, Cape Cod
Coastguard Beach, Cape Cod

Well hello there! Hope you’ve all had a gorgeous summer! I certainly have, having just returned from 3 weeks to the USA to visit my family and then do a road trip of New England (which I’d never explored before–and I totally want to go back, especially Boston, Maine, and Cape Cod).

I always find this time of a year a bit… bleak. Don’t get me wrong, there are some beautiful blue-sky days where the air feels crisp and clean. But I’m such a spring/summer girl and the shorter days and lack of green leaves and sunshine really do my head in (I do have a SAD lamp, but nothing beats a walk outside on a summer’s day for me. Nothing.)

That’s why, when I read a collection of Ray Bradbury’s short stories recently, these two paragraphs grabbed my heart and found me nodding vigorously. Yes. This is exactly how lonely autumn always feels to me:

“It was September. In the last days when things are getting sad for no reason. The beach was so long and lonely with only about six people on it. The kids quit bouncing the ball because somehow the wind made them sad, too, whistling the way it did, and the kids sat down and felt autumn come along the endless shore.

All of the hot-dog stands were boarded up with strips of golden planking, sealing in all the mustard, onion, meat odors of the long, joyful summer. It was like nailing summer into a series of coffins. One by one the places slammed their covers down, padlocked their doors, and the wind came and touched the sand, blowing away all of the million footprints of July and August.”

– Ray Bradbury, The Lake

Even despite the moodiness and sluggishness, autumn and winter have their bright spots, too, but I’ve always preferred summer. Here’s hoping for a joyful, bright, sunshiny few months, regardless of the season.

Misty morning in Allegany State Park, New York State

So I’ve missed out on WIP Marathon check-ins for awhile, but I *have* still been productive. I might need to skip the “last report” numbers since it’s been awhile, but I can review what I’ve done and what I’m working toward.

Current report word count: My most recent WIP (A SIGHT OF NEVERSEA) is finished — praise God! It’s adult fantasy, 117,000 words, and has been through the wringer with revisions, CP feedback, more revisions, polishing, two printed copies, lots of red pen, and I love it more than ever.

WIP Issues This Month: I had a third copy printed and bound and brought it with me on our holiday. Did I look at it once? What do you think?


When *not* on holiday, however, I found a few small inconsistencies in my last pass-through of it which I was grateful to see. It’s so true that even when you think you’re done with a WIP, setting it aside for a month-plus is a GREAT way to spot issues.

What distracted me this month while writing:


Yankees / Red Sox at Fenway. 89 degrees and loving it! (Go Yankees!)
Yankees / Red Sox at Fenway. 89 degrees and loving it! (Go Yankees!)


Pocket Picard breaking the rules at Niagara Falls.
Pocket Picard breaking the rules at Niagara Falls.

Goal for next month: Dive back into my space opera, currently titled SAPPHIRA RISING. I outlined it once early last year, then fleshed that outline out and wrote character backstories in the spring. Need to get it ready for NaNo, but have lots of worldbuilding and more character work to do first. I’d like to be able to say I feel ready when NaNo comes. Instead of, “Well, this oughta be interesting…” as usual.

And since I haven’t done it in months…
Last 250 (or so… make that 300ish) words (edited, not written):

“And thank you, for returning Luma safely, brother. I have to say, bravo for making it away like you did. First time you’ve bested me in recent—or no, really, any—memory.”

They whirled to see Prince Karl leaning against the gatehouse door.

“You think so little of me that I’d do anything but return her safely?”

“Well, I can’t say. You didn’t take the time to leave a note on my collapsed body to say where you were stealing her away to. Very inconsiderate.” Karl tsked. “I’m certain Father will have an appropriate addendum to your assignment, under the circumstances.” He flashed a bright smile, hand shooting up to his left ear.

How I’d love to pull out that twitchy hand and feed it to him, thought Simon darkly.

Then came a clattering on the stone corridor. Gildas entered behind Karl, sharp talons scratching the ground as the cockatrice took his time sussing the situation as nothing more interesting than children squabbling over a toy.

“I’ve a message for you both,” he said, feathers standing at attention. “The King is approaching the courtyard for the meeting, so get your arses in gear and get out there. Pronto.”

“And I’ve got a message for you,” snarled Simon. “Get stuffed.”

Gildas turned around and bent over, fluttering his tail feathers in the prince’s direction before retreating into the castle.

Karl smiled. “One of you is taking off for three months to protect our interests abroad. The other has a life-changing decision to make.” He bowed solemnly toward Luma. “I’m sorry you’ve not had proper rest with which to make this decision.”

Luma remained silent, eyes glazed as she grabbed Simon’s hand hard behind his back. He squeezed it in return, and knew their time for exchanging heart-thoughts was gone. Just once, he thought with an ache, Why can’t I have what Karl takes for granted just once?

* * *

Hope your summer was spectacular! Happy autumn! <3


Alan Shore, where are you?
Alan Shore, where are you?
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